Alberta expecting to get federal estimate of its share of Canada Pension Plan by fall

Alberta expecting to get federal estimate of its share of Canada Pension Plan by fall © Provided by The Canadian Press

EDMONTON — Albertans will have to wait until the fall before they learn what the federal government thinks they should get if the province quits the Canada Pension Plan.

Alberta Finance Minister Nate Horner says they’ve been told Canada’s chief actuary plans to strike a panel this spring to explore how much Alberta should get, with an expected final calculation delivered in the fall.

Premier Danielle Smith’s government is urging Albertans consider a provincially run pension plan.

She says the province’s strong financial position and young workforce would deliver better benefits than staying in the CPP.

Alberta is relying on a report that says it’s owed a windfall — 53 per cent of the entire CPP — if it splits off to run its own plan.

Critics have called that calculation wildly overblown, leading Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to call on the chief actuary to provide an estimate.

Alberta’s report estimates that given the outsized contributions of its workforce multiplied by compound interest, it is owed $334 billion.

The CPP Investment Board and economists say the true figure would be far lower.

Smith’s government launched the debate last year with a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign extolling the benefits of leaving the CPP.

Public response in the province has not been enthusiastic.

A government engagement panel estimates half the respondents are happy in the CPP while a quarter want Alberta to go it alone.

Any decision to leave the CPP would have to be ratified in a provincewide referendum.

Horner, in a statement Thursday, said the government is committed to waiting for the chief actuary’s number.

“We heard loud and clear that Albertans want more information on the value of the asset transfer Alberta would be entitled to,” said Horner.

“We will continue to provide all the information necessary for Albertans to make an informed decision on our next steps.”

Source: Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press