The Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) is coordinating a National Day of Action to remind Members of Parliament that protection of retirement funds must be improved.
Through Air Canada Pionairs’ membership in the Canadian Federation of Pensioners, representing some 240,000 pensioners, You can help.
Thanks to the work of the Air Canada Pionairs (the “Pionairs”), and the Canadian Federation of Pensioners (CFP) which the Pionairs have been a member of since 2006, the issue of defined benefits pension security has been kept in the minds of the federal government. With the combined efforts of the Pionairs and the CFP, and CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons), virtually all MPs now know that we are advocating to extend super-priority status for funding pension deficits when a pension plan sponsor becomes insolvent.
We are happy that the financial information we have received indicates that the relevant Air Canada pension plans are currently fully funded, with a surplus. However, as we learned during the crises of 2003 and 2009, the funding situation for pensions can change dramatically, quickly, and without notice. Therefore, we continue to deliver the message to the government that priority protections for pensions and pensioners are needed.
OUR MESSAGE IS SIMPLE
To protect pensions, a solution would be to change the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) and the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA) to extend super-priority status for funding the pension plans in the case of any pension deficit on insolvency. This would mean moving pensions to the front of the line and ahead of other creditors.
Super-priority is not a perfect solution, such as in the case where a company becomes insolvent without sufficient assets to cover the entire pension deficit. It is, however, a better solution than the current situation and it would protect Canadian defined benefit plan pensioners. It’s also a solution that does not need to leave taxpayers footing the bill.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
The Pionairs, CFP, CARP, and the Canadian Labour Congress, are joining forces in a National Day of Action for Pension Protection to deliver our message to Liberal MPs across the country. The focus is on Liberal MPs because they have a majority government. To be successful we need substantial support amongst the Liberal MPs.
Delivering the message to MPs and their staff at their local constituency offices through groups keeps the issue at the top of their minds. We know this approach works. Just recently, doctors, lawyers, small business owners, farmers, fishers, and other professionals launched a successful campaign against proposed income tax changes. Their campaign was very visible, very loud – and it worked. We know that to be successful, we need to keep the pressure on MPs and the government.
CARP has volunteered to coordinate the activity. We are asking Pionairs members, spouses, family members and friends who are in a Liberal-held riding or would be willing to travel to a nearby Liberal riding to be part of a group delivering our message. Activities will be coordinated in each riding; and a meeting will be requested on the National Day of Action, February 21. If the MP cannot meet on the 21st, an alternative day in that week will be suggested. If the MP is unavailable, a letter will be delivered to the constituency office on the 21st.
It’s important that the voice of the members of the Pionairs continues to remind the government that pensions are a commitment and a promise that must be kept!
To locate a Liberal riding near you or register to participate in this National Day of Action, visit the CARP web page by clicking on this link.