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Senator Pierrette Ringuette re-introduces legislation to protect pensioners

OTTAWA – Liberal Senator Pierrette Ringuette (New Brunswick) today re-introduced S-214, An Act to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and other Acts (unfunded pension plan liabilities), in order to ensure that unfunded pension plans’ liabilities are accorded the status of preferred debts in the event of bankruptcy proceedings.


“This legislation is a badly needed response to the tens of thousands of Canadians who have worked their entire lives, paid into their company pension plans, and have seen their retirement savings disappear when those companies declare bankruptcy,” said Senator Ringuette.


This legislation, originally introduced on December 14, 2009, died on the order paper when the Conservative government prorogued Parliament.  The Bill was originally identified as S-245.


“This isn’t a government handout, this is about protecting the money that pensioners have paid throughout their working lives,” said Senator Ringuette.  “This money belongs to the pensioners, and this legislation will help them collect what they’re owed.”


Senator Ringuette also urged her colleagues to address this issue quickly, with more than 5,500 Canadian companies declaring bankruptcy last year.  Over 17,000 employees at Nortel alone are at risk of losing their pension contributions.


“We need to put aside our partisanship and recognize the urgent need for action on this file, prorogation may have been a nice vacation for the Prime Minister, but for pensioners wondering whether or not the next cheque would arrive, it wasn’t a very happy holiday,” said Senator Ringuette.


“The government wants to have another study of this issue, but the simple fact is it has been studied to death, and we already know that making these changes to existing legislation is the fair and right thing to do.”