The Alberta Pension Plan (APP) report has finally surfaced, and it peddles precisely what you’d expect: More Alberta, less Ottawa.
The report, created by the independent consultant LifeWorks, suggests an APP could save Albertans billions each year with lower contribution rates, higher benefits and more robust benefit security for families and retirees.
According to the report, Alberta should receive a $334-billion asset transfer from the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) in 2027 to reimburse residents for their contributions to the CPP minus how much they have received in benefits since its inception in 1966, plus investment earnings on that amount.
With this large pool of money, the province contends that an APP would provide a “significant financial backstop” to cover benefit payments well into the future, including a $5,000 to $10,000 bonus payment at retirement.
“This report shows a made-in-Alberta pension plan could put more money in the pockets of hard-working families and business owners and improve retirement security for seniors,” said Alberta Premier Danielle Smith.
An APP could save Albertans $5 billion in the first year alone, contends Alberta Finance Minister Nate Horner, lauding yearly savings of up to $1,425 for workers and $2,850 for self-employed workers.
A government release said these savings would not reduce benefit payouts to seniors and retirees.
“Alberta’s young population, high employment rates and higher pensionable earnings have meant the province has contributed billions more into the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) than what was required to fund benefits paid to Alberta seniors,” it said.
Over the fall and into spring 2024, an engagement panel will gather feedback from Albertans on their thoughts, suggestions and concerns about a provincial pension plan.
“The job of the panel is straightforward. We ask Albertans to look at the facts, participate in the discussions and then tell us what they think about an Alberta Pension Plan and the different options we must consider,” said APP engagement panel chair Jim Dinning.
“We expect our conversations will be complex and, at times, fiery, but people engaged in debate remind all of us how important sound public policy is for our security and prosperity. Albertans will figure this out.”
“We want to hear from you because it’s your pension, your choice,” said Smith.
“Albertans will make the final decision on where we go from here,” reiterated Horner.
The panel will submit a report to the government based on the provincewide engagement. A referendum indicating support from most Albertans would be required to pursue an APP clarified the province.