Canadian News Jun 23, 2021 4:39 PM EST

Pensions for five former Governors General cost more than $18 million, says Canadian Taxpayers Federation

The CTF estimates that the five living former Governors General will receive more than $18 million if they continue to collect their pensions to age 90.

Pensions for five former Governors General cost more than $18 million, says Canadian Taxpayers Federation
Alex Anas Ahmed Calgary, AB

The Taxpayers Federation is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to rein in the Governor General pension plan before a new appointment is made.

“These platinum-plated pensions would be unthinkable for most Canadians,” said Franco Terrazzano, Federal Director for the CTF. “Trudeau needs to rein in these perks, and the best time to do that is before a new Governor General is picked.”

The CTF estimates that the five living former Governors General will receive more than $18 million if they continue to collect their pensions to age 90. The estimates are based on the annual Governor-General pension amounts published in the public accounts since 2000-01 and assume the 2019-20 pension payment of $149,484 for future years.

Former Governors General are eligible for the full pension regardless of how long they serve in the role. Julie Payette only served for a little more than three years but will still receive an estimated $4.8 million if she collects the Governor General pension to age 90.

Alongside Payette, Edward Schreyer, Adrienne Clarkson, Michaëlle Jean, and David Johnston collect $3.4 million, $3.2 million, $5.4 million, and $1.9 million from their pensions respectively.

Terrazzano said a workplace pension plan does not cover the vast majority of Canadians working outside of government.

On June 10, it was reported that Trudeau would receive a shortlist of Governor General candidates within the “next few days.” The CTF is calling on Trudeau to rein in these pension costs before selecting a new Governor-General.

"On top of the platinum pension, the Governor General receives a huge salary while in office and gets to expense taxpayers for more than $200,000 every year after they retire. Who else gets perks like this?" said Terrazzano. "Taxpayers have every right to be mad when they hear about these perks, especially after so many Canadians have been struggling through pay cuts, job and business losses.

The Governor General can expense taxpayers $206,040 per year for the rest of their lives and up to six months after their death. The Governor General’s annual salary is $302,114, according to the 2019-20 public accounts of Canada.

"These perks would be outrageous even if the government had a bunch of money, but it doesn't, the feds are broke," said Terrazzano. "If the feds aren't willing to find savings here, then where will they find savings?"

He contends that perks need to be reined in, especially when a Governor General resigns in disgrace and still pockets millions of dollars for their pension.

“Families and businesses have been tightening our belts, and we expect the government to start making its perks fairer for taxpayers," said Terrazzano.

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