British Columbia Joins Trudeau’s Pension-Expansion Effort

British Columbia has signed off on a planned expansion of the Canada Pension Plan, a key hurdle in finalizing changes agreed to this summer.

The Pacific Coast province announced its support Tuesday. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau pushed for an expansion of contributions and benefits to the CPP, the mandatory pension plan for Canadian workers. Changes must be approved by seven of the country’s 10 provinces representing two-thirds of the population.

“I’m confident the changes will have a meaningful impact on retirement income security,” Michael de Jong, British Columbia’s finance minister, said in a statement.

Provinces and the federal government agreed to a tentative pact in June -- a deal that included British Columbia, which had since demurred on signing off. Its approval this week likely paves the way for the changes to ultimately proceed.

“This morning we had good news,” Morneau said after the announcement, thanking de Jong for his decision and saying his input was also critical to reaching a tentative deal. “We know it’s going to have a huge impact on Canadians.”

Nine of 10 provinces have now agreed to move forward with the CPP changes, Morneau said. The exception is Quebec -- the second-most-populous province. It has its own parallel Quebec Pension Plan, and has said it plans to adopt most of the CPP changes. The deal can proceed without Quebec’s support.

CPP changes will be detailed in federal legislation that will be made public this fall; Morneau said to expect it “shortly.” Once passed into law, provinces will have to issue cabinet orders to formalize their acceptance of the changes.

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