During the recent MP letter campaign, the Co-Chairs of the Surviving Spouse Pension Coalition learned of a serious misunderstanding. Some retirees, who are affected, may believe they are not.
If you did not write to your MP, or even if you did, the Co-Chairs have some important points to clarify.
You can read their message here.
We told you some time ago that Bill C-27 – the government’s proposal to amend the Pension Benefits Standards Act – had been put on temporary hold. Bill Morneau, 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:
At this writing, the Minister of Finance is under attack by the opposition parties in Parliament for what they see as conflicts of interest related to his previous holdings in Morneau Shepell, the pension and HR management firm he once led – and for the fact that he introduced C-27, legislation that could benefit Morneau Shepell’s business. We can’t guess how all that will end up – but we do know there’s been no sign of C-27 being changed or withdrawn, so we have to assume it’s a live issue – kind of like a ticking bomb!
That means it’s still 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 a ‘form letter’ you can use as a guide to what you might send to your MP:
You can find your MP’s contact information on this website: