Nova Scotia considers changes to pension legislation
The Nova Scotia government is considering changes to pension legislation that would undermine your accrued defined benefit (DB) pensions.
Nova Scotia’s Department of Finance and Treasury Board has asked stakeholders to provide feedback on its review of the funding framework for defined benefit plans and other regulatory issues.
Question 10 of the consultation paper asks: “Should defined benefit plans be permitted to convert to target benefit plans, including benefits earned in the past?”
The answer is clearly no.
Permitting defined benefit plans to convert already-earned benefits to target benefits would allow employers to transfer significant risk to workers and retirees, after years of sacrifice for their defined benefit plans.
While the consultation focuses private sector plans (those registered under Nova Scotia’s Pension Benefits Act) there may be implications for plans in the public sector, which are established by different legislation.
Unifor members in the federal jurisdiction are familiar with this question. After Justin Trudeau’s Liberals quietly introduced Bill C-27 in October 2016, we launched a successful campaign to educate our members and Federal Liberal MPs about the history of this proposal and negative impact such changes to pension legislation can have on workers and retirees.
If similar legislation is adopted in Nova Scotia, significant risk could be transferred from employers to workers and retirees, after years of sacrifice for their defined benefit plans.
TAKE ACTION NOW:
HELP US STOP C-27
On October 19, 2016, Bill C-27, An Act to amend the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985, was quietly introduced in the House of Commons. The Bill establishes a framework for single-employer target-benefit pension plans (TBPs) in the federal private sector and for Crown corporations.
Bill C-27 will allow federal employers with defined-benefit (DB) pension plans to rid themselves of the legal obligation to deliver promised and already-earned benefits.
Under C-27 workers and retirees could see their accrued defined benefit pensions converted to target benefit pensions. The conversion could lead to reductions of current and future pension payments as it would shift virtually all financi
al risk from the employer to plan members. Even retiree pensions could be reduced!
TAKE ACTION NOW!
This will directly impact Unifor members working in federally regulated sectors such as rail, media, air transportation and telecommunication. In fact, Bell Aliant already expressed interest in moving from a DB to a TBP in future negotiations when they were consulted by the ruling Conservative’s back in 2014.
When the Harper government proposed a similar pension grab Justin Trudeau clearly stated that DB plans should not be retroactively changed into TBPs.
Now the Liberals are picking up where the Conservatives left off!
We need to let the government know that changing the pension rules will reduce the benefits that pensioners rely on and will result in weaker pension plans for workers across the country. If the federal government is successful, other provinces will likely follow with similar legislation.
National President Jerry Dias calls Bill C-27 a smoke and mirrors scheme that opens the way for employers to attack good defined benefit pension plans in federally regulated workplaces.
Read CLC President Hassan Yussuff’s letter to Finance Minister Morneau here