Canada Pension Plans online payments service is no longer in operation, as the Canadian government announced Friday it has shut down the payment processing system.
It’s not yet clear how many of the 2.8 million people who use the website will have their money refunded.
The decision comes as the country’s two largest public pension plans are preparing to merge in an effort to streamline payments to Canadians with high-deductible plans.
The government is trying to make the payments easier for people who might be struggling to keep up with monthly payments, but the decision also raises questions about whether the federal government will be able to make any changes to the CPP online system without compromising its ability to fund pensions for retirees.
CBC News has asked the federal and provincial governments to respond to the decision, but has not yet received a response.
In a statement, the Department of Finance said it’s still investigating the reasons for the shutdown, and that it will be working to find a solution.
“The Department of the Treasury is still assessing the impact of this decision on the CPG’s financial stability and the impact on its users,” the statement read.
“It is critical that the department’s actions do not impact the viability of the CPLs financial system.”
The decision to shut down payments comes amid an increasing number of pensioners facing financial stress.
The federal government announced last week that it was cancelling more than 2,200 pensioners’ pension benefits.
It is now paying out $4.3 billion to help those people with high deductibles, as well as another $1.6 billion in payments to retirees who have paid into the system for more than a decade.
But the government is still scrambling to find an answer for the millions of retirees who still rely on the online system.
As of this writing, CPP payment processors are still accepting payments from the new CPP electronic payment gateway.
CPP payments are made online and pay out at a fixed rate, as opposed to the traditional electronic payment systems.
The new system uses a computerized system that uses blockchain technology to verify payments and also uses smart contracts to manage payments.
CEP is the only public pension fund in Canada that operates an online system, and it has been using it since 2006.
The CPP said it will continue to operate its website in an offline mode until further notice, and its CEO, Michael McCallum, said in a news release Friday that CEP would work to “reinvent” the CPT system “to help provide Canadians with the same access and convenience they have now with the CPA.”
McCallums announcement comes less than a month after Canada Pension Board (CPB) Chief Executive Officer Jim Flaherty said in an interview that the CEP online payment system was not working well enough for the CPM to meet its needs.
Flaherty also said that the government had not been able to fix problems with the payment gateway or the payment system itself.
He also said it would take several years to make improvements to the system.
“There’s been a lot of uncertainty about the future of this platform, so I think we’re going to have to do a lot more work,” Flaherty told CBC News.
The Canadian Pension Plan Association, which represents CPP workers, also said the closure was a “tough pill to swallow” for some.
“I’m disappointed in the decision,” said CPP president and CEO Chris Sgro.
“Our members have had to put up with a lot less access to services and we’ve had to be more transparent about it.”
The CPA has said it has made improvements to make payments easier, but many of those have come after the closure.
The organization has launched a website that lets people make payment payments on the new system.
The group has also said more information is needed to help people make the transition.
“People who are working at home, people who are in the workforce, people on disability and those who are transitioning to new job environments are going to need to learn about this new system,” said Sgro in a phone interview Friday.
“If you’re a parent with a child who needs to pay child support, you can do it by phone, you don’t have to go into a branch.”