Canadians' confidence in retirement dwindles, CPPLC reports

Report sheds light on the challenges Canadians face in planning for retirement, impacting health, career decisions

Canadians' confidence in retirement dwindles, CPPLC reports

A recent report released by the Canadian Public Pension Leadership Council (CPPLC) reveals a decline in Canadians' confidence regarding their retirement prospects between 2016 and 2022. The CPPLC, a non-partisan group of senior public sector pension plan leaders, conducted a survey comparing Canadians' views on retirement with findings from a previous national survey in 2016. 

“We checked in with Canadians on their feelings about retirement. We see they are less confident about their finances than they were in 2016,” said CPPLC co-chair Derek Dobson.  

“Many worry they could run out of money during retirement. People have been through the COVID-19 pandemic and cost-of-living increases. The financial stress they are feeling affects workplaces and households throughout Canada.” 

The CPPLC commissioned Pollara Strategic Insights to conduct an online survey in September 2022, with 2,001 randomly selected participants representing diverse age groups, genders, and locations. The survey explored retirement expectations, comparing the results to the 2016 Ipsos Reid poll commissioned by CPPLC, which included similar questions. 

Survey results indicated that Canadians in 2022 were 15% less likely than in 2016 to express confidence in retiring on time.  

Respondents expected to work an average of six years longer than desired and were also 16% less likely to believe they could retire without debt. 

Furthermore, the report found that: 

  • Retirement stress affects various aspects of Canadians' lives, including personal health (28%), career decisions (23%), and choice of employers (23%). 

  • Women are 12% more likely than men to express concerns about running out of money in retirement. 

  • British Columbians and Ontarians are the least confident in maintaining their standard of living during retirement, possibly due to high rates of unaffordable housing in these provinces. 

  • Most Canadians (71%) believe that climate change will increase their daily living costs, causing worries about expenses. 

  • Approximately 1 in 5 Canadians without a workplace pension feel confident about retiring when they want and maintaining their standard of living. However, among Canadians with a workplace pension plan, this confidence improves to 1 in 3. 

The report provides insights for pension administrators, employers, and policymakers to better understand Canadians' retirement needs. It also offers recommendations for collective efforts to help Canadians achieve their retirement goals. 

“In Canada, 60% of people do not have a workplace pension plan. These results highlight a pressing need to expand retirement income coverage in Canada,” Dobson said.  

“We also recommend employers continue to invest in financial literacy programs for employees.”