Canada’s unions welcome cross-party collaboration on the Pension Protection Act – Bill C-228

June 14, 2022

OTTAWA – Canada’s unions welcome the cross-party collaboration of New Democrat, Bloc and Conservative MPs, who are moving forward key legislation to put workers at the front-of-the-line and protect their pensions when it comes to commercial bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings.

“Pensions are a deferred pay cheque. Workers have put in their hours, their hard work, and have earned those pensions. That investment deserves to be protected,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “At a time when so many families are finding their budgets tight and anxiety around finances rising, it is important for workers to know their pension is protected.”   

The Canadian Labour Congress has been advocating for changes to the Bankruptcy Act and the Pensions Benefit Act for decades. Canada’s unions have worked alongside many New Democrat MPs over the years; including Daniel Blaikie (C-225), Scott Duvall (C-259) and Pat Martin (C-281), to previously bring forth elements of today’s Pension Protection Act (C-228). With today’s cross-partisan collaboration, MPs can now make protection for Canadian pensioners the law.

“For decades we have seen companies pay out creditors, even pay out bonuses to executives after declaring bankruptcy, while workers wait at the back of the line,” added Bruske. “The current law says if a company goes bankrupt, their taxes, lenders and suppliers are all paid before employees get their pensions, severance, or even are paid their wages for work they’ve already completed. This is unfair.”

Opposition MPs have now agreed on amendments so the Pension Protection Act, in addition to covering pensions in bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, will also protect termination and severance pay of workers. The bill, with support of these three parties, will now move on to the Finance Committee for review and amendment before returning to the House for final approval. It now has sufficient support to become law.

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