Get ready for another federal-provincial meeting in Vancouver.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau will gather with his provincial counterparts later today and Monday (June 20) to try to hammer out a deal to reform the Canada Pension Plan.
The impetus comes from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's campaign promise to work with the provinces to improve benefits for seniors.
"Today, a Canadian who works their entire adult life can retire at age 65 with a maximum pension from the Canada Pension Plan and Quebec Pension Plan of $1,065 per month," the Liberal platform stated last year. "Most Canadians do not even receive this much; the average benefit right now under the CPP is only $618 per month."
This meeting comes a few days after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in town to announce a deal with Premier Christy Clark to announce new transit investments. In March, the premiers and the prime minister met in Vancouver and issued a joint communiqué on climate change.
Seven of 10 provinces representing two-thirds of the population must agree to any reforms to the CPP.
Complicating matters is the recent election of a new Conservative government in Manitoba. It has gone on record opposing any new payroll taxes.
Employers and employees pay 4.95 percent of income from $3,500 to $54,900 into the CPP, which is administered by a board of trustees.
When the former federal Conservative government decided not to enrich the CPP, Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne announced that her province would create its own pension plan.
The Ontario Retirement Pension Plan website says the "problem" is that the CPP doesn't deliver enough benefits to retirees.
In 2015, the average yearly benefit under CPP was $7,000 and the maximum yearly benefit was $12,780.
Last month, the Canadian Labour Congress mounted a campaign and a new website to push for changes to the CPP. The organization notes that 600,000 Canadians live in poverty and 11 million workers do not have a pension plan in their places of employment.
"For about the cost of a cup of coffee and a donut a day, the average worker could double their CPP benefits at retirement," the CLC states.
The CLC campaign mentions that if workers begin collecting benefits at 60, their monthly cheques are 36 percent less. If they wait until 70, they will receive about 42 percent more per month.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has opposed mandatory increases to CPP premiums.
In 2013, it conducted a survey of more than 8,000 business owners, which showed that any increase in premiums "would result in them considering wage freezes and reduce investments in the business", according to a commentary by CFIB executive vice president Laura Jones.
On June 9, CFIB president Dan Kelly met B.C. finance minister Mike de Jong to press his organization's opposition to higher payroll taxes.
Trudeau also made promises about Old Age Security and GIS
The federal Liberals have pledged to roll back the age of eligibility for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement to 65 from 67.
Prior to the last election, the Liberals also promised to immediately increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement by 10 percent for single, lower-income seniors, which would give them an additional $920 per year.
Former prime minister Stephen Harper's government raised the age of eligibility to 67 for anyone born after March 31, 1958.
At the time, then finance minister Jim Flaherty defended the change by saying that in the 1970s, there were seven workers for every person over the age of 65; he also cited forecasts that there would only be two workers for every person over 65 by 2032. Life expectancies have increased by a decade for men and by seven years for women from the 1970s.