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Liberal Senators Pass Amendments to Protect Pensioners

OTTAWA – Liberal Senators on the Senate Standing Committee on National Finance today passed two amendments to Bill C-51 (An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on January 27, 2009 and to implement other measures) in order to protect pensioners whose pensions have been underfunded by companies who have then declared bankruptcy.


“Pensioners at Nortel, AbitibiBowater and Fraser Papers don’t have time for us to conduct another study before taking action,” said Liberal Senator Pierrette Ringuette today.  “These amendments aren’t partisan, they aren’t political, they are about protecting workers who have worked their entire lives believing they’re retirement would be guaranteed, and are now being left out in the cold.”


The two amendments specifically target the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, and seek to give pensions priority status at the same level as other creditors when corporations declare bankruptcy.


These amendments have received broad support from all opposition parties in Parliament, and if accepted, would provide quick relief for pensioners across Canada.  However, a similar motion in the House of Commons, proposed last week by Liberal Member of Parliament Jean-Claude D’Amours (Madawaska-Restigouche), was denied consent by the Conservative government.


“The stories I’ve heard from pensioners are heartbreaking.  People who have spent their entire lives contributing to their pension plan, and are now being told that money has disappeared.  We have an opportunity to put politics aside and help these people, and I hope all of my colleagues, in both the House of Commons and the Senate can work together to pass these amendments before Christmas,” said Mr. D’Amours.

C-51 will be reported to the Senate, as amended, today.  Before being adopted, the amendments must still be approved by the Senate as a whole, as well as by the House of Commons.


“This is simply about fairness for pensioners.  Doing nothing is simply not an option,” said Senator Ringuette.