Today one of CARP’s advocacy priorities is much closer to reality.
On Thursday February 16, the Senate Standing Committee on Banking, Commerce and the Economy unanimously passed with no amendments Bill C-228. The bill received all party support late in 2022.
MP Marilyn Gladu’s Bill C-228 will protect the 4.6 million Canadian seniors and their families who rely on private sector, single-employer, defined benefit pensions for their financial security in retirement.
MP Pat Martin first introduced super-priority as a solution in 2004. CARP has advocated strongly alongside allies for 19 years, during which there have been no credible alternatives to super-priority proposed. Under current law, when companies go bankrupt such as happened with Sears or Nortel, the assets of the failed company are divided and banks get paid first. The unexpected loss of income from an incomplete pension can plunge vulnerable seniors into poverty.
Pensions are deferred wages, earned while Canadians are working, and paid after they retire. CARP and allies have argued that pensioners and active plan members deserve the full pension that they have earned and their employers committed to. Pensioners should not be collateral damage in insolvency.
If C-228 had been in place the pensioners of Sears and others would not have had their plans for their golden years crushed when they lost a significant portion of their income for the rest of their lives.
Bill C-228 now goes back to the Senate for third reading where CARP hopes it will be passed unanimously with no amendments, providing long overdue protection for vulnerable Canadian seniors.