Steelworkers Urge Federal MPs to Protect Pensioners and Workers in Bankruptcies

OTTAWA – United Steelworkers/Syndicat des Métallos representatives are appearing before the federal Parliamentary Committee on Industry, Science and Technology this morning to seek support for Bill C-253, a private member’s bill aimed protecting the pensions and health benefits of workers and retirees in the event of corporate bankruptcies.

Steelworkers are urging all parties and MPs to pass the bill without delay before the next federal election campaign.

“This has been in the air for the last 20 years. Several bills have been debated, but none of them have gone all the way and been passed,” noted Steelworkers’ Quebec Director Dominic Lemieux.

“This is an opportunity to get this issue resolved before the next election. The adoption of Bill C-253, supported by multiple political parties, would give hope in the ability of parliamentarians to put aside partisan backroom games to take concrete action in the interests of workers and retirees,” Lemieux said.

Bill C-253 would increase the likelihood that retirees and former workers would be able to recover a larger share of their claims when a pension plan is underfunded in the event of a company’s bankruptcy. Payments to fund pension plans would be given priority and courts would have to take this into account when approving a plan of arrangement with creditors.

“In the Cliffs Natural Resources bankruptcy case, which affected hundreds of families In Quebec’s North Shore region, if such a law had been in place, all the debts could have been recovered, since workers and pensioners could have been reimbursed before municipal or school taxes, for example,” said Nicolas Lapierre, the Steelworkers’ North Shore area co-ordinator.

Members of the Steelworkers union have met with hundreds of Members of Parliament and Senators of all political stripes in recent years to advocate for passage of legislation such as Bill C-253.

“With the current volatility in financial markets and economic uncertainty related to the pandemic, workers and seniors need to be protected by their government. This money and these benefits are owed to them. They have been earned over a lifetime of work,” Lemieux said.

“This is legislation that costs the federal government nothing, but will make a huge difference for vulnerable people. Members of Parliament must pass it without delay,” he added.


For further information:

Clairandrée Cauchy (Montreal), 514-774-4001, ccauchy@metallos.ca

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