BC FORUM News - From The Advocate, Autumn, 2019
Financial security for seniors
Much needs to be done to strengthen public and private pensions
The continuing financial disaster imposed on people who worked at Sears, Nortel and other companies underlines just how vulnerable we are.
Retirees and people nearing retirement cannot count on their employer’s pension being there for them when they need it. Liberals and Conservatives alike have put banks ahead of people.
When a company goes bankrupt, their laws ensure that big banks and institutional investors get paid – even when it comes out of the pension plans that people have contributed their deferred wages to for decades.
The need for change
The need for change has never been greater. As wages stagnate and costs keep rising, young people are struggling to keep up, never mind saving for retirement.
Far too many employers don’t offer a pension plan.
Work has become more precarious, with employees forced to change jobs far more frequently than in the past.
Against this dire backdrop, government should be strengthening support for workers and retirees.
Instead, the Liberals have sided with corporate interests to undermine retirement benefits. The Conservative plan was to force everyone to work to age 67, ensuring more people would die before they could even begin to enjoy the benefits they had earned.
New Democrats recognize that every Canadian should be able to count on a dignified, secure retirement, and have pledged to protect the pensions that workers have earned. New Democrats will:
• Ensure that pensioners are at the front of the line when a company goes bankrupt by making unfunded pension liabilities owed to workers, as well as severance pay, the top priorities for repayment.
• Stop companies from paying out dividends and bonuses when pensions are under-funded.
• Create a mandatory industry financed pension insurance program to ensure no workers are denied the retirement benefits they’ve earned.
Defined benefit plans
The federal government has a critical role in protecting defined benefit pension plans, which provide stable benefits for retirees.
The Liberals’ openness to target benefit plans – which shift the risk to retirees – increases the danger that all Canadians who have defined benefit plans will lose them.
New Democrats say they will immediately stop this chipping away at retirement security.
Public pension plans
For years, BC FORUM and our allies in the labour movement have campaigned for improvements in public pensions so workers can retire in dignity.
New Democrats say they will take action to strengthen public pensions and improve retirement security.
A New Democrat government will create a Pension Advisory Commission to develop a long-term plan that will:
• Protect and enhance Old Age Security.
• Boost the Guaranteed Income Supplement.
• Strengthen the Canada Pension Plan.