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The CLC Calls on the Federal Government to Move Forward, Not Backward, on Retirement Security

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 07/02/14 -- Hassan Yussuff, the President of the Canadian Labour Congress, says that the labour movement in Canada has clearly and forcefully told the federal government that it has no business encouraging employers to tear up past pension promises and cut seniors' pensions.

"Don't be fooled by anything the government says about this initiative. It's about attacking defined-benefit pension plans, pure and simple. If the government thinks the labour movement is going to stand idly by and watch employers tear up retirees' pension cheques, they've got another thing coming," said Yussuff.

Yussuff was commenting on the federal government's consultation on a framework for converting defined-benefit pensions to target-benefit plans in the federal private sector and for Crown corporations. The proposed framework would involve workers paying more for reduced and less secure benefits. It would also allow once-secure pension benefits, earned for past service, to be reduced if the plan suffers a shortfall. On Wednesday, the Department of Finance hastily declared the end to consultations on the initiative.

Yussuff went on to say, "The government's proposed plans don't 'share risk', they shift it onto the backs of workers and pensioners. This will do absolutely nothing to address the crisis in retirement security, and will actually make the problem worse. Picture 75-year-old pensioners relying on monthly pension cheques having to cut their food budget and turn down the thermostat, all because their pension plan has a temporary funding shortfall. That's what we're talking about here."

The CLC, its affiliates and a host of retiree associations all criticized the government's target-benefit initiative. The CLC called on the federal government to withdraw its proposal to allow employers to walk away from pension promises already made to workers. Together with union affiliates, pension experts, youth groups, anti-poverty associations and retiree associations, the CLC calls on the federal government to improve retirement security for all Canadians by expanding the Canada Pension Plan.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 111 district labour councils

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Follow us on Twitter @CanadianLabour

Chris Roberts
CLC Senior Researcher

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