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Letter to Bill Morneau regarding Bill C-27

November 13, 2016

The Honourable Bill Morneau, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Finance
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6

Dear Minister:

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.
Yours sincerely,

Hassan Yussuff
President

rc:st:cope225

Local 764 / DL140

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 »

Trans-Pacific Trade agreement!

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 »

Airline Unions Draw Incumbents and Candidates to PAC Meeting

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.

   PAC Meeting -7 IMG_2238PAC Meeting -5 IMG_2233 Read the rest of this entry »

Note d’échec en matière d’économie!

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 »

The Economy: Failing Grade!

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 »

Braodbent survey!

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.

Remember! when the time comes.

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.

Green Party wants to vote Strategically?

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is offering to co-operate with the NDP and the Liberals when it comes to running candidates in the next federal election.

The Green Party of Canada concluded its national convention in Fredericton over the weekend and one of the party’s policies is electoral reform.

May said she’s hearing from Canadians who want to defeat Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.

She says some of these Canadians are telling her that they want to back the candidate who has the best chance of beating the Conservative candidate — whether that means voting Green, Liberal or NDP.

May said it would be better if parties with similar interests could work out a deal before voters go to the polls.

“We’d be prepared to talk to anyone about any form of electoral co-operation that would give Canadians a Parliament that would reflect the way they really voted,” she said.

The electoral co-operation could mean parties would agree not to compete against each other in certain ridings.

May says her offer to NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is only good for the next federal election. So far, May said neither the Liberals nor the NDP have responded to her offer for future electoral co-operation.

For the co-operation to move forward, May said the parties would also have to support electoral reform.

The Greens want to Canada to replace the current first-past-the-post electoral system with a form of proportional representation.

May said the existing electoral system allowed the Conservatives to form a majority government in 2011 with less than 40 per cent of the vote.

Past electoral co-operation

Electoral co-operation is not a new subject for May.

In the 2008 federal election, the Green Party leader ran in the Nova Scotia riding of Central Nova against long-time Conservative MP Peter MacKay. Even though the Liberals decided not to run a candidate against May in the riding, she still lost the election.

May was elected in the riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands in the 2011 federal election, defeating Conservative MP Gary Lunn. The Liberals did run a candidate in that race, but the candidate finished in last place.

Trevor Parsons was one of several callers to CBC’s Maritime Connection on Sunday, who said he plans to vote strategically in 2015.

“People have to decide, I’m going to vote for the person most likely to defeat the Conservative candidate and that’s the only way we’re going to save this democracy,” Parson said.

While some voters may be ready to vote strategically, one New Brunswick political observer said it is doubtful the larger parties would agree to any form of electoral co-operation.

J.P. Lewis, a political scientist at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John, said it’s not in the best interests of larger political parties to agree to any form of co-operation.

“I think it’s a very difficult thing to do. And this is a cynical view, but why would you change the rules of the game that you keep winning,” he said.

Bill “c-23” fair elections act.

The Conservative government’s “Fair” Elections Act received Royal Assent last Friday. Despite massive public outcry and dozens of amendments so that Stephen Harper’s own MPs would vote for it, it’s now the law of the land.

How ironic: Stephen Harper pushed through unfair changes to how we vote by banking on his unelected Conservative majority in the Senate.

Remember when Harper said he wouldn’t appoint unelected senators in the first place?

1st Ballot for NDP Leader
Thought on Labour

“In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as 'right-to-work.' It provides no 'rights' and no 'works.' Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining…. We demand this fraud be stopped.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

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