The Fiscal Equality of Women: Proposed Changes to Legislation Governing Private Pension Plans in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, and Nova Scotia

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Women, Pension, Gender, Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Retirement, Unlocking, Vesting, Inflation


In 2008–9, expert pension panels that were established by four provinces, Alberta and British Columbia ( jointly), Ontario, and Nova Scotia produced three reports on provincial legislation governing private pension plans. The purpose of this article is to provide a gender-based analysis of the reports’ recommendations. The first part of the article examines how women’s role in the process of social reproduction makes their participation in private pension plans problematic. The article then explores public income supports for Canadian seniors, including Old Age Security, the Guaranteed Income Supplement, and the Canada Pension Plan. This examination will provide background against which to view the recommendations of the reports on private pension plans. The final part of the article explores the recommendations of the pension panels that are of particular importance to women. They include the establishment of provinces-wide pension plans, an increase in contribution and benefit levels in private plans, and the question of vesting and inflation. Finally, some matters that require further investigation from a gender-based perspective are suggested, including the timing of retirement, the notion of phased retirement, and access to lump sum payments from pension funds at a particular age (unlocking).