Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

Le Régime de Canada's pensions at the heart of a meeting of finance ministers

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Federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland had asked the Chief Actuary to calculate what would be owed to Alberta if it decided to withdraw from the Canada Pension Plan.

The Canadian Press

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Citing the complexity of pension plans and the need for all provinces and territories to intervene in this matter, the federal Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland, did not provide a precise timeline for determine the amount to which Alberta would be entitled if it decided to leave the Canada Pension Plan.

During a meeting with her provincial and territorial counterparts, on Friday, Ms. Freeland received an update from experts who have focused on this issue in recent months.

In November, she asked the chief actuary to calculate what would be owed to Alberta if the latter decided to withdraw from the Canada Pension Plan.

The experts argued, during their presentation, that they should meet again in January in order to take stock of the progress of the file, and all the world agreed it was a good idea, Freeland said.

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Ministers held a special meeting last month to discuss Alberta Premier Danielle Smith's desire to leave the Canada Pension Plan to create an Alberta-specific plan. /p>

Ms. Smith advanced her project in September by releasing a report from Lifeworks which estimated that Alberta would have entitled to $334 billion, or 53%, from the Canada Pension Plan if it set up its own plan.

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Other economists, including those from the Office of x27;investment from the Canada Pension Plan, believe Alberta's share would be closer to its percentage of plan participants, around 15%.

To put an end to this debate, Ms Freeland asked the chief actuary to rule on a figure. But when journalists asked her if she thought it would be necessary to wait until spring or summer to arrive at an estimate, the deputy prime minister refused to comment. #x27;move forward.

I learned during the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations to never respond to hypothetical questions. This is not a good idea for an elected politician, she said.

What I think was very clear in today's conversation is how technical this work is. We agreed that we were going to do the work and define the tasks very carefully, very deliberately and in a really transparent way, added the minister.

Asked about the parts of the meeting that focused on pension plans, Alberta Finance Minister Nate Horner said he was pleased that Minister Freeland agreed that the chief actuary should rely on its own legal analysis and not what the federal government says.

The decision to move forward with a Alberta's own pension plan belongs to Albertans, he said in a written statement.

On this subject, Ms. Freeland reiterated during her speech that any province or territory can withdraw from the federal pension plan . There is no debate on that, she said.

Alberta wants to follow suit in Quebec, which has its own pension plan, namely the Quebec Pension Plan.

Present at the meeting, Quebec Finance Minister Eric Girard mentioned that Quebec plays an extremely interested observer role in what is happening with Alberta. If a province left the Canada Pension Plan, there would have to be an agreement with Quebec for workers who come and go from that province, he explained.

Such an agreement already exists between the Canada Pension Plan and the Quebec Pension Plan for workers who work in Quebec and elsewhere in the country during their career.

In addition to the Alberta pension plan, Ms. Freeland and her counterparts discussed housing, inflation and the economy.

The provinces and territories also took the opportunity to inform the Minister of Finance of their priorities for the 2024-2025 federal budget.

I would say that there was consensus for an increase in infrastructure spending and also for continued transfers in the workforce, indicated Mr. Girard .

The Governor of the Bank of Canada, Tiff Macklem, was also present to provide an update on the country's economic outlook.

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