Here is Teamsters Canada's position on Canada’s retirement income system.
We all know that the wave of retiring baby boomers will exert significant pressures on pension plans in Canada, and Teamsters Canada estimates that the federal government should act to develop and implement a structure to ensure the long-term survival of these plans.
The main challenges that Canadians face in saving for retirement is that the cost of living is such that many Canadians live from paycheck to paycheck and they do not have sufficient disposable income to fund retirement savings. Many will rely on Old Age Security, Guaranteed Income Supplement and Canada Pension Plan benefits as their main sources of retirement income.
The Teamsters Union believes that the government should act to protect pension plans when sponsors declare bankruptcy and that pension plans should have priority over all other creditors.
In this respect, the bankruptcy of Nortel and the closure of the Flextronics plant in Montréal are symptomatic of a situation that essentially privileges corporate executives at the expense of workers’ pension plans. Indeed, Nortel executives received bonuses while their company was heading straight for bankruptcy. All the while, these companies’ workers received from 25 to 75 cents on every dollar they were owed in retirement benefits.
The union is very concerned by the possible repetition of this situation in other Canadian companies and sounds the alarm to have the government should intervene in the very short term.
Teamsters Canada has developed its position on this complex issue in a feature article titled Ensuring the Ongoing Strength of Canada’s Retirement Income System which is available on line.
The Teamsters Union represents 125,000 members in Canada in all trades. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.
Stéphane Lacroix, Director of Communications, Teamsters Canada