The Canadian retirement system is at a crossroads due to a convergence of forces, as people live longer, interest rates are low and equity markets are volatile, say the actuaries. Further, new types of pensions such as shared risk/jointly-sponsored and target benefit plans, and a shift by many private defined benefit plans to a defined contribution model, are changing what it means to have a pension.

The private plans should be reformed so that defined-benefit plans can be more sustainable, the actuaries add.

Canadians face a piecemeal and disjointed approach to pension plans, which, if unchanged, will lead to an unduly confusing and burdensome rearrangement of the Canadian pension system, and ultimately, an inefficient outcome, the actuaries say.

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