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January 2004
Vol. 5, no. 1

Perspectives on Labour and Income

A C/QPP Overview
Raj K. Chawla and Ted Wannell

  • In July 2003, over four million people received $1.9 billion in benefits. Retirement benefits accounted for 71% of CPP payouts, survivor benefits for 14%, and disability for 12%. The situation was similar for the QPP: 70% for retirement, 20% for survivor, and 9% for disability.
  • In 2001, 91% of elderly families received C/QPP benefits, averaging one-sixth of their total income.
  • In July 2003, the maximum retirement benefit was $801.25. The average, however, was much lower: $448.21 for the CPP and $370.99 for the QPP.
  • C/QPP benefits accounted for 16% of family income in 2001 compared with 10% in 1981, even as average income of recipient families grew by 17%.
  • In 1981, 42% of all recipient families would have fallen into low income if not for their C/QPP benefits. By 2001, this proportion reached 85%.
  • To support the fiscal viability of the plans, employee contribution rates increased from 1.8% of maximum pensionable earnings in 1986 to the 2003 level of 4.95%. Employers match these contributions, so total premiums equal 9.9% of maximum contributory earnings.

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Raj K. Chawla and Ted Wannell are with the Labour and Household Surveys Analysis Division. Raj Chawla can be reached at (613) 951-6901, Ted Wannell at (613) 951-3546, or both at

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