Who Wins the Pension War? Not Us

An Ontario Liberal premier and a Tory prime minister up for re-election sucker punching each other over pensions for the peasants, er, little people.

Excuse me while I find something more interesting to contemplate, like whether the tomato plants’ yellow leaves signal blight.

And speaking of blight and pensions in successive sentences brings me to the topic of public sector workers and, especially, teachers.

The average retired teacher in Ontario receives a pension of $48,000 – and may continue to work.

Ditto for the federal government employee who, after working for 35 years at a salary of $55,000 to $65,000, can retire at the age of 58 with an annual pension of $43, 519. 00 per year, or $3.626.13 per month. (Thanks to the Ottawa Sun for those 2012 figures.)

And don’t get me started on Ontario government employees and public sector workers who swan off to Florida before they turn 60 or top up their obscene pensions with “post-retirement” employment.

The real change that needs to happen re retirement income is not a paltry Ontario Registered Retirement Plan.

Harper is probably correct in suggesting that taking more money away from people, especially young families, and employers right now is not a brilliant move. For people living from one payday to another, or saving to buy a home, putting more money into a pension fund today is more of a burden than a blessing, no matter how Wynne spins it.

She’s right, however, about one thing: something has to change.

The real change that needs to happen is bringing compensation and pension income for public sector workers more in line with what the rest of us get.

And using that saved money to boost the Canada Pension Plan for everybody.

But don’t hold your breath. Public sector workers are a powerful force in this country: just ask Tim Hudak who vowed to cut 100,000 Ontario employees.

Wynne, no doubt, will be adding even more public sector employees to administer the ORRP, workers who will in time be entitled to pensions vastly more generous than the amounts they’ll be doling out to the peasants, er, little people.

Unless something changes.