National pharmacare has the power to heal an ailing system

Universal drug coverage for Canada may offer a small personal loss for a few but a larger public gain

National pharmacare has the power to heal an ailing systemThe Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) recently published a report outlining the expected costs and benefits of a possible national pharmacare program – and it’s pretty good news for most Canadians. The pharmacare program that was assessed was one proposed by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health in 2016. This committee provided the program’s…

Who benefits from an expanded CPP?

The government? Likely. High earners? Definitely. Middle-income earners? Unlikely. Low-income workers may even see a reduction in overall benefits

Who benefits from an expanded CPP?As recently as June 2016, the federal and provincial finance ministers agreed to expand the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). It's so recent, in government terms, that many of the details of benefit entitlements, costs and investment criteria still aren’t known. But it’s been long enough for deep thinkers on matters of social security to delve…

Workers over 65 should be entitled to employer health plans

Keeping employees healthy and productive is critical, so what do we save when employee health benefits are cut for staff who are seniors?

Workers over 65 should be entitled to employer health plansImagine having your private health insurance – dental, vision, prescription drug, life, travel and disability coverage – terminated by your employer when you reach age 65, even thought you’re still working for them and just when you may really need it. That’s what happened to Maureen, a senior executive at a large and profitable computer…

We really do need an expanded Canada Pension Plan

A significant proportion of future Canadian retirees are going to suffer measurable deterioration in their standards of living

We really do need an expanded Canada Pension PlanThe case for an expanded Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is all about providing secure retirement income. The Fraser Institute recently argued that the federal government has failed to make a convincing case for CPP expansion. But any perspective depends heavily on trying to determine how much income Canadians need to retire with dignity. Do we require 50…

Why private health insurance coverage in Canada needs a review

Canadians rely on private insurance to help pay health costs not covered by our public system but losing a job shouldn't mean losing coverage

Why private health insurance coverage in Canada needs a reviewBy John Have Canadian Institute of Actuaries and Robert L. Brown University of Waterloo A nine-year-old New Brunswick boy was recently denied private health coverage because of his weight (135 pounds at 5 foot 2 inches). The idea that a child could be denied coverage in Canada shocked many. But it’s entirely legal and may…

The good, the bad and the ugly of an expanded CPP

The good, the bad and the ugly of an expanded CPPAmazingly, eight of 10 provincial finance ministers and the federal government have agreed to a modest increase in the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). The two provinces which have not signed on are Manitoba, where the government is only four weeks old, and Quebec, which has chosen to allow itself the option of adopting a differing…

Think twice before adopting Australia’s pension reform model

Let's look at the evidence before blindly adopting the Australian pension system as our own

Think twice before adopting Australia’s pension reform modelThe Fraser Institute’s recommendation that the Province of Ontario adopt an Australian model of pension reform instead of expanding the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), as proposed in the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan, pits the collective approach to pension provision as now exists in the CPP with the Individual Accounts Social Security approach (very much like…

Wait times continue to drag health care outcomes down

It will take political courage to improve Canada's health care system

Wait times continue to drag health care outcomes downI spent my life teaching actuarial science at a university. As a result, I calculated lots of numbers: averages, expected values, variances. But, they were only numbers. What I didn’t see was the individual human story behind each calculation. But now that I am the human face of one of those stories, I see it…

Giving Canadians the pension system they need

It just requires some imagination and a few (but important) tweaks to existing pension and income tax laws

Giving Canadians the pension system they needWhat do Canadians want out of a national pension system? I think it’s safe to guess they want at least the following: a system that can be trusted, the lowest cost possible, high rates of return on investments, but within a range of prudent safety, transparency and a governing process that puts the interests of…

Pros and cons of an expanded Canada Pension Plan

Governments would be wise to remember making changes to the CPP is a very complex issue

Pros and cons of an expanded Canada Pension PlanA new report came out recently that reiterates what we’ve heard from other sources: Canadians aren’t saving nearly enough for retirement. The Deputy Chief Economist of the CIBC warns that, without pension reform now, younger workers today will see a steep decline in living standards as they retire. The Conservative government has recently announced it…