Important message from CFIB president Dan Kelly on the Canada Pension Plan

Dan Kelly

Dan Kelly

President, CEO and Chair

The British Columbia government announced on October 4 that its consultation on CPP has concluded, and that the province is now prepared to sign the federal-provincial deal reached last June. BC’s decision means that the federal government now has enough provincial support to proceed with the plan to hike CPP premiums, starting in 2019.

While we commend the BC government for consulting British Columbians (Quebec still intends to consult on a Quebec Pension Plan increase in the near future), we are disappointed that promised national consultation was skipped, and that Canadians were never really told what the deal means to them.

What was achieved?
On reflection, this outcome could have been much worse. We started fighting this plan in 2010 when unions and other advocates were pushing to double CPP benefits. It should be remembered that finance ministers agreed to hike CPP back in 2010 with the federal government only backing off when CFIB raised your concerns.  With your support we secured delays, we talked various governments out of some really bad plans, and we were able to defeat a potentially disastrous provincial pension scheme in Ontario, the ORPP.

Our fight helped delay the start of CPP expansion to 2019 and it won’t take full effect until 2025 – 15 years after our fight began. Saving employees and business owners like you 15 years’ worth of increased premiums is no small feat, and one we achieved together. Throughout this fight, CFIB and its members were often the only voice willing to stand up for Canada’s economy. That is something that you, I, and all staff working on your behalf at CFIB, can be proud of.

Despite these significant achievements, we know that an increased CPP is going to make things harder for you. We’re going to make sure government knows, too. Our fight does not end here.

Where do we go from here?
While CFIB will continue to fight for the best possible deal for its members on CPP, we will also take this opportunity to ask governments to face the reality that every dollar added to the total cost of hiring is a dollar that must be found elsewhere. Businesses will decide if that will come in the form of layoffs, reduced staff hours, or, we hope, off-setting government measures.

CFIB has not missed a beat in this regard, and has already called on the federal government to reinstate the promised cuts to the small business tax rate; introduce a permanent, lower Employment Insurance rate for small businesses; and make good on its promise to provide a three-year EI holiday for youth hires. Provincial governments will be getting similar requests in the weeks and months ahead. Canada’s governments have become very good at raising costs for small business. We will be increasing the pressure on them to lower them.

I thank you for your terrific support over these past six years and, I promise, it’s not over yet.