Four in Five Canadians Would Prefer a Better Pension to a Pay Raise

Canadians are stressed about retirement security and foresee a “retirement income crisis”


By Jennifer Hughes

Photo: iStock/TheaDesign.


Since we’re now living longer, healthier lives due to advancements in medicine and science, we can expect to spend more years in retirement than we might have years ago. The problem is paying for that retirement, and according to the recently published results of a public opinion survey on retirement, Canadians are more worried about having enough money in retirement about their mental health or personal debt.

Three-quarters of Canadians surveyed by Abacus Data said they’re concerned about saving enough for retirement. Four in five respondents said they’d rather have a better pension than a higher salary. The survey of 2,500 Canadians was commissioned by the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP), the pension plan for Ontario’s health-care sector, and the results were presented at an October event in Toronto that included a panel discussion about retirement security.

The survey also revealed some frightening statistics: more than half of Canadians (56%) don’t have a workplace pension and half of those without a pension (49%) have nothing saved for retirement.

According to the report, three-quarters (75%) of Canadians are more concerned about their retirement savings than they are about personal or government debt (55% and 64%, respectively). Canadians also believe that the government should increase pension plans and provide more savings options. The majority of those surveyed (83%) think the government should update regulations to allow for better pension plans and easier ways to save; 77% agreed that there is an “emerging retirement income crisis.” Over three quarters (78%) believe that children deserve to have the same pension coverage as their parents and grandparents, while 81% think that diminishing work pensions will reduce the quality of life of many Canadians.

“It is clear that Canadians have a high level of anxiety around retirement security and that we, as a country, need to talk about how to address this growing concern,” HOOPP president and CEO Jim Keohane told the public during the panel discussion.