Eighty-nine percent of Canadians plan to rely on the Canada Pension Plan/Quebec Pension Plan (CPP/QPP) to cover costs during their golden years, according to a BMO Financial Group study.

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Further, almost one-third (31%) reported they expect to rely “heavily” on the CPP/QPP, despite the fact that the average monthly CPP payout is less than $600.

“Given the amount that the CPP or QPP pays out, Canadians should not rely on them as a primary source of income to fund their retirement,” says Chris Buttigieg, senior manager, Wealth Planning Strategy, BMO Financial Group. “Rather, they should consider the CPP and QPP to be a supplementary component of their overall retirement income solution and focus on…contributing to an RRSP on a regular basis.”

He adds the landscape is changing for those with workplace pensions. “Not only are there fewer of us covered by [these] pensions, but there’s also a shift happening from defined benefit plans — which specify the fixed pension amount an employee will receive upon retirement — to a defined contribution model where retirement income depends on how much is saved and how the contributions are invested. In a defined contribution plan, there’s no guarantee of the amount….”


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The study also identified the sources of income Canadians plan to use to fund their retirement outside of the CPP/QPP:

  • Personal savings such as RRSPs, TFSAs, etc. (88%)
  • Part-time job (59%)
  • Sale of home/property (49%)
  • Inheritance (40%)
  • Hoping to win the lottery (34%, including 14% relying “heavily”)
  • Support from family/children (28%)

Regional Breakdown:

Region % who are relying on the CPP/QPP to fund their retirement % who are relying on their personal savings to fund their retirement % who are relying on winning the lottery to fund their retirement
National 89 88 34
Atlantic 84 81 32
Quebec 94 85 36
Ontario 87 89 33
Prairies 88 95 29
Alberta 92 92 32
B.C. 86 92 41