Business groups cautious about proposed Alberta provincial pension plan

CALGARY – An executive with the Retail Council of Canada says a proposal for Alberta to replace the Canada Pension Plan with a new provincial plan raises concern about the potential impact on future retirement income of workers and customers.

Karl Littler, senior vice-president of public affairs for the group, says he fears the plan could also limit the ability of his members, who have about 45,000 storefronts and more than one million employees across Canada, to move staff from one jurisdiction to another.

Still, he says, many of his members are already experienced in dealing with a separate provincial pension plan in Quebec.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business says it wants an Alberta panel that’s looking at the idea of a separate pension plan to consider the red tape, or administrative load, that entrepreneurs will face.

Annie Dormuth, Alberta director for the CFIB, says the organization intends to poll its members before taking a firm stance on the proposal itself.

The federal finance department says a province that wants to exit the Canada Pension Plan must give three years written notice, pass comparable pension legislation and assume all of the obligations and liabilities of CPP benefits due to employment or self-employment in the province.

Last weekend, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney appointed a panel to conduct research and hold public meetings on Alberta independence-related topics including the pension plan, creating a separate police force, establishing a provincial revenue agency and adopting a provincial constitution.

The panel is to report back by the end of March.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 14, 2019.