Ottawa, March 24, 2010
Archived - Government Launches Coast to Coast Consultations on Canada's Retirement Income System
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The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, and Parliamentary Secretary Ted Menzies, along with the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of State for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, today announced the launch of online consultations and a series of cross-country roundtable discussions, speaking engagements and town hall meetings to gather input from Canadians on ensuring the ongoing strength of Canada's retirement income system. The consultations will inform discussions at the next meeting of federal, provincial and territorial Ministers of Finance in May, where the retirement income system will be a key agenda item.
"Canadians work hard to realize their retirement dreams," said Minister Flaherty. "Our government will be giving Canadians an unprecedented opportunity to provide direct input on the future security and soundness of Canada's retirement income system."
"Along with my colleagues, I look forward to engaging Canadians directly in this dialogue," said Mr. Menzies. "Canadians deserve a strong voice in how governments can help ensure that the retirement income system serves their needs."
"This is a complex issue with a lot of moving parts," said Minister Lebel. "These consultations will ensure that we proceed in a considered and informed way, rather than risking unintended consequences."
The public town hall meetings will be held in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Quebec City, and Richmond, British Columbia.
Roundtable discussions with invited key stakeholders, experts and representatives from provincial and territorial governments will take place in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Winnipeg, Manitoba, and London, Ontario.
Minister Flaherty will speak on strengthening Canada's retirement income system at conferences hosted by:
- the University of Calgary on April 12; and
- the Institute for Research on Public Policy in Toronto on May 4.
Further details will be made available in advance of these events.
Individuals interested in participating in the online consultations are invited to do so through the following link to the Department of Finance website: www.fin.gc.ca/activty/consult/retirement-eng.asp.
The Minister of Finance has also asked the Senate Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce and the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance to help inform the Government's efforts through their own studies of the government-supported retirement income system.
To support a strong retirement income system over the long term, federal, provincial and territorial Ministers of Finance established a Research Working Group in May 2009, chaired by Parliamentary Secretary Ted Menzies, to expand governments' understanding of retirement income adequacy issues.
The group's summary report was presented to Ministers of Finance and Ministers responsible for pensions at their December 2009 meeting in Whitehorse by its research director, Professor Jack Mintz.
While the report confirms the relative strength of Canada's retirement income system, Ministers tasked senior officials to work collaboratively over the following months to analyze the wide range of ideas that have been put forward by various stakeholders, experts and commentators to further strengthen Canada's government-supported retirement income system.
The consultations announced today underscore Ministers' agreement that the collaborative work undertaken by officials should take into account the broader public discussion on retirement income adequacy and pension issues, as well as research and any consultations undertaken by governments.
Canada's Ministers of Finance will discuss the findings from these consultations and appropriate next steps at their May meeting.
For further information, media may contact:
Office of the Minister of Finance
Department of Finance
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