Three Quebec unions are calling it “unacceptable” that the proposed reforms for the Quebec Pension Plan are not in line with the rest of Canada’s agreement to enhance the Canada Pension Plan.
The Fédération des travailleurs du Québec, the Centrale des syndicats du Québec and the Confédération des syndicats nationaux said they will oppose any proposal for the QPP that falls short of the agreement between the provinces and the federal government for the CPP.
“It is completely surreal to think that the government can offer to future Quebec retirees less than those of the rest of Canada,” said Serge Cadieux, the secretary general of the FTQ, “The Liberal government is out of touch with its people. It’s time to act. It is urgent for our future retirees to improve the Quebec Pension Plan.”
Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitão’s consultation document on the future of the QPP, which was published Dec. 8, includes a number of changes that will knock the provincial pension plan out of line with the CPP, according to the unions.
One of the changes is the intention to reduce the benefit for surviving spouses. Francine Lévesque, vice-president of CSN, said the government claims this change is justified because of the integration of women in the labour market. “However, it is completely denying reality, because women still earn lower wages than men. Decreasing this . . . would help penalize them even more in retirement.”
The unions also said the province’s voluntary retirement savings plans are not working. “VRSPs are not a good solution because employers have full control over the choice of financial institution and investments, even if they have no obligation to contribute,” said Lévesque. “The VRSPs are in fact only groupings of individual accounts without any risk sharing. This is not fair.”