Wynne Doubts Trudeau Can Reach Deal on Expanding Canada Pensions

  • Ontario premier doesn’t `see it happening across the country'
  • National plan preferred but province will go alone if need be

A deal to expand the Canada Pension Plan is unlikely as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau doesn’t yet have consensus among provinces, according to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

Trudeau campaigned on expanding the national program but Ontario will proceed with its own pension plan if an agreement isn’t reached by 2018, Wynne said in an interview Monday at Bloomberg’s Toronto office. “At this moment, I don’t see it happening across the country,” she said.

Trudeau instructed Finance Minister Bill Morneau to work with the premiers to “enhance the Canada Pension Plan to provide more income security to Canadians when they retire,” though several provinces don’t favor an expansion at a time of sluggish growth. Wynne, a political ally of the prime minister’s and leader of the country’s most populous province, has delayed implementing her own Ontario Retirement Pension Plan to give the federal government a chance to strike a deal.

A national system is still her preference, she said. “Our position has always been that the Canada Pension Plan needs to be enhanced -- that it’s inadequate, it needs to be updated,” Wynne told Bloomberg TV Canada’s Pamela Ritchie in remarks that air Tuesday afternoon. “The previous government wasn’t interested in looking at that at all. This government is, and so we are going to continue to work with the new federal government.”

Trudeau and Wynne announced in February that Ontario would delay the start of ORPP enrollment to January of 2017, with contributions beginning in 2018. The two governments agreed to push for a a deal on CPP enhancements before the country’s finance ministers meet in June. 

Ontario will add a new pension program either way, with Wynne promising to proceed alone if Trudeau cannot. “Beginning January 2017, businesses will register,” Wynne said. “We’ve pushed off the contributions until the beginning of 2018 because we wanted to give this time.”

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.