CARP rejects B.C. pension solvency report, calls on Premier Horgan to put pensioners first

CARP is calling on the BC government and Premier John Horgan to reject recommendations to lower the threshold for pension solvency in the province.

Last week, the BC government released, “A Review of the Solvency Funding Framework under the Pension Benefits Standards Act: Report on Stakeholder Committee Process August 2019” that outlines the findings of the review which examined the solvency funding requirements for defined benefit pension plans.

“We are very disappointed by the narrow focus of this report, and the recommendations that puts the financial security of pensioners last,” said CARP spokesperson Marissa Lennox. “CARP soundly rejects the report’s recommendation to reduce the current requirement of 100% solvency funding to just 85%.”

CARP participated in the stakeholder consultation. CARP also made a written submission to the committee in which it identified changes the government could introduce to strengthen pensioner protections. These included:

– Creating a BC Pension Benefit Guaranty Fund, similar to the one in the US and the UK
– Requiring pensions to be fully funded before the sale of a company
– Abolishing universal pension relief
– Improving pension plan disclosure
– Providing an option for orphaned pension plans of insolvent companies to continue to operate

But not one of these recommendations was included in the committee’s report.

“BC should heed the lessons of Nortel and Sears and ensure that other pensioners never face the prospect of having their life savings deleted and their retirement security wiped out,” warned Lennox. “When pensioners lose, everyone loses.”

CARP is a non-profit, non-partisan association representing more than 320,000 older Canadians across Canada.