Members in Action 2022 – Working to help save
defined benefit pension plans in employer bankruptcies
The following is an example of BC FORUM Members in Action. Many of you know Diane as our Past President, and as you can see she is still very engaged and fighting the good fight. !
Sent:·May 16, 2022 1:22 PM
To:·Julian, Peter - M.P. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject:·Support Bill C-228. 4.2M Canadians are counting on you.
Dear Peter Julian,
·Re: Bill C-228: An Act to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act and the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985. (Sponsored by Marilyn Gladu, MP, Sarnia-Lambton).
As your constituent, I am asking you to vote in support of Bill C-228 because it seeks to mitigate the risk of pension loss by putting pensioners closer to the front of the line when a company goes bankrupt.
This is an opportunity for Parliamentarians to leave partisanship behind and work together. Parliament supports pension protection. All three opposition parties have similar private members' bills before the House.
Pension loss is for life. Since 1982, over 250,000 Canadian seniors have had their pensions reduced for life when their former employer went bankrupt. Many were pushed into poverty because federal insolvency laws didn’t protect them.
Protect Canadian seniors in a fiscally responsible way. Pension protection is a concrete way to effect real change for seniors at no cost to taxpayers. If seniors receive the pension their employer committed to, they will be less likely to require taxpayer-funded support.
Pensions are deferred wages. Pensions are earned while working to be paid after retirement. Pensioners deserve 100% of the pension their former employer committed to, even in bankruptcy.
Companies can afford to fully fund their pension commitments. They choose to use cash for dividends, executive bonuses, and share buybacks because the current law allows it. Change the rules and companies will change their behaviour.
Why Does Pension Protection Matter?
There are no real protections for defined benefit pensioners when a company goes bankrupt and its pension is underfunded. Unlike creditors, pensioners cannot automatically negotiate their terms when assets are divided. They aren’t even allocated a seat at the table unless the court grants them one.
It doesn’t cost taxpayers anything to ensure seniors get the pensions they worked their whole lives for.
On behalf of the 4.2 million seniors who rely on defined benefit pensions, thank you for your support of C-228.
You can learn more at·pensioners.ca
From:·Julian, Peter - M.P.·<email@example.com>
Date: Mon, Jul 11, 2022 at 12:26 PM
Subject: RE: Support Bill C-228. 4.2M Canadians are counting on you.
To: Diane Wood
Thank you for writing to me·about pension protection and Bill C-228. I appreciate you sharing your concerns and opinions with me. My apologies for the delay in responding. Thank you for your patience in my response. hope that you and your family are healthy and staying safe as we come through the COVID-19 pandemic.·
The NDP has long been talking about ending pension theft and the need for better pension protection for workers. Large multinational corporations are using Canada’s inadequate bankruptcy laws to take money meant for workers’ pensions and divert it to pay off their secure creditors who are often their parent companies. This is organized theft. Pensions are deferred wages. Diverting, withholding, or seizing those funds should be illegal. Its about fairness for workers!·
That’s why we introduced Private Members Bills to address the issue: in 2015 Bill·C-384; in 2017 Bill·C-259; and most recently, in 2021 Daniel Blaikie’s Bill·C-225.·
The current pension bill before Parliament is MP Gladu’s·Bill C-228. Bill C-228 builds on the work of NDP and Bloc MPs in previous parliaments to secure better protection for workers’ pensions. We believe the strongest element of this bill is the establishment of the “super-priority” of pensioners’ claims in proceedings under the·Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act·(CCAA) and in bankruptcy court under the·Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act·(BIA). We fully support this aspect of the legislation.·
Bill C-228 had a second hour of debate in the House of Commons on June 15, 2022. With the support of all three opposition parties, thanks to the cross-partisan collaboration, the bill·to protect Canada's workers' pension plans during bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings·passed at Second reading and was referred to committee on June 22, 2022.·
While other elements of C-228 give us cause for concern we supported this legislation through second reading and will work with other parties to amend the bill at committee so that it properly institutes protection of workers’ pensions.·
The changes agreed upon include the deletion of sections 1.3, 8.1 and 8.2, changing the coming-into-force period from five years to three years and adding the following clause:
Subsection 136(1) of the Act is amended by adding the following after paragraph(d): (d.001) the amount of any termination or severance pay owed to a clerk, servant, travelling salesperson, labourer or worker by a bankrupt, less any amount previously paid by the trustee for that termination or severance pay.
For too long, people in Canada have not had the pension protection they deserve when their current or former employer goes bankrupt. New Democrats have always put workers first. We are now in a position to say not only that pensions will get the priority they deserve in bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, but that the termination and severance pay of workers will be protected too.·
Thank you again for writing to me. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns with me. Please don’t hesitate to be in touch with my office if you have any other concerns.·
As always, my team and I continue to serve the constituents of New Westminster-Burnaby with resources, questions and concerns regarding federal departments and agencies.·My team remains available by email or telephone : 604-775-5707·firstname.lastname@example.org. The Constituency Office hours for walk-ins and appointments are Tuesdays to Fridays from 10AM to 4PM. Appointments can be arranged outside of these hours on evenings and weekends. Office hours are subject to change according to the most recent health regulations.
Stay healthy and safe in these challenging times,
Peter Julian,·MP (New Westminster-Burnaby)
NDP House Leader
NDP Spokesperson on Canadian Heritage
Office of Peter Julian, MP (New Westminster-Burnaby) | Bureau du député Peter Julian (New Westminster-Burnaby)
New Democratic Party·|·Nouveau Parti démocratique·
I acknowledge that I work on the unceded·traditional territory of the Algonquin, Haudenosaunee and Anishinabek peoples.
Je reconnaît que je travaille·sur le territoire non-cédé des nations Algonquine, Haudenosaunee et Anishinabek.