TRURO - The leader of the federal NDP says the recession has exposed serious flaws in Canada's retirement savings system and has placed pension plans at risk.
"There needs to be a higher priority for seniors and retirees ... it's not right that more and more seniors have to go to the food bank to put food on the table," said Jack Layton while in Truro Saturday, outside of Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley NDP candidate Mark Austin's headquarters.
About 30 people gathered to listen to Layton.
"There are people who are near retired and wonder if they even can retire ... the NDP plans to lift all seniors out of poverty...," he said.
According to the NDP website, at least 11 million Canadians have only their public pensions to rely on for their retirement, and, at current levels, those pensions offer benefits that are far from adequate.
Layton proposes specific steps to combat the problem, including increasing the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) by $700 million a year; strengthening the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), with a goal of doubling benefits - this would cost an additional 2.5 per cent of wages that would be matched by employer; and developing a national pension insurance program, funded by employer pension plans, that will guarantee pensioners up to $2,500/month in the event of bankruptcy and plan failure.
For more on this story, see Monday's Truro Daily News.