Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour and privilege to speak to Bill C-26, which I agree is one of the most important bills of this government, not just for the people of my generation but also for the next generation.
There are 11 million working Canadians without a workplace pension plan. As well, if we talk to people in the food banks today, they will report that a lot of working families are availing the help of the food banks.
When we combine the fact that 11 million working Canadians are without a workplace pension plan and a lot of working families are going to food banks for help, we know that when these families retire, they will retire in poverty.
We already have a lot of issues with the growing number of seniors. Just to give one example, in eastern Ontario, 2.5% of the patients account for close to 35% of the total hospital expenses. In this 2.5% of patients, close to 50% of them are seniors. The issues related to seniors are already costing us a lot. We have to take adequate steps so the seniors of the future years are well covered.
This bill, an act to amend Canada pension plan, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act, and the Income Tax Act, as I mentioned earlier, is the most important thing. Let us summarize what the bill would do.
The bill proposes to amend the Canada pension plan to increase the amount of the retirement pension as well as survivors and disability pensions and the post-retirement benefit, subject to the amount of additional contributions made and the number of years for which those contributions are made; increase the maximum level of pensionable earnings by 14% as of 2025; provide for the making of additional contributions beginning in 2019; provide for the creation of additional Canada pension plan accounts and the accounting of funds in relation to it; and, finally, include the additional contributions and increased benefits in the financial review provisions of the act, and authorize the Governor in Council to make regulations in relation to those provisions.
I know this on its own cannot operate and deliver the results, so there are other related acts that need to be amended. Therefore, part 2 of the bill seeks amendments to the Income Tax Act to increase the working income tax benefit and to provide a deduction for additional employee contributions.
The first part of the act also proposes to amend addition Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act to provide for the transfer of funds between the Investment Board and the additional Canada pension plan account, and to provide for the interpretation of financial statements in relation to amounts managed by the Investment Board in relation to the additional contributions and increased benefits.
As I mentioned earlier, middle-class Canadians are working harder than ever, but many are worried they will not have enough money for their retirement. A lot of working Canadians have no workplace pension plan. Each year, fewer and fewer Canadians have workplace pension plans on which to fall back. For this reason, we made a commitment to Canadians to strengthen the Canada pension plan to help them achieve their goal of a strong, secure and stable retirement.
Earlier this year, Canada's Minister of Finance released a historic agreement to make meaningful changes to the CPP, an example of federalism at its best.
The more than one quarter of Canadian families nearing retirement, about 1.1 million families, who are facing a drop in their standard of living will be able to retire in dignity as a result of this enhancement. This deal will boost how much Canadians will get from their pensions, from one quarter of their earnings now to nearly one third, which in my opinion is quite significant and is a necessary change we need to address.
To make sure these changes are affordable, we will phase them in slowly over seven years, from 2019 to 2025, so the impact is small and gradual. Every Canadian deserves a secure and dignified retirement after a lifetime of hard work. Through this announcement, we have taken a powerful step to help make that happen.
There are certain facilities that are available to plan for retirement. One is the RRSP account, which is available to every Canadian. We note that there is a huge gap. A lot of Canadians are eligible to make contributions to those accounts but are unable to make contributions because of the cost of living.
One of the ideas a friend from the opposite side of the House pointed to is financial literacy. While I agree that financial literacy is an important component in achieving this result, we also need reasonable, tangible ways and means to make this possible.
To conclude, I repeat, there are 11 million working Canadians without a workplace pension plan. A lot of food banks are seeing working Canadians. Keeping that in mind, I think we should all support Bill C-26.