Close the gap

  • Feb. 21, 2007 5:00 p.m.

Islanders and Canadians in general should concern themselves with the retirement and pension gap, before it requires action that has not been fully thought out.
The retirement and pension gap? It was revealed in mid-January by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, in a report called ‘Canada’s Pension Predicament’.
Based on numbers from Statistics Canada, the report points out that public sector employees have a much better retirement than others.
No news there, but just how much better might surprise many people.
For example, the average age of retirement for a public sector employee is 59. Private sector workers, on average, stick with the job until they are 62, and the self-employed cannot quit until they are 66.
What’s new here is that all this has changed in the last 40-odd years. In 1970, there was no gap. Retirement age was basically equivalent for all three categories of workers. What’s new is that the gap between public servants and ordinary taxpayers is relatively new and it’s growing.
As the report points out, public sector workers enjoy a lifetime of job security and better benefits indexed to the cost of living, something which doesn’t happen often for private sector workers. They just plain and simple have a better deal than the rest of us.
Public sector employees cannot be blamed for accepting the benefits nor for trying to increase them over time through their unions.
But why should private sector workers and the self employed continue to honour their picket lines when they go on strike for more money and benefits, further widening the gap of privilege in benefits and pensions.
The government could move to close the pension gap. Someday, it will have to. The country will be unable to afford a continually growing gap.
However, doing so is likely to provoke a fight between labour unions and labour ministers. These latter, in the past, have too often found it easier to spend the public’s money than save it. That’s the root of the looming problem.
However, the time is coming when such fights may be necessary. Ordinary Canadians someday soon may notice how wide the gap has become and demand action.
And some public sector pension plans are under funded or even unfunded, meaning they are paid for out of revenues. That could cause a political backlash someday; it is also negligent for government to continue to ignore the problem.
The current set up is unjust and unfair. It also may someday be unaffordable. Time to act soon, before it turns into a crisis.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Haida Gwaii couple frustrated after Air Canada cancels flight, denies compensation

Mike Racz says another passenger received $1,000 while he was only offered e-coupon and promo code

Haida Gwaii teachers heading back to empty classrooms on June 1

SD50 working with CHN following May 21 request to keep school closed until state of emergency lifted

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

VIDEO: Green Coast offers free kayaking to Haida Gwaii residents

First “pop-up paddle” held Monday, May 25; free community paddles expected to continue weekly

DFO allowing at-sea observers again if safe work procedures in place

May 15 fishery notice lays out conditions for allowing at-sea observers onboard amid COVID-19

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

Man who bound, murdered Vancouver Island teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Spirit bear possibly spotted in West Kootenay

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run near Castlegar on May 27

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

B.C. teacher reprimanded for sharing homophobic and sexist memes, making racist comments

Klaus Hardy Breslauer was accused of making a laundry list of concerning decisions as a science teacher

Most Read