With many Canadians still reluctant to save for retirement, it’s time for plans to get more proactive about communicating the benefits of putting money away and for Canada to consider mandatory solutions, a pension executive told the Canadian Pension & Benefits Institute on Tuesday.

“The battle around retirement savings is won and lost at the paycheque stage,” Derek Dobson, chief executive officer and plan manager of the Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Pension Plan, said during a speech at the institute’s Forum 2016 in Ottawa.

In outlining the need to do more to boost retirement savings, Dobson noted a variety of challenges that are making life more difficult for younger workers. They include precarious employment, rising tuition and student debt, and the high cost of housing. “The dream of home ownership is getting a little bit further away,” he said, suggesting retirement planning is also becoming an “important stressor” as fewer workplaces offer pension plans.

Read: Trends in workplace pension plans

Adding to the challenges is increased longevity, a factor that, combined with the other issues, signals a need to boost retirement savings targets, according to Dobson. While some people might suggest working longer, Dobson noted health issues can be a barrier. “So working longer is not an option for many,” he said.

The challenge for Canada, according to Dobson, is to address the issue efficiently. As a result, he said there’s a need for a debate on mandatory versus voluntary retirement savings. “We have enough challenges as a country that we can’t be inefficient,” he said, suggesting he’d be in favour of enhancing the Canada Pension Plan but noting he believes there should be an exemption for comparable plans.

Besides the mandatory options, Dobson also noted the need for pension plans to tout and communicate their own value to their members and counter the notion that they’re like a tax. “I don’t think we invest enough in our communications programs,” he said.

The Forum 2016 continues on Wednesday at the Westin hotel in downtown Ottawa.

Read: The ORPP divide: Is plan a ‘monster’ or an incentive for better pensions?

Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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Scott Aver:

If Wynne’s government sets a 4%/4% match formula as a “comparable” plan to the ORPP, then what would the formula be to match the CPP/QPP?

Wednesday, May 18 at 11:44 am | Reply

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