The Liberal govt says it has “no plan” to change the law to protect Canadian pensioners when corporations like Sears record for bankruptcy, however they’re open to discussing the problem.
Uncertainty over the longer term of Sears pensions in the wake of the retail massive’s bankruptcy have led the ones advocating for advanced protections for pensioners to drive the federal government to change the law.
“We need legislative change,” mentioned Wanda Morris, vice-president of The Canadian Association for Retired Persons, CARP, a countrywide non-benefit advocacy workforce that campaigns for healthcare and fiscal safety for retirees.
“So, right now there is no plan to do that. Obviously, we’re open to discussions,” mentioned Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains. “It’s not a matter of not wanting to. Right now, we’re engaging and we’re willing to work with anyone that wants to put forward proposals.”
The New Democrats mentioned they will desk a non-public contributors invoice q4 proposing amendments to each the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act.
The NDP mentioned the adjustments will put pensioners earlier than collectors when an organization information for bankruptcy
“When we’re talking about pensioners, we’re talking about people with decades worth of experience and of wages deferred. They don’t have other pensions to pull on. They are extremely vulnerable and we need to protect them,” added Morris, whose workforce used to be on Parliament Hill Wednesday to foyer MPs.
As the law these days stands, pensioners dangle no precedence when it comes to dividing up belongings all over bankruptcy complaints.
“If we let companies walk away from their pension obligations then people turn to public services and we as taxpayers are left on the hook, and that’s not fair,” mentioned Morris.
The perception of a pensioner “super-priority” proposed by way of Morris is sponsored by way of each the Bloc Québécois and the NDP.
Politicians push for brand spanking new rules to protect pensioners12:13
The Bloc has already tabled Bill C-372, a non-public contributors invoice proposing amendments to present rules. NDP pensions critic Scott Duvall mentioned he’ll desk his personal non-public contributors invoice quickly.
Duvall mentioned govt should paintings to shut loopholes and put pensioners and staff first as a substitute of “big fat corporations and CEOs.”
He mentioned constituents in his using have instructed him tales about having their advantages or pensions suffering from bankruptcy complaints.
“I have had people crying at their doors saying Scott, what’s happening? My benefits are cut off. I need my medical. I need my medicine. I have diabetes. Now all of a sudden they’re broke,” Duvall instructed journalists in Ottawa Wednesday.
“It’s clear that we have to do something, I just don’t know what it is. But it can’t be continuously companies coming in and just abandoning, and people end up picking up the pieces of their lives. I just find it unacceptable” mentioned Conservative Deputy Leader Lisa Raitt, who has a circle of relatives member suffering from the Sears closure.
Raitt mentioned she has requested Duvall for a gathering to higher perceive what the NDP is proposing. However, when pressed, Raitt mentioned she used to be now not advocating for better govt intervention.
“We’re going to look for a policy solution and we’re going to work with the NDP…to see if there is any commonality between what NDP policy would be and what we possibly think a good Conservative solve would be,” Raitt added.
Wanda Morris, vice chairman of advocacy for CARP, is calling at the govt to change rules to higher protect pensioners in bankruptcy. (CBC)
Earlier Wednesday, former trade minister Tony Clement mentioned what Sears pensioners are going via “breaks my heart” however that regulation to protect pensioners poses a quandary.
“How do you create the hierarchy of rights so that lenders will still lend to companies with a reasonable expectation that they can get their money out if something goes wrong and protect the employees who have given part of their earnings and have a reasonable expectation of pension rights,” mentioned Clement.
Minister Bains mentioned Wednesday that the federal government will “engage” with the NDP and Bloc on their proposed adjustments and “look at the implications” of granting precedence to pensioners in bankruptcy complaints.
Raitt mentioned if the Liberals had been actually in operating on an answer they’d have “ponied up by now.”
“Right now, our short-term and immediate concern are the workers and their families and we want to make sure that we’re able to provide assistance to them during the difficult time,” mentioned Bains.