C-27: An attack on pensionsNovember 17, 2017
Is Your Pension at Risk?
In his recent post of November 11, 2017, Charlie Angus, NDP Member of Parliament (Timmins-James Bay) called on Prime Minister Trudeau to withdraw Bill C-27 (the Liberal attack on defined pensions) because of evident conflicts of interest relating to the corporate interests and investments held by Minister of Finance Bill Morneau.
The Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE) stands in solidarity with this petition. CAPE President Emmanuelle Tremblay spoke out on this issue at the Ottawa Committee for Pension Security on September 18, 2017.
About the Petition
Angus has sponsored a petition calling upon the Government of Canada to:
1) immediately withdraw Bill C-27, An Act to amend the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985 from parliamentary review;
2) disqualify the human resources consulting and technology firm Morneau Shepell from government contract work;
3) remove Minister Bill Morneau from his position as Minister of Finance.
The grounds for the petition are as follows:
- Until recently, Morneau owned millions of dollars’ worth of shares in Morneau Shepell, a company founded by his father and of which he was an executive until elected and a firm with which the federal government does millions of dollars’ worth of business;
- The passage of government bills introduced by the Minister of Finance, such as C-27, which targets pensions and would make workers’ retirements less secure, would enrich the shareholders and managers of firms like Morneau Shepell, including, until recently, the Minister of Finance himself;
- Proposed changes to the tax code introduced by the Minister of Finance would incentivize small business owners to invest in private pension plans administered by private companies, and which would enrich the shareholders and managers of firms like Morneau Shepell, including, until recently, the Minister of Finance;
- Morneau Shepell will be handling the close-out of the Sears pension fund after an emergency debate in the House of Commons, on the subject of the company’s bankruptcy, was refused, which will financially benefit the shareholders of Morneau Shepell, including, until recently, the Minister of Finance; and
- The pattern of the Minister of Finance’s non-disclosure and retention of assets that could reasonably be seen to cause a conflict of interest has caused the Minister to lose the confidence of Canadians.
Sign the Petition!
You can voice your support for the withdrawal of Bill C-27 by signing the online petition on the Parliament of Canada website.
Even as it adopted measures to enhance Canada Pension Plan benefits, the federal government tabled a bill that will ultimately undermine the security of workers’ pensions.
Bill C-27 opens the way for federally regulated employers to back away from their commitments to employees concerning the security of their defined benefit pension plans. According to the Canadian Labour Congress, “Bill C-27 removes employers’ legal requirements to fund plan benefits, which means that benefits could be reduced going forward or even retroactively. Even people already retired could find their existing benefits affected, after paying in their entire working lives.”
C-27 would permit the conversion of defined benefit plans into target benefit plans, which are less generous and not as secure. Defined benefit plans provide predictable incomes to pensioners, and employers are required to fund them. In contrast, target benefit plans offer benefits that are not guaranteed and that can be reduced if plan investment targets are not reached.
For the moment, C-27 concerns only the workplace pension plans of federally regulated employers, but its passage would set a powerful precedent that makes it more likely that plans in the federal public sector in turn be targeted.
CAPE is currently represented on the Ottawa Committee for Pension Security working to build local opposition to Bill C-27 and support the efforts of the Canadian Labour Congress and other organizations. Stay tuned for further updates.