How do Albertans and Canadians feel about Alberta withdrawing from the Canada Pension Plan?
From September 28 to October 5, 2023 Abacus Data conducted a representative online survey of 1,985 Canadian adults that included an oversample of 500 in Alberta. The survey asked two questions about the Alberta government’s plan to withdraw Alberta from the Canada Pension Plan.
Two Worlds: Alberta and Canada
First, when asked how closely they are following news and information about the Alberta government’s plan to withdraw Alberta fro the Canada Pension Plan and establish a separate public pension plan for Alberta, almost half of Canadians (43%) said they hadn’t heard about it before being asked about it in the survey. Another 38% had heard about it but were not following it. Only 19% nationwide were following it fairly or very closely.
But in Alberta, the result, as expected, was very different. Overall, 90% are aware of the government’s plan to withdraw from the CPP and more than half are following it fairly or very closely. This is very much a live issue in Alberta but one that hasn’t yet taken hold in other parts of the country.
Is it a good or bad idea?
Nationally, among those aware of the plan to withdraw Alberta from the CPP, 44% of Canadians think it is a bad idea, 17% think it is a good idea, while another 17% think it is an ok idea. 22% don’t know.
In Alberta, 52% think it’s a bad idea while 19% think it’s a good idea. Another 15% say it’s ok with 14% unsure. Even if you combine those who think it’s a good idea and an ok idea, that only comes out to 34%.
Albertans are the most likely to think withdrawing from the CPP is a bad idea (52%) as do close to half of those living in BC, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada. Only in Quebec, where the province has had it’s own pension plan since 1966.
Demographically, those over 60 are most likely to think it’s a bad idea (59%) while only 1 in 4 Canadians under thirty, aware of the Alberta government’s plan, feel the same way.
Politically, at the federal level, a majority of Liberal and NDP supporters aware of Alberta’s plan think it’s a bad idea while Conservatives are split. 39% think it’s a bad idea, 22% think it’s good while 16% think it’s an ok idea.
In Alberta specifically, the same age dynamic exists. Older Albertans are far more likely to describe the plan as a bad idea than younger Albertans.
Politically, almost all Alberta NDP supporters think withdrawing from the CPP is a bad idea. Among UCP supporters, 30% think it’s a good idea, 22% think it’s an ok idea, and 29% think it’s a bad idea. UCP supporters are quite divided.
Also interestingly, those following the issues more closely are no more likely to think it’s a good idea than those who are only aware of it. Among those following very or fairly closely, 22% think it’s a good idea, 12% think it’s an ok idea and 55% think it’s a bad idea. Only 10% of this more engaged group are unsure.
According to Abacus Data CEO David Coletto: “This poll reveals a stark contrast in awareness and opinions between Albertans and the rest of Canada regarding Alberta’s plan to withdraw from the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). While Albertans are overwhelmingly aware of the proposal, with 90% having heard about it, the broader Canadian population seems to be largely uninformed, with 43% having no prior knowledge of the plan. This indicates that the issue is of significant regional interest in Alberta but has yet to gain widespread attention nationally.
Opinions on the matter, however, tend to lean negative in both Alberta and the broader Canadian population. Among those aware of the plan, 52% of Albertans view the withdrawal as a bad idea, a sentiment shared by 44% of Canadians nationwide. Interestingly, this skepticism is shared across various provinces, age groups, and political affiliations, with older populations, in particular, being more likely to oppose the move. In Alberta, political lines also highlight divisions with the UCP supporters being split on the issue, while Alberta NDP supporters largely disapprove of the withdrawal.
The demographic and political breakdowns underscore a generational divide, with younger Canadians and Albertans less likely to view the withdrawal as negatively as their older counterparts. The data also emphasizes the role of regional dynamics and the influence of political affiliations in shaping opinions on provincial matters. As Alberta’s government considers moving forward with its plan, the division within its own province, as well as the larger Canadian context, cannot be ignored. The Premier and those who support withdrawing Alberta from the CPP have their work cut out for them and the implications on federal politics haven’t yet been felt given so few Canadians outside of Alberta even know this is an idea being discussed.”
The survey was conducted with 1,985 Canadian adults from September 28 to October 5, 2023. A random sample of panelists were invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.
The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.2%, 19 times out of 20.
The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.
This survey was paid for by Abacus Data Inc.
Abacus Data follows the CRIC Public Opinion Research Standards and Disclosure Requirements that can be found here: https://canadianresearchinsightscouncil.ca/standards/