Last month in this spot we noted that Bill C-27 – the government’s proposal to amend the Pension Benefits Standards Act – had been put on temporary hold. The Minister of Finance was responding to widespread concerns about the broader impact of the legislation that was being touted as a welcome expansion of the pension plan options available to federally-regulated industries covered by the PBSA. Labour organizations and other groups with an interest in pensions – such as the CBCPNA – had told the finance department they were worried that, far from enhancing pension options, the proposed changes could actually lead to the demise of Defined Benefit plans like ours.
The government responded to us by inviting further comments on the issue, noting that it would “…not move forward with the legislation in Parliament until this engagement process is closed.”
We took advantage of that opportunity and, on the 21st of April, sent a letter to the Ministry, enlarging on what we had said in our earlier submission and proposing solutions to the problems we’d identified. You can find our letter here:
We will carefully follow the consultation process and participate further, as appropriate. However, it’s important to let our representatives in Parliament know how we feel about the proposed changes. At the outset of this process, we suggested you take an active role by writing to your federal MP and we provided a template letter to assist you. So, if you haven’t yet had a chance to do that, we urge you to do so now. Here’s a link to the template:
You can find your MP information on this website:
One final note. If you haven’t written to a Member of Parliament before, don’t be disappointed if what you get back from an MP on the government side is a collection of official “talking points”. Just letting these people know you’re concerned is a step in the right direction. And the same is true for members of the opposition parties. Awareness counts!