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April 9, 2014

Ottawa’s unfunded liabilities for employee pension plans rose to $272 billion in 2013, far larger than reported, according to a new C.D. Howe Institute study. In “Ottawa’s Hidden Deficit: The Widening Gap between Federal Government Pension Liabilities and Assets,” authors William B.P. Robson and Alex Laurin find the value of federal employee pension promises is much larger than shown on the books, and still growing. “Using an economically meaningful fair market value estimate, Ottawa’s unfunded liability at the end of the 2013 fiscal year was some $120 billion higher than reported,” said Robson. “Few taxpayers are aware of this burden or the risks they bear in backstopping these plans.”


Alexandre Laurin
Alexandre Laurin

Alexandre Laurin joined the C.D. Howe Institute in 2008 and became Director of Research in 2014.

From 1999 to 2008, Mr. Laurin worked for the Parliamentary Information and Research Service where he provided reports, analysis and policy advice to Members of the House of Commons and the Senate and to parliamentary committees on a non-partisan and confidential basis.

William B.P. Robson
William Robson

Bill Robson took office as CEO of the C.D. Howe Institute in July 2006, after serving as the Institute’s Senior Vice President since 2003 and Director of Research from 2000 to 2003. He has written more than 240 monographs, articles, chapters and books on such subjects as government budgets, pensions, healthcare financing, inflation and currency issues.