Today's discussion:

Should we spend some of Canada’s CPP funds?

Sitting on $576 billion today—$200 billion more than predicted just a few years ago—the fund is projected to exceed $1 trillion by 2031 and hit a breathtaking $1.5 trillion only five years after that. It’s stuffed with more than enough money to pay out benefits for the next 75 years.

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Comments (69)

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The Hub Staff

Thank you for contributing to Hub Forum. If you are interested in reading more from Mark Johnson, check out his article on government spending:

1st February 2024 at 2:27 pm
Robert Tilden

It is never a good idea to let politicians near saved money,, they will waste it as they always do

1st February 2024 at 7:56 am
Alice B

We pay more than enough taxes to fund the things that government should be funding. This is money from employees and employers, they should be the first to realize gains from the growth in the fund, either by cutting premiums or increasing benefits.

1st February 2024 at 7:39 am

No. We cannot go the same route as what we have seen happen in the US, and now there is no more money for Social Security in that country. If we let the government do this once the CPP funds will be revisited often and drained. The federal government is receiving enough money through taxes to pay for everything…we only need a government in place that understands common sense fiscal responsibility.

1st February 2024 at 7:19 am
Sheri Gee

I don’t trust the government with it at all. Give it back to the people who paid in to it. We are suffering now and so now would be the time to get some back to us.

1st February 2024 at 8:15 am
Ian MacRae

If you’re in receipt of CPP, you already are receiving your contributions in return.

1st February 2024 at 2:24 pm
Ian Schell

This is truly a great news story. I was approaching retirement age when news that CPP was in financial trouble.
I would like to point out that another source of income is employer contributions.
I would support slightly reducing both employer and employee contributions and slightly increasing payouts. I believe these amounts should be reviewed yearly and adjusted accordingly.
Although other departments of the government have financial problems, I vehemently oppose transferring CPP money to them as I don’t trust the existing government to handle the money wisely.

1st February 2024 at 8:09 am
Ian MacRae

CPP is audited annually to monitor its ability to meet its benefit commitments. A surplus has been maintained since 2003 when employee contribution rates rose to 9.9% of YMPE (Yearly Maximum Pensionable Earnings – currently $68,500 for 2024). Employer contributions are currently 1.8 times the employee contribution.

There’s no golden goose to pluck.

1st February 2024 at 2:22 pm


1st February 2024 at 7:26 am
Kim Morton

This sounds remarkably like a bunch of politicians looking for a new revenue stream to finance their irresponsible spending plans.
There are two major changes that must be made in view of this “surplus “ cash. First, CPP must be raised to at least EI rates for pensioners.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, pensions must become tax free. After all, it is our money that we and our employers were forced to donate for 50+ years with not a single interest payment. Currently, the CPP payout is significantly less than what one could be expected to make if that money had been invested privately into a RRSP account.
Keep politicians hands off our money.

1st February 2024 at 8:57 am
Ian MacRae

You got your tax break when you contributed. Making the benefits non-taxable would be a double benefit, one not earned.

Its recent investment returns are 3.1% for the year of 2020 (sadly the most current figure), 7.7% average 5 year return and 9.9% average 10 year return. Can your personal investments match those figures? Probably not.

1st February 2024 at 2:33 pm
Bob S Kwapis

I would say that the CPP payments and the pool of workers contributions should be paid back to us pensioners. We are the ones that paid into it, we need a decent increase to combat the inflation that the Liberals have created, I would not trust this government to spend anything as we will have nothing to show for it

1st February 2024 at 8:26 am
Ian MacRae

If you’re in receipt of CPP, you already are receiving your contributions in return.

1st February 2024 at 2:24 pm
Geoff Schaeffer

It should and can only be used for 2 things: to reduce premiums, or to increase benefits. Or some combination of both. It should absolutely not be used as an ‘investment’ in other things like transit, schools etc. First of all, governments have a horrendous record of ‘investing’ taxpayer money. Secondly, and more importantly, diverting CPP funds in this way would be tantamount to theft…this is a pension plan paid for directly by the contributions of workers and employers. It is NOT general revenues to be diverted by a government-of-the-day to its own priorities and projects.

1st February 2024 at 11:44 am
Arlene Erfle

Under no circumstances should the current government be allowed near this fund…

1st February 2024 at 10:37 am
A. Chezzi

Keep it out of the hands of politicians! They will misuse it on ill begotten plans leaving Canadians in the lurch. Increase the pensions of seniors who are struggling. That is what is is for.

1st February 2024 at 8:19 am

The Federal Government did not contribute to the fund they have an arms length company invest taxpayer and employers federal mandated contributions. They do administer the fund and provide a paltry return to all Canadians who pay into it.

With all the taxes this current government collects, there shouldn’t be any need for them to touch any funds within the CPP. Further more legislation should be put in place to keep any opportunity from government to utilize any money within CPP.

1st February 2024 at 8:18 am
Ian MacRae

CPPIB is an arms-length body that invests our contributions and pays our benefits. The Federal Government has nothing to do with the Board.

Its recent investment returns are 3.1% for the year of 2020 (sadly the most current figure), 7.7% average 5 year return and 9.9% average 10 year return. Can your personal investments match those figures? Probably not.

1st February 2024 at 2:31 pm

We’ve paid into this all our lives, this should be a tax free benefit…

1st February 2024 at 11:28 am
Mark Meikle

First and foremost, I DO NOT TRUST the Federal Canadian Government. Having said that, they IN NO WAY, should be anywhere near, or have kind of say what so ever, as to what should or shouldn’t be done with the CPP surplus. They are supposed to answer to us, the people of Canada. Not the other way around.
Speaking as a senior, I have worked and paid into the CPP for over 50 years. Prisoners, new Canadians and welfare recipients receive more money to live on than the seniors of Canada receive. In my opinion, employees and employers should have their contribution lowered and the CPP pension and the Old Age Security (OAS) should be increased to at least meet the cost of living which has been grossly mismanaged by Federal Canadian governments especially of today, as well as those of the past. What is a fair percentage of $200 billion dollars? Governments have no problem increasing their salaries. Why are seniors and the middle class always taken advantage of? Is it a coincidence this surplus announcement comes with an federal election on the horizon?

1st February 2024 at 10:43 am

Don’t touch the CPP. Efforts to pull “surplus” will destroy the fund and all its investment strategies. Conrad Black tried it some time ago. Ruined the pension plan. There will be times when the markets don’t perform as well. Then the “surplus” won’t be there and those who advocated for stealing the “surplus” will stand by and let the fund fail. All for the good of “individual responsibility” – What utter rot. Leave the fund alone.

1st February 2024 at 10:18 am

This is money generated by pension contributions. This money is NOT social security driven benefits, nor is it tax revenue. This is money belonging to the people who contributed to the PENSION plan. A combination of pension increases as well as a reduction in contributions is needed. The Federal Government should have no say in it’s use outside of the pension focus, period.

1st February 2024 at 7:47 pm
Tom Mackie

Leave CPP funds alone!
That belongs to the people that contributed. It’s a pension fund, not a rainy days fund for a government determined to spend us into a debt hole it may take generations to dig out of.

As with most pension funds, if excess exists, increase the pay out to pensioners. With all the increases in pat to government politicians, living wage, increased minimum wage, and city’s raising taxes in the 20% range, and many award of teachers pushing for a COLA clause.. but, nobody thinks about CPP RECIPIENTS.
If an MP thinks they deserve 10% increase, CPP should be linked to it so it’s automatic, not expecting pensioners to beg for a fraction of it, 1% here or there

1st February 2024 at 11:46 am
Fred Prudat

Do not let our Federal Government near it. It is not theirs. Increase our monthly benefits so us pensioners have a chance to survive with this high inflation.

1st February 2024 at 11:27 am
Ian MacRae

CPPIB is an arms-length body that invests our contributions and pays our benefits. The Federal Government has nothing to do with the Board.

1st February 2024 at 2:37 pm
lawrence pettet

Once outside interests touch the funds of our Canada pension fund, there is no stopping. Leave it alone. I like the security it allows future generations to still have access. Why not increase pension payouts with the surplus?

1st February 2024 at 10:23 am
Lisa Finlay

Keep the money in the plan. Possibly increase monthly payments to seniors if sustainable.

1st February 2024 at 9:58 am
Mino Vivaldi

Absolutely not this is a trust and the trust is doing better leave it because you never know what’s happening in the future and in particular when it comes to health it looks like longevity is coming for many people way beyond what is in the current plan

1st February 2024 at 8:48 am
Ian MacRae

Some years ago, the feds cancelled a requirement that pension funds could not maintain a surplus of more than 10% of the fund value. Previously they wanted to avoid company pension funds being used for tax avoidance (pension contribution are non taxable). They dropped the limit when Investment returns sank, putting many plans (Teachers, HOOP) into deficit.

Using pension funds for non-pension spending is a guarantee that, in a couple of decades, pension contributions will have to be dramatically increased or benefits reduced |(again, see Teachers & HOOP in the 90s).

The creation of CPPIB ensured spendthrift politicians can’t waste our retirement savings. Lets monitor QPP’s infrastructure spending for a decade before we see 1) how investment returns compare to CPP and 2) how Quebec benefits compare to TROC.

1st February 2024 at 2:11 pm
John Trainor

Good god…..with trudeau and his corrupt crew around?…….more 30 billion dollar handouts in Quebec and Ontario while the screws get turned up in the west…..leave the damn pension alone.

1st February 2024 at 1:10 pm
Earl Chinchilla

Cut cut cut…Lie lie lie. Rinse Repeat…Attack the poorest and attack Lzbour…its what he will do all the while chewing on an apple.

1st February 2024 at 11:30 am
Dan Gullett

Is the cash all in the account ??
I am fearfull that the Liberal governance of Canada may have already had their hand in the account.
If there is any need to debit the account then CANADA would have to review the needs of Canadian,s
that qualify ( paid into ) as possibly some Canadian,s could use an increase monthly due to out of control
Canadian economy

1st February 2024 at 11:24 am
Ian MacRae

CPPIB is an arms-length body that invests our contributions and pays our benefits. The Federal Government has nothing to do with the Board.

1st February 2024 at 2:37 pm

If anyone really believes the Trudo govt has not already grifted from the plan I suggest those people believe in unicorns.

1st February 2024 at 10:58 am
Ian MacRae

CPPIB is an arms-length body that invests our contributions and pays our benefits. The Federal Government has nothing to do with the Board.

1st February 2024 at 2:38 pm
P. Lang

Conservatives preach fiscal restraint – for others, of course, not for themselves. Retiring seniors are transitioning into the start of the baby boomer bubble, arguably one of the most prosperous demographics in history. This demographic spans a period when the average house size increased by 40%, most had at least two vehicles, and many had all the toys the market could create (cottages, boats, snowmobiles, ATVs, RVs, etc.). All while the family size decreased by at least 50%. Depression-era pre-boomers lived within their means, saved for retirement, and did not sit there with their hands out. The time for baby boomer seniors to save for retirement is quickly fading – but they lived through high and low inflation cycles, none of this should be a surprise. But, here we are, with people demanding everything from the government that they want to also see shrink. Kind of ironic and hypocritical. Hopefully, the next generation will be more financially responsible, they will save more, and they will see that it is economic suicide to purchase a home with a barely manageable mortgage during low-interest cycles because interest rates inevitably go up.

We currently have record declining birth rates that are currently causing a demographic bottleneck. There will not be enough tax-paying employees to pay for the retiring people ahead of them, they will need this surplus to cover the gaps. We also have a demographic drop behind the even larger baby boomer demographic that will be unable to carry that burden. None of the provinces are prepared for the personal care/retirement home needs of the baby boomer demographic tsunami that is about to flood the system with record numbers of dementia patients. We are going to need all the surpluses we have to cover retirement and health care challenges, and if we don’t recognize and increase funding to this issue now, there will be a great deal of suffering.

1st February 2024 at 10:26 am
Ian MacRae

You are absolutely correct that future pensioners (including my children & grandchild) will need current surpluses to avoid contribution rates skyrocketing. This is the one intergenerational “gift” we Boomers can pass along to our kids.

1st February 2024 at 2:40 pm
Gary Oxenforth

For gods sake don’t let the politicians near the CPP fund.How about an increase for the seniors who paid into the fund all of their working life.

1st February 2024 at 10:17 am

M. Poilievre Would most likely govern in a competent and civil way.

1st February 2024 at 9:47 pm

I have always believed that the CPP could provide a much better pension than what it has been paying out.
It is our money and I would rather see a surplus paid out to eligible pensioners than to have it sitting and growing too large. It is also too tempting for the government to use it like a private slush fund; as mentioned, it belongs to the contributors!

1st February 2024 at 9:31 pm
Paul Pendrith

The pension funds should be used to increase existing pensions and nothing else. Every dime in the fund was donated by Canadians and it’s for their pensions and nothing else.
The Liberals probably want to spend our pension money on some “green” money pit or give it to some foreign country to enrich corrupt politicians (foreign and domestic)

1st February 2024 at 5:54 pm
Bette Laughy

Hands off the fund. It has more than enough “at the present rates” but more retirees are coming and payouts should increase to cover inflation at a minimum. Leave it alone.

1st February 2024 at 3:47 pm

If CPP funds are to be used, it is to go to the people who contributed to that fund.
With the rising cost of everything, higher monthly payouts to seniors would be most appropriate.


1st February 2024 at 2:02 pm
Daniel Lambert

The money belongs to the people who have paid into it. Our pension money should never be given to politicians who will squander it. If there is a surplus, it should be divided equally and given to the pensioners who have contributed into the fund. So many pensioners are barely getting by. Time to increase the monthly payment to reflect the cost of living

1st February 2024 at 12:20 pm
Earl Chinchila

Thus us the problem with Conservatism. CPP is not your money….Harper attacked OAS last time the Cons were in office…it seems you’re all up to your old tricks. One term wonders?

1st February 2024 at 11:24 am
Rob McC

Yes, I don’t support increasing the age of eligibility for OAS, but I do believe the clawback threshold is far too high. As OAS comes out of general tax revenues, current worker incomes taxes shouldn’t be directed to send money to well-to-do retirees (like myself) with incomes north of $90k / year (especially since the ratio of workers to retirees in so much lower (and still falling) than in the past).

1st February 2024 at 9:57 pm
Dennis Piva

One downside of the CPP is that there is no guaranteed minimum payout other than the $2,500 death benefits. Most workplace pensions have a provision that allows for a minimum of 10 years of pension benefits to be paid to your estate or your designated beneficiary. If you are married and both you and your spouse have full CPP pensions, if you die, your spouse will not receive the survivor benefit because they already get full CPP. If there is a surplus in the fund, CPP should be enhanced to provide a minimum of 10 years of pension benefits in these cases.

1st February 2024 at 11:01 am
A Gen Z Subscriber

The fact that the CPP can adequately fund liabilities until 2090 AND have $300B+ in excess capital is a good news story. I believe the CPP saves many Canadians who don’t adequately save for retirement and while it is a small amount, it is still a forced savings mechanism and a minimum safety net.

However, the CPP’s singular objective is “to maximize investment returns without taking undue risk”. In the midst of economic stagnation, limited business investment, a gargantuan gap in risk capital for entrepreneurs that prevents us from building multi-billion dollar companies, a $100B+ gap in private capital to build housing, etc., I question whether we’ll have a vibrant enough economy for those 2090 pensioners to inhabit.

My contention – we should be taking some portion of EXCESS RETURNS and investing (not giving away) in productive investments that will generate social, economic, and environmental benefits for Canadians rather than endlessly investing in toll bridges in South America and Chinese private equity. Will it earn lower returns? Yes. Can it create extraordinary benefit? Yes.

The CPP and other Canadian pension funds are proud that they don’t have a home bias, meaning they don’t invest anymore in Canada than Canada’s share of global GDP. As a Canadian, that’s not something I’m proud of…

The Hub has made it abundantly clear that we urgently need to make investments that improve productivity in the Canadian economy and right now, government is spending and investing to make that happen while giving the pension sector and private capital a pass. I think it’s time we had a public conversation about it

1st February 2024 at 10:38 am
Karen Foster

Increase the amount seniors are getting because of inflation. NOT anywhere else.

1st February 2024 at 10:28 am
Lloyd Posno

I can’t believe the reluctance of some to save or invest today for tomorrow. CPP is a significant element in most Canadians’ retirement plans. I just read this week an article stating that a high number of Canadian’s do not have enough for retirement.
Mark has completely ignored the growth in actuarial liabilities in the time period he quotes nor has he reflected the impact of unusual investment returns and increased inflation on those estimates.
If there is a surplus, its not measured by unexpected growth in assets but by the excess of either current assets over present valued liabilities.
If such a surplus exists, then before adjusting benefits or premiums, the reasons and sustainability of such surplus needs to be assessed. If it is sustainable then you might look at alternatives such as current or future benefits and lastly premiums.
If there is such a surplus, I would look first at how many middle to low income Cdns need more future retirement and look to benefits before the other suggestions.

1st February 2024 at 10:28 am
Paul H

Give the money back to Canadians. Let individual Canadians decide how to use and or invest their own dollars. I tired of the Government taking my hard earned dollars and giving it to others.

1st February 2024 at 10:06 am
Ian MacRae

CPPIB is an arms-length body that invests our contributions and pays our benefits. The Federal Government has nothing to do with the Board.

1st February 2024 at 2:41 pm
Paul Attics

Are you also tired of the government taking other peoples’ money and giving it to you?

Sure, the balance of taxation should always be on the table but very few in our society are just givers and not also takers. And yes, the government should be effective stewards of the taxpayer and be punished if they don’t (ex. ArriveCAN app). And yes, the incentive structures should reward ongoing contribution by all citizens and discourage do-nothings.

Regardless, even the lucky few citizens that are just givers greatly benefit from living in our historically prosperous, just, and safe society.

1st February 2024 at 10:52 am
Mike Gilles

Increase our payments 20% would be a great help

1st February 2024 at 10:01 am
Boyd Swain

As an employee making an average Canadian income it never fails to annoy me to see how much CPP $ I have to contribute, knowing that the payout after retirement wouldn’t feed a cat. With inflation raging it seems obvious that a major bump in payments to seniors is in order. With baby boomers flooding this category perhaps this idea will gain some traction politically. Especially as the majority do not have company or government pensions anymore.

1st February 2024 at 9:56 am
Paul M. Cook

I think that the CPP deduction percentage should be reduced as well as increasing pensions.This would benefit almost everyone.

1st February 2024 at 9:53 am
Annette T

Why not offer the option for Canadians who paid into the plan to have it returned to them tax free at their discretion. Allow us to invest this money as we see fit – also tax free.

1st February 2024 at 9:30 am
Ian MacRae

There is provincial legislation (its their jurisdiction) to prevent returning future benefits as current lump sums. Ontario’s law dates from 1989. This is to prevent current employees wasting their future income. When that money is gone, those ex-pensioners will ask their governments for help. That will cost a lot more than current CPP contributions, and no employer match.

1st February 2024 at 2:45 pm
George Hinchliffe

When it comes to so called harm reduction and safer supply there is no science just blind fanatical ideology by its supporters. We have more than enough evidence after a year of decrimialization in BC that these policies are a complete disaster yet they refuse to admit it. Real objective Science died during Covid.

1st February 2024 at 9:04 am
Les Herle

Never use it for anything else. Raise the payout. we are taxed enough to fund all gov. needs. It is time the Government understands fiscal responsibility. Increase the payout for the seniors that are struggling.

1st February 2024 at 8:58 am
Clare Bonnell

an interesting suggestion since the fund is far bigger than needed for the population now and future. More concerning is that many of the investments are in fossil fuels. Divestment from the sector over time would be a great contribution to reducing the increasingly frightening consequences of the changes in the climate on our land and lives

1st February 2024 at 7:26 am
Bernie Ullmann

In a democracy the people say what to do with the cpp ,not the goverment

2nd February 2024 at 12:26 am
Sara Welland

There should be a split between reducing premiums and increasing benefits. 60 to 70% reducing premiums and 30 to 40% increasing benefits.

1st February 2024 at 9:39 pm

Decrease CPP premiums. They are robbing the working poor.
These premiums are a saving account, therefore, if our investments are making interest and dividends it should be shared by the people that has give us back our deserved returns.
It should not be used for anything else but to give a decent return on our investment.

1st February 2024 at 9:38 pm
Rob McC

I think it should be left to grow. But if we’re going to dip into it, I’d argue we should reduce contributions from current workers (but not their employers). As it is they’re stuck supporting more retired seniors (GIS, OAS) than previous generations, and – especially those in their 20s-30s – are struggling to afford to buy a home.

1st February 2024 at 9:32 pm
Rob McC

btw .. I am a retiree.

1st February 2024 at 9:35 pm

Given the debt servicing costs after 8 years of Trudeau is $80B, this is not a lot of money

1st February 2024 at 9:28 pm
Richard Courtemanche

One would be a fool to release spending money in the hands of present bandits.

1st February 2024 at 12:16 pm
Sandy Reizinger

Yes you should spend it on seniors who need it! That’s what it’s for, not for politicians to blow on stupidity.
With the ridiculous increase in everyday expenses I think any senior should receive the minimum of $35,000 a year, and if they are renting a place, they should be compensated $1,000 a month

1st February 2024 at 10:17 am