After working for 25 or 30 years, workers expect a decent retirement income. Our members fought for years at the bargaining table to obtain good pension plans, but the recent recession has shown just how vulnerable those gains are. What we will have in retirement seems more and more like a lottery: scratch and win (or scratch and lose, rather!) to find out what you will have left in your pension fund…
You lose if you will be retiring soon and have to buy annuities with your RRSPs or your defined contribution plan. With the collapse of the stock markets, the value of your pension fund may have melted like snow on a spring day. Your benefits will be greatly reduced just because you are retiring during a period of economic downturn.
You also lose if you have a defined benefit plan and the company you are working for has placed itself under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. As many pension plans are currently under-funded, you will have to fight in court against other creditors to bail out the pension fund … creditors who are often considered a higher priority than you.
You lose if your employer resorts to blackmail and tries to force you to agree to concessions in your pension plan during these hard times.
It is not normal not to be able to have a decent retirement after working for 30 years. The financial future of retirees must not be left in the hands of Wall Street and Bay Street speculators or in the hands of employers who have long ignored their responsibility to provide a decent income to retired workers.
CEP and the union movement are proposing major reforms to provide greater security to those who have a pension plan and to improve the public pension plan.
Major employers such as Smurfit-Stone, AbitibiBowater and CanWest Global have recently applied for protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, and the list is growing incessantly. With the help of actuaries, CEP is proposing the creation of a National Investment and Pension Fund to halt the liquidation of pension funds threatened by bankruptcy and to protect our members’ pension benefits. CEP's proposal for a national pension and investment fund
The Canadian Labour Congress Campaign
The CLC is promoting reforms that will provide financial security in retirement to workers. The CLC is asking the federal government to:
- double Canada Pension Plan benefits, as well as those of the Régie des rentes du Québec;
- immediately increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement; and
- establish a system of insurance to protect workers’ pension plans.
Visit the CLC web site to participate in this important campaign.