Three-quarters (74 per cent) of Canadians said they’d accept a slightly lower salary in exchange for a better — or any — pension plan, according to a new survey by the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan and Abacus Data.
The survey, which was conducted online in May and June among 3,500 Canadians aged 18 or older, showed a slight drop from the 80 per cent of respondents who said the same thing last year.
“This year’s findings reaffirm Canadians’ personal and societal concerns around retirement security,” said Steven McCormick, senior vice-president of plan operations at the HOOPP, in a press release. “Immediate public health and financial considerations stemming from COVID-19 have not changed Canadians’ commitment to pensions and their willingness to pay for them to ensure a better future for themselves and for everyone.”
Read: 80% of Canadians would prefer pension improvements over salary increase: HOOPP
In relation to the coronavirus pandemic, 57 per cent of respondents reported that their own financial situation has been harmed since March, while 62 per cent said they’re concerned about the value of their investments/savings as a result of the pandemic. In addition, more Canadians are concerned about their retirement security (55 per cent) than their job security (44 per cent).
Despite these immediate and personal concerns, Canadians are taking a long-term view, with 72 per cent of survey respondents who agreed there’s an emerging retirement income crisis and 84 per cent saying it’s in everyone’s best interests for more people to have better retirement savings. Indeed, 77 per cent said they believe the economy will suffer without good pensions.
The survey also found 76 per cent of respondents said they’re concerned that if workers are unable to access good workplace pensions and contribute during their working lives, they will eventually become a burden on the taxpayer.
“Canadians have observed the erosion of workplace pension plans and they are concerned about the impacts — for individuals, for the economy and on public funds,” said David Coletto, chief executive officer of Abacus Data. “And they have an expectation that their employers will help, as 76 per cent said companies have a responsibility to offer pensions that provide adequate retirement income.”
Read: What’s next for Canada’s retirement income system?
The majority (86 per cent) of survey respondents said all workers should have access to efficient retirement savings arrangements, while 82 per cent agreed all employees should have a pension that guarantees a percentage of their working income in retirement. Additionally, 79 per cent said they’d rather their employer make pension contributions than receive that money as salary.
“Canadians are saying, as a country, we need to do more and we know what works,” said McCormick. “There needs to be ongoing dialogue between government, business and the retirement security community on how we can provide more efficient, affordable and sustainable retirement savings vehicles for all Canadians.”