How much pension money is Bob Rae walking away with?

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

We might want to start calling Bob Rae the 2.8 million dollar man.

That's how much money the outgoing MP for Toronto Centre has earned and will earn from taxpayer-funded pensions schemes.

On Wednesday, an emotional Rae — the former interim leader of the federal Liberals and former Ontario premier — announced that he would resign from Parliament to take on the role of chief negotiator for First Nations groups in northern Ontario.

[ Related: Former Liberal leader Bob Rae to resign from House of Commons ]

"This is not about money, this is about time," Rae told reporters. "I'm not being paid for my work in the North."

Maybe it's "not about money" because Rae doesn't need it — thank you very much.

Federally, according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Rae, 64, is immediately 'entitled to an annual federal pension of $55,819.

"Because it is guaranteed to rise with inflation," the CTF notes, "he can expect to collect a hefty $1,797,048 lifetime if he lives until age 90 (the average lifespan of members of the MP pension plan)."

Current rules deem MPs who serve 6 years of service in Parliament eligible to draw a pension at age 55. Rae would have contributed approximately $11,000 into his pension fund, in each of his 9 years in Parliament.

Unfortunately, new rules — unveiled in the Conservatives' Jobs and Growth Act last fall — don't come into affect until after the next election. The new legislation changes the age to collect to 65 and requires MPs to pay a 50-50 cost-sharing ratio.

[ Related: ‘Gold-plated’ MP pensions finally get clawed back in new omnibus legislation ]

Provincially, as explained in a 2012 article by CNews, Rae earned a lucrative windfall in 1996 when then Ontario Premier Mike Harris phased out gold-plated MPP pensions.

To appease existing MPPs, the Tory premier replaced the retirement benefit with a with a RRSP. Rae cashed out — or cashed in — with just over $1 million after 14 years at Queen's Park.

So between his federal pension and provincial pension, Bob Rae is up approximately $2.8 million.

It's nice work if you can get it.

(Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press)

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