Stop paying government workers to retire early

Hidden "bridge benefit" perk amounts to an extra $8,000 per retiree annually.

TORONTO — The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is calling for an end to the bridge benefit perk incentive for government workers who retire early, a benefit that is costing up to $8,800 per retiree annually.

The association, which represents SMEs, observes when workers in the private sector choose to take CPP/QPP early, they receive a lower benefit for the rest of their lives. CFIB contends the bridge benefit ensures public sector workers receive their full CPP/QPP benefits even if they retire well before age 65.

“Government workers already enjoy much more generous pension benefits than most Canadians could dream of,” said Dan Kelly, CFIB president. “Asking taxpayers to give even more so government workers can get those rich benefits sooner is, frankly, completely unfair.”

CFIB reports the bridge benefit varies across public sector pension plans and can benefit a typical government worker $7,400 to $8,800 (based on 2015 data).

In 2010-2011, about 55,000 federal civil servants received the perk at a total cost of more than $385 million.

“With massive deficits ahead for most provinces and the federal government, making changes to this entitlement for the future could provide meaningful fiscal relief,” Kelly added.

The association calculates more than 80% of public sector retirees who left the workforce between 2007-2011 did so before age 65, compared to 60% of private sector retirees, and 47% of self-employed.

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