OTTAWA, Dec. 20 /CNW/ - The Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) regrets that expectations for today's meeting of finance ministers in Kananaskis were not achieved. As experts in pension issues, the actuarial profession remains committed to working with provincial, territorial and federal governments to find common ground for real and meaningful reform in Canada's pension system.
"Extensive change has been needed for many years. Unfortunately, governments have resisted moving forward, opting instead, for more consultations and tweaking at the edges of the system, rather than addressing fundamental problems affecting employer pension plans," said Institute President Micheline Dionne . "With the countless studies, consultations, commissions, submissions, expert panels, hearings, presentations and reports over the years, expectations were high that governments would finally take coordinated action on simple measures to allow pension plans to flourish."
The Canadian Institute of Actuaries has been stressing the urgent and important need to create an environment conducive to maintaining and strengthening occupational pension plans, including allowing innovation in pension plan design such as new employer/employee risk-sharing arrangements. Critical to this effort would be the harmonization of pension and other legislation across the country. The Institute is disappointed finance ministers have failed once again to reach a consensus on an issue so important to the future well-being of Canadians.
Finance Minister Flaherty announced agreement among the provincial, territorial and federal finance ministers on a framework for Pooled Registered Pension Plans (PRPPs). While in the estimation of the actuarial profession, the proposal, in and of its self, is not sufficient to resolve the country's retirement income issues, but it holds some promise, if it was part of a comprehensive solution geared to tackling the ever-growing pension problem.
"Keeping fees and administrative costs low for these new programs will be a serious challenge, as will working through the precise definition of the lock-in features. Equally important, harmonization of related legislation is essential for success. Unfortunately, recent decisions such as Ontario's pension reforms, federal pension reforms and Québec's pension legislation changes, indicate that harmonization is not on government agendas", said Dionne. "In the current economic recovery, there are many competing priorities for governments. And there is no single cure for our ailing pension system. However, we need to be sure that coordinated action to safeguard Canadians' financial futures is at the top of our governments' priority lists. The Canadian Institute of Actuaries is calling on all governments to redouble their efforts to implement practical and effective measures. That's what Canadians need and deserve."
The CIA fully understands that there are many competing priorities for governments, especially in a period of economic recovery. However, basic common sense requires that coordinated action to safeguard Canadians' financial futures is at the top of our governments' priority list.
The Canadian Institute of Actuaries is the national organization of the actuarial profession. The Institute is dedicated to serving the public through the provision, by the profession, of actuarial services and advice of the highest quality. In fact, the Institute holds the duty of the profession to the public above the needs of the profession and its members. Actuaries employ their specialized knowledge of the mathematics of finance, statistics and risk theory on problems faced by pension plans, government regulators, insurance companies (both life and property/casualty), financial institutions, social programs and individuals.
For further information: For further information:
contact Josée Racette, the CIA's project manager, public affairs: (613) 236-8196 ext. 107, cell.: (613) 219-1280 or e-mail [email protected]