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O’Toole seeking support for underfunded pension plans

Durham MP Erin O’Toole has introduced a private members bill intended to “bring more financial certainty and fairness” to pensioners of private companies.

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

Oshawa Conservative MP Erin O’ Toole has put forth a private members bill aimed at helping pensioners.

Bill C-405 is an amendment to the Pension Benefits Standards Act that would allow those with an underfunded pension plan to transfer, or permit the transfer, of assets or liabilities of one pension plan to another.

It will also amend the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act to allow for conditions respecting the approval of any incentives that a company may be providing to certain directors, officers or employers to remain within the company.

The Pension Benefits Standards Act is “An act respecting pension plans organized and administered for the benefit of persons employed in connection with certain federal works, undertakings and businesses.”

The Companies Creditors Arrangement Act allows companies that are not able to pay their debts that are in excess of $5 million to restructure their business and financial affairs.

In a statement O’Toole said, “In the last decade the bankruptcies of companies with underfunded employee pension plans have dominated the headlines from Nortel years ago to Sears in recent months. In Durham, the near insolvency of General Motors in 2008 showed how vulnerable thousands of Canadians are in their retirement. My bill is intended to bring more financial certainty and fairness to these pensioners.”

Essentially, with Bill C-405, O’Toole is hoping to provide pension administrators with more flexibility while preserving remaining pension funds, as well as enhancing any returns for pensioners.

“With my bill, I hope to start a conversation on the risks facing some pensioners in Durham and across Canada. Politicians need to listen to these voices, learn from the years of headlines and make steady progress towards securing the retirements of Canadians,” reads O’Toole’s statement.

In his statement, O’Toole says that some may not think Bill C-405 goes far enough, but he believes that even its detractors are happy to see the topic being debated and that policy proposals are being put forward.