ORPP delay a ‘wise’ move

The Association of Canadian Pension Management is welcoming today’s announcement of a one-year delay to the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan.

“We welcome it,” says ACPM chief executive officer Bryan Hocking, calling it a “wise” move.

“I think they’ve had enough input from a number of different organizations and companies that are all saying the same thing at this point,” he notes, referring to a growing number of calls in recent weeks to delay the ORPP by one year.

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In a speech at the Empire Club today, Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced the province would be delaying the ORPP by one year. As a result, large corporations will still have to register with the ORPP as of Jan. 1, 2017, but won’t have to start remitting premiums until Jan. 1, 2018. Under the original schedule, premiums were to apply to large companies as of 2017 with the ORPP continuing to roll out in stages until Jan. 1, 2020.

“So we’re giving employers more time to prepare,” said Sousa.

Sousa also announced the province had reached an agreement with the federal government on administrative support for the ORPP. The province says the federal government has agreed to facilitate plan registration and data-sharing arrangements and will work with Ontario on issues such as collecting employer and employee contributions.

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Sousa said the delay would allow for a “national dialogue” on CPP reform, something Premier Kathleen Wynne has long said she’d prefer to see happen. While the new federal Liberal government is on side with that idea, the provinces failed to agree on this issue at a meeting late last year.

According to a report today in the Toronto Star, however, the Ontario government is still doubtful about the prospects for CPP reform and is instead looking to see whether other provinces want to follow its lead on a more aggressive pension plan. As a result, it’s not necessarily looking to abandon the ORPP.

Hocking, meanwhile, says his association is neither for nor against the ORPP. The major concern, he notes, is that moving forward with the ORPP as originally envisioned would thwart a compromise among the provinces on CPP reform despite the changed federal stance on the issue. “Why not give time to discuss it if that’s the case?” he asks.

And with the province having just reached an agreement with the federal government on the administrative issues, he says implementing the ORPP as scheduled in 2017 would have been a challenge. “I’d be surprised if somebody in Ottawa didn’t say, ‘Well, that’s pretty short notice,’” he says.

Read: ORPP will deliver a serious dose of pension awareness

Editor’s note: Story updated Feb. 16 at 1:40 p.m. to reflect Sousa’s comments.