Calgary Chamber outlines key considerations for Alberta Pension Plan proposal
September 29, 2023 – On behalf of the Calgary business community, we respect the Alberta government’s decision to table plans for consultations associated with establishing an Alberta Pension Plan, including a comprehensive review of the associated implications. However, we urge the government to consider several critical factors regarding the impact this decision would have on the economy, the business community and investor confidence prior to moving forward with any policy changes.
“The Alberta Pension Plan proposal is complex and has far-reaching implications for businesses and investors – in Alberta and across Canada,” says Deborah Yedlin, Calgary Chamber of Commerce President and CEO. “Dismantling existing systems and altering our pension system could compromise labour mobility from other provinces, the benefits of risk pooling that comes with a larger pension fund, and investor confidence. We urge the government to strongly consider - and prioritize - stability across all public policy decisions.”
The Government of Alberta has done tremendous work at attracting people to come to Alberta, including through the ‘Alberta is Calling’ campaign. With historic migration into the province in the last year – the majority of which are from other parts of Canada – it’s critical that we remove all impediments to labour mobility. Questions about the portability of the CPP to the APP would run counter to our talent attraction efforts, and while these questions may be resolved in due course, our labour shortage is urgent and we cannot afford to compromise our ability to attract talent to Alberta. Additionally, while we welcome newcomers to the province, in the context of an APP, it means liabilities increase without an associated rise in assets.
Historically, Alberta has benefitted from being part of CPP that is not only recognized as a leader for its governance structure, but also generates a very high rate of return on a global basis. By pooling capital with other provinces to create a large portfolio, investment risk and costs are minimized. The investment community suggests if Alberta does choose to withdraw from the CPP, lower returns should be anticipated, simply due to having a smaller total portfolio. This could mean higher premiums for Alberta businesses.
CPP is a major investor in several Canadian companies and attracts local and foreign capital as co-investors, thereby serving as a vehicle for investment in our local economy. Uncertainty for investors in the CPP – and potential APP – will jeopardize future investment. With capital more mobile than ever, and competitive economies worldwide, stability is a key component to ensure and maintain our competitive advantage.
Stability for businesses and consumers
Our economy hinges on businesses and consumers having certainty, and at the Calgary Chamber, we know that people doing well means businesses do well. Ensuring people have stable pensions – and have confidence in the stability of their pensions – is important to attract talent and capital to the province as well as support retirees who have paid into the plan throughout their working lives. There is no certainty Alberta will continue to benefit from having a young population, as it currently does – and we remain price takers for our natural resources, making future revenue streams uncertain. Quebec remains a cautionary tale, as Quebeckers now have the highest contribution rates in the country.
The Calgary Chamber will continue to engage with our business community and encourage the government to consult with businesses as policy is developed, recognizing the significant implications for our economy.
ABOUT THE CALGARY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The Calgary Chamber exists to help businesses reach their potential. As the convenor and catalyst for a vibrant, inclusive and prosperous business community, the Chamber works to build strength and resilience among its members and position Calgary as a magnet for talent, diversification and opportunity. As an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization founded in 1891, we build on our history to serve and advocate for businesses of all sizes, in all sectors across the city.