Prime Minister Stephen Harper hinted at looming changes to Canada’s retirement income system in his remarks Thursday to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
In his speech, Harper stressed that one of his concerns is Canada’s ageing population. “If not addressed promptly this has the capacity to undermine Canada’s economic position, and for that matter, that of all western nations, well beyond the current economic crises,” he said.
And, he pledged that major changes are coming to deal with these sorts of challenges. “In the months to come our government will undertake major transformations to position Canada for growth over the next generation,” he said.
In particular, Harper said that he’s worried about the threat that demographics may pose to the sustainability of social programs and services. “For this reason, we will be taking measures in the coming months, not just to return to a balanced budget in the medium term, but also to ensure the sustainability of our social programs and fiscal position over the next generation,” he said.
Harper noted that the government has taken steps to limit the growth of healthcare spending. “We must do the same for our retirement income system,” he said.
He noted that the Canada Pension Plan is fully funded, and does not need to be changed. “For those elements of the system that are not funded, we will make the changes necessary to ensure sustainability for the next generation while not affecting current recipients,” he said.