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November 23rd, 2022

NDP pushes protection for workers’ pensions through the House of Commons

OTTAWA — Instead of being subjected to the devastating impacts of pension theft when their employers declare bankruptcy or insolvency, Canadians are one step closer to having their pensions protected. On Wednesday, NDP Finance critic Daniel Blaikie (Elmwood-Transcona) welcomed the adoption of Bill C-228, which guarantees workers pensions protection in cases of corporate bankruptcy and insolvency.

SEARS workers, Nortel workers, Stelco workers and others will never forget how they were robbed of their hard-earned pensions under the watch of successive Liberal and Conservative governments, according to Blaikie.

“For too long, Canadian workers have been left holding the bag when companies declare bankruptcy,” said Blaikie. “After many attempts to secure this change over many parliaments, I am glad to see legislation finally pass through the House of Commons. Pensions are deferred wages, and should be treated with respect, not as a piggy bank for big banks and hedge fund managers.”

With the help of the NDP, the Finance Committee improved the bill to ensure transparency and accountability on the status of workers’ pensions. Canadian workers deserve to know they can bank on their retirement. The bill requires regular reporting to Parliament on pension funds’ financial standing and provides paths to fix problems when pension funds are not in good financial standing. The bill also guarantees the protection of workers’ pensions over payouts to big banks and investors when companies experience bankruptcy.

The NDP has long championed the protection of workers’ pensions, with legislation to end pension theft brought forward by former NDP MPs Chris Charlton, Wayne Marston, and Scott Duvall as far back as 2006.

“There is more work to be done to make sure workers are treated fairly and get all of what is owed to them in bankruptcy proceedings,” said Blaikie. “While the final bill wasn’t exactly the package we hoped to see, it’s a far cry better for people than the current regime. We won’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good and we will continue to push for respect for workers."

Bill C-228 will now be referred to the Senate for first reading.