Federal budget fails to support needed pension reform, retiree group says


TORONTO — A national group representing about 300,000 pensioners says the new federal budget fails to mention reforms that are necessary to protect members of defined benefit pension plans.

The Canadian Federation of Pensioners is calling for the Liberal government to support two private member bills before the House of Commons.

The pensioner group says current bankruptcy and insolvency laws are unfair to employees and retirees when a plan sponsor becomes insolvent, issues that MPs from the Bloc Quebecois and New Democratic Party each propose to change.

They are calling for unfunded pension liabilities or solvency deficiencies to get priority over other creditors in bankruptcy proceedings, which are covered by federal law.

Sears Canada, which had a national retail network until its final stores were closed in 2018, is one of the more high profile examples of a failed defined benefit plan sponsor.

The group says a more recent insolvency at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ont., shows that publicly funded institutions are struggling with the effects of COVID-19 and there is insufficient protection for their pensioners.