July 6th, 2017

NDP: Protect Sears Canada workers’ pensions

OTTAWA – New Democrats are calling on the Liberal government to protect pensions and health care benefits of Sears Canada employees and retirees. This call comes after reports today that the company filed a motion asking to suspend $3.7 million worth of monthly payments to its pension and post-retirement benefit plan.

“The pensions earned by workers from Sears Canada are deferred wages, plain and simple. Diverting, withholding or seizing those funds should be illegal,” said Scott Duvall, NDP Pensions Critic. “The current system under the Liberals is broken. They need to stand up for Canadian retirees and stop the organized theft of workers’ pensions.”

Sears Canada, like other large multinational corporations, is using Canada’s inadequate bankruptcy laws to take money meant for workers’ pensions and divert it to pay off their secure creditors, who in many cases are often their parent companies.

“The Liberals must lead by example and prioritize protecting workers’ pension plans. Workers fulfilled their obligation regarding their pension; companies like Sears Canada must do the same,” added Duvall. “This needs to be about fairness for workers. We will continue to fight for a Canada that works for everyone and will make sure corporations and multinationals can’t steal the pensions their workers and retirees have earned.”

During the election, the Liberals campaigned on a promise to improve the income retirement security of all Canadian seniors, but have so far refused to propose solutions for or even acknowledge the grim future of the workers and retirees involved in recent bankruptcy proceedings.

“Canadians deserve to retire with dignity. The Liberals need to stick to their election promises and protect existing retirees from having their accrued pension benefits reduced by their employer,” added Brigitte Sansoucy, NDP Jobs Critic. “Canadians can count on New Democrats to keep fighting for workers, pensions and a fairer Canada that works for everyone, not just the big corporations and the wealthiest.”

This summer, New Democrats will continue consultations with stakeholders in order to develop a plan to protect Canadian workers’ pensions. The launch of their campaign on insolvency reform and pensions will take place in September, before the new parliamentary session starts.