Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says the province plans to phase in the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) next year, with new premiums to be charged as of 2018.
Ontario’s stance presents a hurdle to the remaining provinces, which aren’t keen to adopt the same retirement reforms. Both federal and provincial officials will meet in Vancouver on June 20 - 21 on the issue, with the goal of achieving consensus by 2016.
However, Wynne says it isn’t Ontario’s intention to hold talks back, and that other provinces’ resistance is delaying progress.
"We remain the champions of CPP enhancement," she stated in Ottawa Friday. "We have continued to be at the table when other provinces have not necessarily been putting forward retirement security as a priority. We have continued to bring it to the table."
However, should no agreement be made, the ORPP will come to fruition. "I will be a very happy woman if we can find a consensus across the country. But I'm not going to let people down if we can't," she said. "We will continue to put the ORPP in place in the absence of that consensus."
Overhauling the CPP will mark the first change to the national pension program in 20 years – premiums were last raised in 1997. The Ontario liberals pushed for change in 2013, with efforts rebuffed by the sitting Conservative government, which led to the development of the ORPP.
To implement change, the agreement of seven provinces, with two thirds of populations, must be in agreeance. Ontario, which holds a key vote, is calling for a national agreement to target Canadians without workplace plans, provide coverage for those on a higher income scale, as well as increase maximum benefits to $25,000 from the current $12,500.
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Ontario continues to hold out on a national consensus to overhaul the Canada Pension Plan – and will move ahead with its own provincial pension plan should an agreement not be reached.