Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said he and his provincial counterparts have agreed to create “pooled pensions,” which will make it easier for small companies and the self-employed to participate in registered pension plans.
Mr. Flaherty and provincial ministers said in June they would look for ways to give banks and insurance companies more scope in providing pension plans for multiple employers or the self-employed. Mr. Flaherty also said most of Canada’s provinces will balance their budgets in the “medium term” to maintain Canada’s fiscal advantage relative to other advanced economies.
“We want all Canadians to save more for their retirement,” Mr. Flaherty told reporters following a meeting on Monday with provincial finance ministers in Kananaskis, Alberta.
The finance ministers are divided, though, on whether to consider increases to the C$138.6 billion (US$136.1 billion) Canada Pension Plan, Ottawa, a mandatory system in which workers and employers contribute. Changes to the plan require agreement of two-thirds of Canada’s provinces that represent two-thirds of the population.
Quebec Finance Minister Raymond Bachand said it is too early to make any changes to the Canada Pension Plan.
“We’re taking the position we should make further studies,” Mr. Bachand told reporters in Kananaskis. “Not right now, but not necessarily never.”
About 11 million of Canada’s 17 million workers don’t have a workplace pension plan. Less than a third participate in individual tax-sheltered Registered Retirement Savings Plans, according to the Canadian Labor Congress, a union umbrella group.
“This new initiative will help alleviate that,” Mr. Flaherty said, adding that “millions” of workers are expected to benefit, without giving details. Finance ministers agreed that it will be mandatory for employers to offer the plans, although not mandatory for employers to contribute to them, Mr. Flaherty said.