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Pension protection bill, a win for and by workers

April 19, 2023
a graphic of USW flags at a rally on Parliament Hill, wit the words, "Today, workers win! Pensions protected when companies go bankrupt.

OTTAWA – Workers and retirees are proud and encouraged by the passage of the pension protection bill last night. This victory comes after years of calling on politicians to prioritize pensions when companies go bankrupt or restructure.

“Year after year, we brought to MPs and Senators the heartbreaking stories of workers who had their pensions robbed,” said Marty Warren, United Steelworkers (USW) National Director for Canada. “We demanded that retirees would no longer be left at the back of the line in cases of bankruptcy. Today, we finally won.”

After passing through the House of Commons unanimously, Bill C-228 passed the final vote in the Senate last night. It will ensure pensioners are paid out following a corporate bankruptcy ahead of others, including public institutions such as municipalities and school boards.

“Pensions are deferred wages earned over years of work,” said Warren, “People need to be able to count on their pensions being there for them when they retire.”

The new law picked up momentum when the three opposition parties came together to amend and support a single piece of legislation. It follows in the same vein as over a half dozen private members’ bills presented by a number of New Democrats over the years, including United Steelworkers member and former MP Scott Duvall. In the last Parliament, a similar bill tabled by a Bloc MP passed through committee but was lost when the Liberal government shut down Parliament.

“Steelworkers have been leaders in this fight. Our union thanks the MPs who tabled and advocated for legislation and every worker who shared their story, joined us to lobby parliamentarians, wrote letters or picked up the phone. This victory is shared by a lot of people who have dedicated years to this campaign,” said Warren. “It shouldn’t have taken this long but persistence has paid off.”

The USW represents 225,000 members in nearly every economic sector across Canada and is the largest private-sector union in North America, with 850,000 members in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean.

Each year, thousands of workers choose to join the USW because of our strong track record in creating healthier, safer and more respectful workplaces and negotiating better working conditions and fairer compensation – including good wages, benefits and pensions.

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Media Contact

Marty Warren, USW National Director, 416-544-5951
George Soule, USW Communications, 306-531-9112, gsoule@usw.ca

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