April 24th, 2019

Liberals Abandon Canadian Workers and Retireess

HAMILTON – NDP Pensions Critic, Scott Duvall (Hamilton Mountain), is disappointed with the Liberals after they finally admitted that they will not change the law to protect pensions in the case of companies’ bankruptcy. This is a betrayal of Canadian workers and retirees.

“For years, the Liberals have been promising to protect pensions when companies go bankrupt. When Nortel and Sears went bankrupt, thousands of Canadians lost their jobs and their pensions,” said Duvall. “Despite this happening under successive Conservative and Liberal governments, Trudeau’s Liberals have made it clear that the interests of corporations are more important than protecting Canadian workers and retirees. This is wrong.”

Trudeau’s Liberal government has been under fire to change the laws since the tragic bankruptcy of Sears Canada that not only cost thousands of job losses, but also made thousands of retirees lose up to 30 percent of the value of their pensions. To make matters worse, the employees were let go without severance or termination and had to watch as Sears executives were awarded over 9 million dollars in bonuses.

“The Liberals made big promises during their election campaign to use every tool in the toolbox to protect pensioners in cases of bankruptcies like with Nortel and Stelco,” said Duvall who went through a similar bankruptcy himself as a worker at Stelco. “When they got elected, Liberals did nothing except claim to be “monitoring” and “consulting”. This doesn’t fix the problem.”

Changes to bankruptcy legislation in the March 2019 budget call on participants in bankruptcy proceedings to ‘act in good faith’, but make no significant changes to existing law, fail to protect pensions and fall far short of the expectations of workers, retirees and pensioners’ advocacy groups.

In November 2017, Duvall introduced a private member's bill that would protect pensions in the case of bankruptcy or insolvency. His Bill would change bankruptcy laws so that pension plans are treated the same as secure creditors in the event of bankruptcy. This would ensure that pension plans are fully funded as opposed to the current situation under the Liberal government where plan deficits are allowed to devalue monthly pension payments.