By Mark Sciberras
I would personally like to thank Tim Batke and Scott Cruickshanks for helping the Union in Politics Chairperson Iain Fleming and myself in making our Provincial All Candidates Debate a success.
Our Local 707 All Candidates Debate on May 30th was a lively and passionate evening with a great number of people attending from the community, more than we originally anticipated. Local
707 members, retirees and the Oakville Community were able to ask direct questions of the three major parties candidates in the Oakville region, where our Union Hall resides. In attendance were
Liberal MPP Kevin Flynn, NDP candidate Lesley Sprague and PC candidate Stephen Crawford. While debate became heated from time to time and tempers flared, it was encouraging to see people
wanting to be informed and involved in the democratic process to make Ontario a province where we can all be proud to call home. Despite the weeks of debate over each party’s platform, to be completely honest, I was disappointed in our provincial election results on June 7th. I am not a hardline supporter of any party; however, I did not support Doug Ford’s vision for Ontario. I am in the minority though, as the majority of Ontario residents who cared to vote, supported his vision of change. An Ontario that is open to competition in the free markets, cuts taxes and government spending. While I did not help elect this government, I do believe it is irresponsible to sit idly by and complain about the circumstances. I believe, as Dave Thomas has previously said, the
government works for us. To make this happen we too must be involved and engaged in this province’s government, regardless of who leads it. During every election there are dedicated MPPs who unfortunately suffer the fate of their party. One of these MPP’s was Labour Minister Kevin Flynn, who I believe was always involved in government for the right reasons; for the betterment of his
community and province. Kevin was always open to listen and address our Union concerns including the average labourer in Ontario. He will be missed. However, where one door closes another opens as this election did bring some good news; we all can agree on. As many might have already heard, our very own Rudy Cuzzetto was elected as the next MPP of the Mississauga-Lakeshore region. Congratulations to Rudy, the first MPP that I am aware of, who has been elected while part of the Local 707 membership. I wish him all the best over the next four years. I hope his many years as part of this membership, have offered him a unique experience and will help him address; not only the needs of his region, but of Ontario’s middle class and working poor who will require a “new voice” in our next provincial government.
Unifor Pension Conference
Union Benefit Rep Paul Ivey and myself recently attended the first ever Unifor Pension summit. The purpose of the summit was to chart a future direction to ensure adequate and secure retirement
pensions for all Unifor members across Canada. As, it is essential we try to enhance a universal public pension, similar to the Canadian Pension Plan that will benefit not only ourselves, but also our
children. As Defined Pension plans have become stagnant across North America, we must not only try to find new ways to provide a liveable retirement income as a Union but protect what we have.
The summit provided an interesting look at the varying types of retirement plans held by Unifor membership in different industries, the difficulties they face at present and into the future.
Some interesting facts worth noting:
c Across Canada those with a Retirement Defined Benefit plan in the private sector have been reduced from 70 percent in 2005 to 42 percent in 2015
c In 2012, among all University graduates 42 percent of women and 30 percent of men were covered by a Retirement Defined Benefit Plan. In contrast only 18 percent of men and women with a high school diploma were covered
c Number of those who filed tax in Canada who contributed to a RRSP (group or individual) decreased from 26 percent in 2005 to 23 percent in 2015. The reduction in RRSP contributions
was focused in those under 54 years of age.
c Average retirement age in 2015 was 63.4 years of age, up from a low of 60.9 years of age in 1998
c The 2018 current average annual retirement Canadian Pension Plan benefit paid to an individual is $8,303.16
c Improvements to the retirement Canada Pension Plan benefit will begin 2019 and will extend through to 2025. Note: Information has been provided by a Statistics Canada Report, Service Canada and Office of the superintendent of the Financial Institutions Canada.
One final note: As of late I have been closely working with Retirees’ Chapter Chairperson Arnie De Vaan to ensure our Retirees are involved in Local 707 and events in the larger community. Our Retirees’ Chapter is actively addressing the needs of our retirees and those across the country and we would like to see this continue for years to come. If you are a Local 707 retiree or are considering retirement in the near future, I encourage you to read his article in the Reporter to see how you can participate.