LETTER: Member’s pension bill deserves public’s support

Dear editor,

During the over 25 years I’ve lived in this area as a retiree, I’ve heard many acquaintances/friends speak about how their company pensions have been partially/totally eroded. This is due to the fact that the company they had worked for had filed for bankruptcy. In our country, the laws surrounding bankruptcy do not support employees or pensioners.

Last week I attended a town hall hosted by our MP, Gord Johns. He had a speaker, Scott Duvall, MP for Hamilton/Mountain and the NDP critic for pensions, give a presentation on the Canadian laws surrounding company bankruptcy. The latest one we’ve heard about through the media is Sears. When workers pay into a pension fund during their 30- to 40-year working careers, they expect it to be there for their retirement. It is NOT a gift from the company; rather, a fund paid into by the workers.

Once bankruptcy is declared by the company, rather than fully fund the pension fund (which is usually underfunded at the time of bankruptcy), the assets of the company are paid out to the shareholders, board of directors, the banks, the parent company (usually located in the USA) and the creditors. What is left (which is usually very little, if anything) is then awarded to the employees and pensioners.

Mr. Duvall has tabled a Private Member’s Bill — Bill 384 — in the House of Commons to change the laws so that employees/pensioners receive what is owed them before the banks, boards of directors, creditors, etc. are paid out.

This bill needs our support. We must let our prime minister know how we feel about the loss of our pensions, which are necessary for our retirement.

One comment made at the open house was “If the MPs’ pensions were at risk, the law would be changed and changed quickly!”

It is up to us to make our needs known to our government. Let our voice be heard!

Cathryn Bolton

Qualicum Beach

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