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Lessons from Pension Reform in the Americas$
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Stephen J. Kay and Tapen Sinha

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199226801

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199226801.001.0001

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Reforms to Canadian Social Security, 1996–7

Reforms to Canadian Social Security, 1996–7

(p.242) Chapter 9 Reforms to Canadian Social Security, 1996–7
Lessons from Pension Reform in the Americas

Robert L. Brown

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses Social Security reform in Canada in 1996-7. It argues that the C/QPP reforms of 1997 gave merely tweaks to the system as opposed to massive change, with most of the amendments subtle and not fully understood by the average Canadian citizen. These reforms were made without apparent opposition, which is somewhat surprising given that contribution rates were raised from 6 to 9.9% over a short 6-year period. The failure of the Seniors Benefit in 1996 was political, not actuarial. The government failed to understand how popular the OAS was and how emotional the response would be to proposed reforms given the very small- and long-deferred savings that were projected to result. The Canadian social security system today provides Canadians with a high level of income security while leaving ample room for individual savings and investments. The reforms of 1997 have meant that the CPP now rests on a healthy foundation. The latest CPP actuarial report shows that this system is sustainable for at least the next seventy-five years.

Keywords:   Canada, pension reform, Social Security system, Seniors Benefit

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