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The Conference for Advanced Life Underwriting (CALU) stands as a leading voice in advocating for the interests of financial advisors and insurance professionals across Canada.

Comprised of seasoned experts and industry leaders, CALU is dedicated to fostering excellence in advanced life underwriting and providing invaluable insights into the complexities of the financial landscape.
With a focus on promoting innovation, professionalism, and integrity within the industry, CALU continuously seeks to enhance the well-being of both its members and the clients they serve.
CALU presents a series of recommendations to Finance Canada aimed at addressing critical issues and advancing the interests of Canadians nationwide. These recommendations are meticulously crafted based on extensive research and consultation.
In addition, offers pragmatic solutions to navigate challenges and unlock opportunities for sustainable economic growth and prosperity.
Through collaboration and engagement with stakeholders, CALU strives to shape policies that foster a robust and resilient financial ecosystem, ultimately benefiting individuals, businesses, and communities across Canada.

Supporting Small Business Succession

Urge the swift enactment of legislation, such as the proposed amendments in Bill C-59, which address section 84.1 of the Income Tax Act. This will facilitate the smooth transition of small businesses to family members. Ensuring this legislation passes promptly in early 2024, provides vital support to small businesses, respecting their role in our economy.

Sustaining Self-Employment

It’s crucial to monitor and address the decline in self-employment rates among Canadians. Self-employment serves as a vital driver of economic growth and employment. Any necessary measures should be taken to ensure this sector continues to thrive, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in our country.

Enhancing Retirement Savings

  • Indexing Unused RRSP Contribution Room: Propose annually indexing unused RRSP contribution room. This adjustment helps individuals compensate for deferred contributions, allowing for financial flexibility while maintaining long-term savings goals.
  • Extending RRSP Contributions Past Age 71: In conjunction with changes to RRIF rules, recommend permitting RRSP contributions beyond age 71. This flexibility empowers individuals to continue saving for retirement according to their unique circumstances.
  • Modifying RRIF Payout Requirements: Adjusting the minimum payout formula can enable more funds to remain tax-sheltered within RRIFs over the holder’s lifetime.
  • Age-Based Exclusions: Similar to Advanced Life Deferred Annuities, allowing RRIF holders to exclude a portion of their funds from the minimum payment formula until age 85 can provide financial security in later years.
  • Deferred Conversion: Delaying the requirement to convert RRSPs to RRIFs until age 75 offers individuals greater flexibility in retirement planning.
  • Transparent RRIF Policies: Advocate for greater transparency in establishing RRIF minimum payment formulas. Regular reviews of these formulas ensure they effectively meet the income needs of retirees, providing clarity and confidence in retirement planning.

Promoting Dental Care Access for Employees

To support the well-being of employees in small businesses, CALU proposes a 35 percent refundable tax credit for dental care programs. This credit aims to alleviate the financial burden of dental care for employees, particularly those earning below specified income limits. By incentivizing dental care provision in small businesses, they enhance both employee welfare and business sustainability.

Investment in Infrastructure

Allocate substantial funds towards infrastructure development projects across the country. Upgrading roads, bridges, public transportation systems, and broadband networks not only stimulates economic activity but also enhances connectivity and accessibility for all Canadians.
  • Allocate significant funds towards infrastructure projects that stimulate job creation and economic activity.
  • Prioritize investments in renewable energy infrastructure to accelerate Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy.
  • Enhance connectivity in rural and remote areas through investments in broadband and transportation infrastructure.
  • Modernize public transit systems in urban centers to alleviate traffic congestion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Support for Small Businesses

  • Introduce tax breaks and incentives for small businesses to encourage entrepreneurship and job creation.
  • Simplify regulatory processes and reduce bureaucratic hurdles for small businesses.
  • Enhance access to affordable credit and financing options for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Invest in programs that provide mentorship and support services for aspiring entrepreneurs

Enhancing Canada's Retirement System

The challenge of affordability in Canada is not just a matter of today. However, it’s impacting the retirement savings of younger generations and the financial security of our seniors. This issue intertwines with broader economic, employment, and demographic trends, creating complex challenges for Canada’s retirement income system.
One major hurdle is the struggle many Canadians face in saving enough within their Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs). With competing financial priorities early in their careers, they often find it difficult to maximize their RRSP contributions. Consequently, they miss out on the tax advantages of investing within an RRSP, delaying their ability to build substantial retirement savings.
Another issue arises at age 71 when individuals are required to withdraw all funds from their RRSPs or convert them to Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs). This poses a problem for those who continue working beyond this age, as they lose the ability to make tax-deductible contributions to their RRSPs.
Furthermore, the mandatory withdrawals from RRIFs can strain the finances of retirees, especially when combined with taxes payable on these withdrawals and the loss of tax sheltering. This situation can even push some seniors into higher tax brackets, potentially impacting their eligibility for government benefits like the Guaranteed Income Supplement.
In response to these challenges, Finance Canada consulted stakeholders, including organizations like CALU, resulting in a report presented to Parliament in June 2023. While the report doesn’t provide specific recommendations, it offers valuable insights into how RRIF rules can better serve retirees’ needs.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Most RRSP holders wait until age 72 to convert to RRIFs, with over 60 percent withdrawing only the minimum.
  • Many RRIF holders earning between $50,000 – $100,000 also stick to minimum withdrawals.
  • The retirement age for Canadians has been rising, particularly among the self-employed, with more individuals working into their 70s.
  • Life expectancies are increasing, leading to more retirees living into their 90s.
Based on this report and feedback from members and clients, CALU proposes the following changes to RRSP and RRIF rules:


The federal government should:

  • Index unused RRSP contribution room annually to partially offset the loss of tax-deferred savings.
  • Allow RRSP contributions to continue past age 71, in conjunction with proposed RRIF rule changes.
  • Modify RRIF payout requirements to:
  • Reduce the minimum payout formula to preserve more funds tax-sheltered over a holder’s lifetime.
  • Allow RRIF holders to exclude a portion from the minimum payment formula until age 85, similar to Advanced Life Deferred Annuities.
  • Consider deferring the requirement to convert RRSPs to RRIFs until age 75.
  • Increase transparency in establishing RRIF minimum payment formulas and establish a regular review process to ensure they meet the needs of older retirees.
These recommendations aim to address the evolving needs of retirees and enhance the effectiveness of Canada’s retirement income system.

Enhanced Healthcare Funding

  • Increase healthcare funding to reduce wait times and improve access to essential medical services.
  • Invest in the modernization of healthcare infrastructure, including hospitals and medical facilities.
  • Expand mental health services and resources to address the growing demand for mental healthcare.
  • Enhance pandemic preparedness and response capabilities to mitigate the risks of future health crises.

Ensuring Fiscal Responsibility and Accountability

  • Implement measures to enhance fiscal transparency and accountability in government spending.
  • Conduct regular evaluations of existing programs and policies to assess their effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Develop a long-term fiscal plan that addresses structural deficits and ensures sustainable public finances.
  • Prioritize investments with high social and economic returns while maintaining fiscal discipline.

Renewing Funding for the Canada Arts and Culture Recovery Program

Canada’s arts, culture, and heritage sectors are facing a prolonged recovery period following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent data from the Department of Canadian Heritage reveals that only a small fraction of Canadians have visited museums since 2019, indicating a slower-than-anticipated recovery. This sluggish pace, coupled with rising living costs, poses significant risks to many organizations within the sector.
During the initial stages of the pandemic, studies conducted at provincial, national, and international levels warned that approximately one in eight cultural organizations were at risk of closure. However, swift action from the Government of Canada, including emergency recovery and resilience funding, prevented this dire scenario from unfolding.
Despite record investments in arts, culture, and heritage during the pandemic, 2023 witnessed a shift towards government austerity.

Key Points to Consider:

  • The arts, culture, and heritage sector in Canada is experiencing a slower-than-hoped recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Recent data indicates that only 1 in 10 Canadians have visited a museum since 2019.
  • Swift action from the Government of Canada prevented the closure of many cultural organizations during the pandemic.
  • Despite initial investments, austerity measures in 2023 have heightened risks for the sector.
  • Stagnant funding programs have failed to keep pace with rising costs of living, jeopardizing the sustainability of cultural institutions.
  • Renewing funding for the Canada Arts and Culture Recovery Program is essential to support the continued vibrancy of the sector.
Renewing funding for the Canada Arts and Culture Recovery Program is crucial. Moreover, it ensures the ongoing vibrancy and resilience of Canada’s arts, culture, and heritage sector.

Supporting Indigenous Communities and Reconciliation Efforts

  • Increase funding for Indigenous-led economic development initiatives and infrastructure projects.
  • Strengthen partnerships with Indigenous communities to ensure meaningful participation in decision-making processes.
  • Address socio-economic disparities through targeted investments in healthcare, education, and housing for Indigenous peoples.
  • Advance reconciliation efforts through land acknowledgments, cultural preservation initiatives, and truth and reconciliation measures.

Fostering International Trade and Economic Diplomacy

  • Pursue trade diversification strategies to reduce reliance on a few key trading partners.
  • Negotiate new trade agreements and strengthen existing ones to expand market access for Canadian exporters.
  • Support Canadian businesses in accessing global markets through export promotion programs and trade missions.
  • Advocate for rules-based international trade systems that uphold fair competition and respect for labor and environmental standards.
In summary, the recommendations presented herein offer a holistic approach to shaping the Budget 2024 priorities for the Department of Finance and the Federal Government of Canada.
By addressing key economic, social, and environmental challenges while promoting inclusive growth, sustainability, and resilience, we can build a brighter future for all Canadians.
As stakeholders in our nation’s future, let us work together to ensure that our voices are heard. The budget reflects the aspirations and needs of Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Together, we can build a brighter tomorrow for generations to come.