Le Blogue Broadbent

Retirement insecurity, anyone?

Guess it wasn’t enough to cut public pensions in the 2012 budget – after not saying a word about it during the 2011 election campaign. Now, Conservative Party activists want to take a whack at public sector pensions at their party’s convention in a race to the bottom on pensions.

This is the pitch from one riding association: “to bring public sector pensions in-line with Canadian norms by switching to a defined contribution pension model” – “comparable to the private sector.” 

Another riding wants to tack on an anti-pension line to the party’s policy statement on “Public Service Excellence.” The benefits and pensions of public servants “should be comparable to those in the private sector, and to the extent that they are not, they should be made comparable to such private sector benefits and pensions in future contract negotiations.”

Translation? Let’s gut public sector pensions and make sure this better model doesn’t spread. The private sector is already leading in this race to the bottom, with fewer and fewer employers offering defined benefit pension plans. If the public sector moves away from secure defined benefit pension plans and replaces them with inferior alternatives – hello, defined contribution plans! – this will drive down pension benefits for everyone. 

A job well done - if your goal is retirement insecurity. But how about raising the bar for everyone?

Photo: 401(K) 2013. Used under a Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0 licence.