Urgent: Bill C-27 undermines Canadian pensions - please call or email your MP today!
** To: PSAC members in British Columbia **
Bill C-27, An Act to amend the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985, was quietly introduced in the House of Commons in October. There was no press release from the government, and no advance notice given to or consultation with unions, pension plan members, or retirees.
This bill will allow employers in the federal private sector and Crown Corporations to shift from good, defined benefit plans that provide secure and predictable pension benefits, into the much less secure form of target benefits. If passed, this bill would open the door to a disturbing trend of shifting all the risk of pension plans onto workers and retirees.
Read the backgrounder on Bill C-27
In 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that defined benefit pension plans that workers and retirees have already paid into should not be retroactively changed into target benefit plans. Yet, this is exactly what Bill C-27 will do.
Canadian pension law exists to protect pensions that have already been promised. Bill C-27 would tear up this traditional protection by permitting employers to pressure their workers and retirees into “surrendering” their pension rights. Canada is a country where a deal is a deal. Employers should not be allowed to walk away from the pension promises they’ve made to workers and retirees.
Please take a moment to call or email your Member of Parliament directly – tell him you oppose this attack on Canadians retirement security. A sample letter is pasted below - visit parl.gc.ca for your MPs contact information.
If you would like more information on Bill C-27, or would like to visit your Member of Parliament in person please contact my office via email or at (604) 430-0191. PSAC is also interested in hearing any response from the government – please let us know if you hear back from your Member of Parliament.
Thank you for taking the time to stand up for good pensions!
PSAC Regional Executive Vice President, BC
Bill C-27 has been front and centre in the media this week, due to the controversy around Liberal Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s personal assets.
But lost in the fray is much information about what this dangerous legislation would actually do.
Bill C-27 would permit federally-regulated employers (like airlines, telecoms, banks, and Crown Corporations) to establish a “Target Benefit” pension plan.
These pension plans are essentially the opposite of secure, “Defined Benefit” pension plans.
Defined Benefit: The pension promises an employer makes to a worker become legally-binding obligations of the employer. Since already-earned benefits cannot be reduced, an employer may have to put extra funds into the plan after a market downturn to fully fund the promised benefits.
Target Benefit: There is no legally-binding benefit promise made to workers. Instead the plan sets a “target” of what it hopes to deliver with a pre-determined level of contributions. But if there is pressure on the plan during a market downturn, workers’ and retirees’ benefits (either for future or past service) will be cut, rather than the employer having to put more funds into the plan.
In short, workers and retirees bear all of the risks in a “Target Benefit” plan. That’s why CUPE does not believe these plans are an appropriate replacement for “Defined Benefit” plans.
Most importantly, however, C-27 would permit a federally-regulated employer to convert their “Defined Benefit” promises into non-binding “Target Benefit” aspirations even on a retroactive basis.
If this bill passes, workers would suddenly have to defend the pension promises their employers have already made to them, for work they have already done. Workers and retirees held up their end of the bargain, but C-27 would allow employers to retroactively walk away from theirs.
C-27 is offensive legislation that tilts the playing field against everyday working people. Justin Trudeau agreed with this before he was elected, but broke his promise by introducing this bill.
Saul Whft "At this point I should point out that group benefit companies of which one of the largest in Canada bares our Finance minister’s name in the title stand to profit a great deal from these types of plans. ie mandatory participation= mandatory fee payments and mandatory offloading of risk..."
Deb McKenzie "Our government should be protecting at the very least the 40% of Canadians that have a pension but #Liberals and #Conservatives have proven they are all about feeding themselves and their friends at the public trough before protecting the other 99% "
Dale T Corey "And they're trying to yet again, screw "the middle class & those trying to join it" !!!!!!!"
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