Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

November 24, 2010 14:23 ET

Ontario Must Protect Pensioners and Clamp Down on Employers Robbing Workers' Retirement Security Through Contribution Holidays, Says CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 24, 2010) - The McGuinty Government can end a sordid chapter in the history of how retirees are treated by their employers, the President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Ontario Division has told a provincial legislative committee.

"Bill 120 should be used as an opportunity to close the book on contribution holidays once and for all," Fred Hahn told the Provincial standing committee on finance and economics today.

Mr. Hahn made the comment during a public comment session held in Toronto by the committee to discuss Bill 120, an act to amend the Pension Benefits Act.

"Canada's pension "crisis" has been manufactured, in no small part, by more than a decade in which many employers were allowed to defer their contributions to their employees' pension plans, eroding the funding base," he said.

Hahn urged the committee to make a more robust effort to protect Ontarians' pension security, not only for the good of pensioners but also for the collective future of the Ontario economy.

"Pension entitlements remain inadequate for ensuring a decent retirement," said Hahn. "Too many Ontarians don't have a pension at all, and those who do have to live in constant fear of their retirement security being ripped out from under them. The very least we as Ontarians can do for the people who have helped build our Province is guarantee the security of their retirement income," he added.

Other concrete steps proposed by CUPE Ontario are:

  • Enshrining in legislation exactly how 'temporary solvency funding relief' measures are put into place when a pension plan is facing solvency issues,
  • Increasing the maximum Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund coverage from $1,000 per month to $2,500 monthly,
  • An orderly 'phase-in' of measures requiring pension plans to factor in the costs of pension indexing,
  • Closing loopholes that enable employers to raid employees' pension funds or take so-called 'contribution holidays' when a fund is in surplus,
  • Establishing 'strong and effective' disclosure requirements for employers seeking contribution holidays.

Contact Information

  • CUPE Ontario
    Fred Hahn
    CUPE Communications
    Kevin Wilson