Pension in Canada: Policy Reform Because Women Matter

Women Elders in Action (WE*ACT)
Vancouver, BC
December 2004

We would like to thank Status of Women Canada and The 411 Senior Centre Society in Vancouver for their funding support for Women Elders in Action (WE*ACT) and the creation of this position paper. PENSIONS IN CANADA: POLICY REFORM BECAUSE WOMEN MATTER expresses the beliefs of its authors: Joanne Blake, Elsie Dean, Gerry Kilgannon, Alice West and Jan Westlund; WE*ACT and our network. It does not necessarily represent the opinions of Status of Women Canada; nor of The 411 Senior Centre Society Board, staff or members.

It also represents months of conversation, research, discussion, circulation and re-writes. This collaboration of authors and reviewers across the province enjoyed several months of intense focus on this paper but the work actually began several years ago. In 1999, Senior Summit, a province-wide gathering of seniors in Vancouver lead to a core group of women first coming together to form an Income and Poverty Working Group to learn about inequities in pensions for women and create the Vancouver Declaration of Older Women’s Rights. We formalized our existence as WE*ACT and eventually held a conference, Women and Pensions, to further educate ourselves and other women about these serious concerns. WE*ACT has spent several years tracking developments and exploring alternatives to the current retirement system in Canada.

We are grateful to Dr. Monica Townson, Economist; Professor Claire Young, Associate Dean of Law, University of British Columbia; and Charmaine Spencer, LLM and Lillian Zimmerman, Research Associates, Gerontology Research Centre, Simon Fraser University for their sharing of research and consultation during the paper’s development.

As well, we thank Jim Paterson of Paterson Pension Management Inc. (Vancouver) and many elder women around the province of British Columbia who commented on this paper’s various iterations.

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