Canada’s unions support C-253, legislation to protect workers in the event of company insolvency

May 13, 2021

Canada’s unions are pleased to see the Members of Parliament taking action to put workers and retirees first in the event of an organization’s insolvency filing by moving Bill C-253, introduced by MP Marilène Gill, forward to study by parliamentary committee.

“We urge all parties to adopt this legislation,” said Hassan Yussuff, President of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). “Workers and pensioners should not be written off as expendable in insolvency proceedings as they were in the Laurentian University disaster. Canada’s unions have long called for changes to bankruptcy laws so that workers and pensioners are first in line, not last, when it comes to paying creditors and we are pleased to see these proposed changes in Bill C-253.”

After a lifetime of hard work, nobody should have to struggle to make ends meet in retirement. Bill C-253 addresses many concerns advocates have had with the Companies’ Creditors Arrangements Act (CCAA) and the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA). It amends the CCAA and BIA to ensure that workers’ wages, pensions and benefit programs are funded ahead of shareholder bonuses and payouts.

“In heartbreaking cases like Sears, we’ve seen how these insolvency filings play out, and workers and retirees are left holding the bag,” said Yussuff. “This bill will right those wrongs for future filings, and ensure that workers are treated with dignity and respect.”

Canada’s unions continue to encourage the federal government to work with the provinces and territories to create Canada-wide mandatory pension insurance. This would take worker protections a step further by guaranteeing monthly pensions whenever an employer with an underfunded pension plan files for bankruptcy.

To learn more about what we’re doing to strengthen pensions and Canada’s social safety net, visit canadianplan.ca.

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