Changes to Pension PlansPublished on 28 October 2014 Your Question Period by Senator James Cowan (retired)
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Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition):
Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. It is one of a series of questions that we’ve received from Canadians to submit questions that we will ask on their behalf.
Today my question was received from Ms. Joanne MacDonald from Chester, in my home province of Nova Scotia. Her question is as follows:
I understand the government plans to table legislation to allow crown corporations to offer Target Benefit Pension plans (TBPs) in place of the current Defined Benefit Pension plans that many hard working Canadians are looking forward to. It is an obvious next step that corporations will be forcing them on us through negotiations in our collective agreement. In the past few years, negotiations have dwindled to a process of companies mandating what the bargaining units will have, and/or the government legislating workers back to work in a take-it-or-leave-it format. Target Benefit Pension plans will clearly not provide the stable income that Defined Benefit Pension plans do.
Her question is this:
Why not keep the Defined Benefit Pension plans in place for us? Whereas crown corporations continue to employ presidents and vice presidents, who earn salaries up to ten times mine, plus bonuses, surely it isn’t necessary to allow them to scrimp on our pension plans.