November 13, 2016
The Honourable Bill Morneau, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Finance
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6
I am writing on behalf of Canada’s unions to urge you to abandon Bill C-27, An Act to amend the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985, which represents a dangerous and immediate attack on future and current retirees and Defined Benefit (DB) pension plans in the federal private sector and Crown corporations.
C-27 was introduced without notice or consultation with Canadians, pensioners, or unions and proposes measures that directly contradict election promises to improve retirement security for Canadians. If enacted, it will have negative implications for private and public-sector DB plans in every jurisdiction in Canada.
A principal value and strength of DB pension plans is the security and predictability they provide to plan members, allowing them to budget for their daily lives in retirement. DB pensions operate under a legal covenant obliging employers to fund employees’ earned benefits, guaranteeing retirement security regardless of market volatility. Already-earned (or “accrued”) benefits are legally protected, and may not be retroactively reduced.
Bill C-27 would remove that legal obligation and encourage the proliferation of Target Benefit (TB) pension plans instead, lowering benefits for both current and future retirees. Employers would also be allowed to persuade individual active and retired plan members to surrender their earned DB benefits in exchange for less secure, less stable TB plan benefits.
By permitting the conversion of past-service DB pension benefits to TB plans, Bill C-27 invites employers and other plan sponsors to abandon their pension promises to employees and retirees, downloading virtually all plan risks brought on by market volatility from employers to workers and retirees. This is an unconscionable betrayal of the legal rights and protections of plan members.
Bill C-27 also undermines the policies your government has adopted to strengthen Canadians’ retirement security, including improvements to the Canada Pension Plan and Guaranteed Income Supplement. It also contradicts Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s commitment to retirees, made in a July 23, 2015 letter to Gary Oberg, head of the Federal Superannuates National Association, that “DBPs [defined-benefit pensions], which have already been paid for by employees and pensioners, should not retroactively be changed into TBPs [target-benefit pensions].”
Legislation like the Pension Benefits Standards Act originated precisely to protect plan members when employers simply abandoned their commitments and walked away from their pension promises. The government now proposes to withdraw that legal protection, and once again leave employees at the mercy of employers who want to back out of their pension commitments.
Even if employers offer individual plan members the option to remain in a DB plan, they’ll inevitably do all they can to convince other employees to transfer over to TB plans. That will jeopardize security for those remaining in DB plans. Unacceptably, in a lockout or insolvency situation, workers may be pressured to agree to surrender their benefits and pension rights.
For all these reasons, there is no question that Bill C-27 will undermine the stability of workplace relations and fuel labour disputes.
The ability of unions to advance the interests of members is uncertain under Bill C-27. Although the decision to surrender DB benefits is an individual one, the Bill says “a bargaining agent may consent on behalf of a unionized member if the agent is authorized to do so.” The effect of this provision is extremely unclear. Target-benefit plans would not be governed jointly by union and employer appointed trustees, and unions could be largely excluded from the governance of TB plans.
The approach proposed under C-27 is already proving a failure in New Brunswick. Introduced in 2012 by the Conservative government of David Alward, New Brunswick’s legislation allowed conversion of private and public sector DB plans to TB pension plans. The result has been class action lawsuits, constitutional challenges, and plummeting DB plan membership. In the four years between the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2015, DB plan membership in New Brunswick fell by more than 14 percent, leaving pension members vulnerable.
Federally, C-27’s approach has already been proposed and defeated in Canada. In April 2014, the Conservative government of Stephen Harper launched public consultations on introducing a TB plan framework federally. Retirees and
stakeholders strongly opposed the proposal and the government was forced to retreat.
We hope that your government does not plan to pick up where the Conservatives left off and we urge you to withdraw this Bill.
This is a pivotal moment for workplace pensions in Canada, and the Government of Canada’s leadership will influence governments and plan sponsors across the country. Rather than following the Conservatives’ example, we look forward to you strengthening and expanding Canadians’ pension rights and retirement security by abandoning Bill C-27.
Please see attached, the idea that Janet Andrews and the PAC from LL764 came up with to interview Candidates’ from BC, who are running in the Federal Election, October 19, 2015.
____________________________________________PAC – IAM questions for MP Jinny Sims – June 2015
IAMAW QUESTIONS FOR MP JINNY SIMS
PAC REPORT – JUNE 2015
Jinny Sims (NDP) is the Member of Parliament for Newton-North Delta. Elected in 2011, Jinny is currently the
Official Opposition Critic for Employment and Social Development. As past President of the BCTF, Jinny
knows the importance of solidarity and fighting for working families. She has been a strong advocate for
young people and social justice issues. Read the rest of this entry »
Take a look at the video, posted today, Robert Reich on TPP agreement!
Corporate lobbyists have been pushing for special rules in order to rush the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal through Congress. If they succeed, it will mean a loss of U.S. jobs and pressure to hold wages down for those that remain.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is being negotiated in secret, but negotiators are making big claims about boosting U.S. exports. We’ve been down this road before. The reality is that deals like this make it easier for corporations to keep wages low by trading U.S. jobs to the lowest bidder. Read the rest of this entry »
Toronto, ON – Members of IAM District Lodges 78 and 140 and CUPE Airline Division Political Action Committees held a meet and greet with NDP Incumbent MP’s and MPP’s and candidates for the upcoming federal election, last night at the IAM District Lodge 78 offices.
Stephen Harper a beaucoup parlé de la force de son gouvernement lorsqu’il est question de croissance économique. Cependant, au cours des dernières années, environ 80 % des nouveaux emplois créés ont été des emplois à temps partiel. Le cours élevé du dollar canadien a nui au secteur manufacturier. L’inégalité des revenus augmente plus rapidement au Canada que dans tout autre pays industrialisé. Read the rest of this entry »
Stephen Harper has talked a lot about his government’s strength in economic growth. But in recent years, approximately 80% of the new jobs that have been created are part-time. Manufacturing jobs have suffered from the high dollar. Income inequality is growing faster than any other industrialized nation.
Under the Harper government we are seeing a mass exodus as more jobs are lost. This past month, January 2015, we see retailer Target Canada closing its doors, shutting 133 stores across Canada and affecting 17,600 workers. Sony closed 14 Stores resulting in 90 workers losing their jobs. Other closings announced in the recent year: Read the rest of this entry »
In a new nationwide survey among 3,000 Canadians conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Canada for the Broadbent Institute, Canadians were asked about their perceptions of inequality and the distribution of wealth in Canada. The findings demonstrate that Canadians vastly underestimate how skewed the distribution of wealth actually is and think there should be a much more equitable distribution.
Meanwhile, a large majority of Canadians believe income inequality has worsened in the last decade, and believe the government can — and should — do something to reduce the gap between rich and poor.
KEY FINDINGS – According to the nationwide survey, conducted online from September 10 to 23, 2014:
PLEASE SEE WEALTH INEQUALITY VIDEO –HERE.
The Mad Men tax scheme, which the Conservatives are trying to rebrand as “The Family Tax Cut,” allows parents with kids under the age of 18 with different incomes to shift up to $50,000 from a parent in a higher tax bracket to a parent in a lower income bracket (with a $2,000 cap).
You have to be a certain kind of household to get a piece of this $12.65 billion pie:
Reminder to Liberals – remember that vote on the China-Canada Foreign Investment Protection Agreement?
What have the Liberals been telling Canadians about the Canada-China Foreign Investment Protection Agreement (FIPA)?
The agreement locks Canada in to a secret process giving Chinese companies a say in Canadian investments and natural resources.
If you spent a bit of time on Google, you might find these quotes:
“Liberals have raised concerns about provisions of this agreement, particularly on the issues of transparency during arbitration, termination of the agreement, and the length of time the agreement is in force.”
Email response on behalf of Justin Trudeau, April 25, 2013
“The Liberal Party does have serious concerns with the Canada-China FIPA.”
Joyce Murray, April 25, 2013
“The Liberal Party has raised concerns about provisions in the Canada-China investment agreement”
Wayne Easter, House of Commons, April 18, 2013
But don’t be fooled. When the issue of FIPA was put to a vote in the House of Commons all the Liberals present – including Justin Trudeau – voted in favour of the agreement and with Stephen Harper.
You can see the results here.
That’s on their record.