On December 1, 2016, I wrote to Minister of Finance Bill Morneau to express our deep concerns with the introduction of Bill C-27, which paves the way for federally regulated employers to convert defined benefit pension plans to so-called target benefit plans (TBPs) and, in the process, shift the risks for a secure retirement from employers to employees. While this legislation does not affect the vast majority of our members, the trend and the threat it poses for the future is clear – to all of us, and to all Canadian workers hoping to ensure a secure retirement.
Minister Morneau’s reply arrived last week. After sharing the Liberal government’s recent record in rolling back the eligibility age for Old Age Security from 67 to 65 and expanding the Canada Pension Plan, he characterized TBPs as “a new, voluntary, sustainable and flexible pension option.” The Minister then added:
“Our Government is always open to hearing the views of stakeholders on our commitments and actions. I have reviewed your concerns with certain aspects of the legislation and taken note of the views expressed at recent meetings held by Department of Finance Canada officials with a number of unions for Bill C-27. We are listening, and before this legislation proceeds any further, I want to ensure that all of your views are fully considered. To that end, I would invite a written submission outlining your concerns and possible solutions. I would appreciate if your submissions could be received by May 15, 2017.”
Placing the onus for retirement security on employees rather than employers and calling it “voluntary,” “sustainable” and “flexible” is the very opposite of “new” or “optional,” let alone secure retirement planning. PIPSC members can be certain we will be sending a submission to the Minister outlining our concerns in more detail.
In the meantime, I encourage all members to express their opposition to this bill by calling the Minister’s office at (613) 992-1377 and voicing your concerns.