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View Francis Drouin Profile
Lib. (ON)
Okay.
Mr. Leblanc, I have visited poultry farmers on several occasions. It's virtually the same protocols for all businesses, whether they're in Quebec, Ontario, or anywhere in Canada. The barrier is in place and I can't go any further. Even if I open the door, announce my presence and the farmer lets me in, the farmer requires me to wear the same equipment.
Are these protocols developed by the poultry farmers of Canada?
Pierre-Luc Leblanc
View Pierre-Luc Leblanc Profile
Pierre-Luc Leblanc
2021-06-15 17:17
Yes.
At the national level, we have recommendations. In Quebec, we work with an industry committee that includes veterinarians. We make sure to implement the suggested biosecurity measures. We do everything in our power to ensure the biosecurity of farms. Our rules are rigorous.
In the past, we've seen cases of trespassing where people simply entered or forced their way in. Believe me, they didn't take the time to put on boots or overclothes before entering. A conscientious visitor who wants to visit the farm will follow the protocols. If not, the protocols aren't followed.
View Francis Drouin Profile
Lib. (ON)
Breaking and entering is illegal in Canada. Our discussion on Bill C‑205 concerns how to address this issue and how to create tools to prevent this type of activity. That's important.
Have there been any discussions? Have you been contacted by animal welfare organizations, such as the Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or SPCA, in Quebec, for example?
Is this type of contact being made? Is it more that they aren't talking to you, they don't want anything to do with you, they're against you, and to hell with it, they'll do their campaigns on social media? At some point, and it's unfortunate, a farmer will fall victim to this situation, whether or not their family is there. That's how things will go.
Has there been any contact?
Pierre Lampron
View Pierre Lampron Profile
Pierre Lampron
2021-06-15 17:19
I spoke earlier about the code of practice being developed. I was involved in the implementation of the legislative framework in 2009 with the SPCA. There were people on both sides, but we were making concessions and we're still in contact.
I don't want to call on Mr. Wiens' again, but he's part of proAction. We're in contact with these people. The extremes aren't good and we do everything that we can. Our animals are our livelihood and we take care of them.
View Francis Drouin Profile
Lib. (ON)
You have no desire to beat your animals or abandon them, since this will affect production.
Pierre Lampron
View Pierre Lampron Profile
Pierre Lampron
2021-06-15 17:19
That's right. It's important to understand this.
That's why the legislation matters, as we said earlier. At some point, these people must be reasoned with. They have no right to do this. The legislation is in place to protect animals.
View Francis Drouin Profile
Lib. (ON)
I think that my time is up.
Mr. Lampron, it was a pleasure to see you. I hope that you have a great summer.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Drouin.
Mr. Perron, you have the floor for two and a half minutes.
View Yves Perron Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
My questions are for Mr. Leblanc.
I asked the dairy farmers earlier what they want to tell people who say that there will no longer be whistleblowers or people who report suspected abuse on a particular farm.
Can you tell us about your control structures? To whom could these people go without having to assault people by trespassing?
Pierre-Luc Leblanc
View Pierre-Luc Leblanc Profile
Pierre-Luc Leblanc
2021-06-15 17:20
I don't understand your question. Do you want to know whom people could contact regarding our farmers?
View Yves Perron Profile
BQ (QC)
Yes. I'll repeat what I said in the last round of questions.
People tell us that farmers are generally good people who take care of their animals, but that, if they have a concern about a specific case, they can no longer act because of the bill.
What would you tell them?
Pierre-Luc Leblanc
View Pierre-Luc Leblanc Profile
Pierre-Luc Leblanc
2021-06-15 17:21
Okay.
The Quebec department of agriculture, fisheries and food, or MAPAQ, is currently providing support in this area. We received some complaints that birds in backyard farms were sick and untreated. We have the support of MAPAQ, which can send in a team of specialists to ensure that animal welfare is respected.
We've even taken action in the past against farmers whose practices, in our opinion, didn't respect animal welfare. We had to send in the MAPAQ team to conduct checks.
View Yves Perron Profile
BQ (QC)
An inspection is then done fairly quickly and action is taken. Is that right?
Pierre-Luc Leblanc
View Pierre-Luc Leblanc Profile
Pierre-Luc Leblanc
2021-06-15 17:21
Absolutely.
View Yves Perron Profile
BQ (QC)
Okay.
Mr. Lampron, I assume that you'll tell me the same thing.
Pierre Lampron
View Pierre Lampron Profile
Pierre Lampron
2021-06-15 17:22
Thank you for your question.
I would add that we mustn't forget that veterinarians regularly visit dairy farms to take care of the animals or as a preventive measure, and that they must report cases of abuse. Many organizations talk about cruelty. Yet we really don't benefit from abusing our animals.
The few cases that do occur are often related to mental health issues. It's sad to say, but it's true.
View Yves Perron Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Leblanc, if I were to give you my last 15 or 20 seconds, what would you say to better inform the committee members on the significance of this bill?
Pierre-Luc Leblanc
View Pierre-Luc Leblanc Profile
Pierre-Luc Leblanc
2021-06-15 17:22
In our view, the legislation must be simple. Breaking and entering is simple and straightforward. You don't need to start wondering whether the person broke in. The legislation must be simple. A procedure must be established to ensure that an unwanted visitor can be quickly removed from the premises.
Fines are also needed to deter trespassing on farms. If the offence is only breaking and entering and no theft or mischief is involved, the penalty may not be substantial enough. The bill must have a deterrent effect.
View Yves Perron Profile
BQ (QC)
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Leblanc and Mr. Perron.
We'll now go to Mr. MacGregor, for two and a half minutes.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Throughout the testimony on Bill C-205, the word “trespass” has come up repeatedly. Under our Constitution, if you look at the exclusive powers of provincial legislatures, subsection 92(13) states that property and civil rights are under the domain of our provincial legislatures.
Under Canadian law, animals are considered property. That's a widely accepted legal interpretation, no matter which province you're in. Provinces will be very quick to speak up any time they feel the federal government is encroaching on their jurisdiction. I have colleagues in the House of Commons who will speak up if there is even the slightest chance that the federal government is intruding on something that is clearly under provincial jurisdiction.
If we're continually using the word “trespass”, my question to both groups is, how do we square that constitutional circle, if we're dealing with a crime against property, which is so clearly marked under provincial jurisdiction? Do you have any thoughts on how we square that circle?
The provinces may speak up and say, “No. You are intruding on something that is under our domain to legislate.” Do you have any thoughts on how they might push back against that?
Érik Tremblay
View Érik Tremblay Profile
Érik Tremblay
2021-06-15 17:25
If I may, Mr. Chair, I'll answer that very good question.
I think that we must see this as two complementary issues. There's animal health, which is being addressed today, and breaking and entering, which can be addressed at the provincial level. In my view, the issues go hand in hand. That's why the discussions before the committee have been connected and linked together. Complementary measures must be taken at both the provincial and federal levels.
In our opinion, the bill before us today must ensure that additional protection, which doesn't exist now, is provided. This protection must be provided in a consistent manner across Canada. At this time, the protection is incomplete. We also support the idea of a deterrent. This will help to ensure additional protection, but it won't necessarily right all wrongs. The provinces may work together to address the issue of breaking and entering. These issues are indeed complementary.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you. I think that's my time.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you, Mr. MacGregor.
Thank you, Mr. Tremblay.
That pretty much wraps up our second panel.
I want to thank Mr. Lampron, Mr. Wiens and Mr. Tremblay from Dairy Farmers of Canada.
Thank you again for sharing your knowledge with the committee.
I also want to thank Mr. Leblanc, who represented Les Éleveurs de volailles du Québec.
Thank you for joining us today.
This concludes our meeting today. I want to wish all my colleagues a good weekend. We'll meet again next Thursday for the clause‑by‑clause consideration.
The meeting is adjourned.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
I will call this meeting back to order. We are still waiting for one of the witnesses to join, but I don't want to hold off any longer.
Pursuant to the order of reference of Wednesday, May 12, 2021, the committee is meeting to continue its study of Bill C-253, an act to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act.
I would like to now welcome our witnesses. They are here today as a resource for the committee during its clause-by-clause consideration of the bill.
With us today we have Mr. Mark Schaan. Welcome back to INDU. He is the associate assistant deputy minister, strategy and innovation policy sector, and we are hopeful that Mr. Paul Morrison, manager, corporate, insolvency and competition directorate, will be able to join us.
I also want to give a little shout-out to our legislative clerk, Monsieur Jacques Maziade.
Welcome back to INDU, and thank you for your assistance.
(On clause 1)
The Chair: We had a speaking list. In the last meeting, when we left off, Mr. Poilievre had the floor, and we had Mr. Ehsassi and Mr. Duvall on the speaking list.
I see Monsieur Lemire has his hand up as well, so I will add him to the list.
I am just going to check and see.
Monsieur Poilievre, you had the floor. If you still need the floor, the floor is yours.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
I don't need the floor anymore, Madam Chair. Thank you.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Okay, that is perfect.
We will now go to MP Ehsassi. You have the floor.
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
2021-06-15 11:59
Madam Chair, I have to confess that I am not quite sure why I had my hand up last time, but I am sure, as we go through today's session and we go through every one of the various clauses, there will be ample opportunity to flag some issues that may be of concern.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you.
I am just going to check with the clerk. Last time we had Monsieur Duvall here as a substitute, and I had him on the list. Because I can't see him in the room, I don't know if he is actually now in the room, or if it's Mr. Bachrach.
Michael MacPherson
View Michael MacPherson Profile
Michael MacPherson
2021-06-15 11:59
I believe we are waiting for Mr. Duvall to join us.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Okay. I will keep him on the list, and as soon as he arrives I will give him the floor, but we will go to MP Lemire.
Mr. Lemire, you have the floor.
View Sébastien Lemire Profile
BQ (QC)
My goal, as you can imagine, was to make sure that we could move on to clause‑by‑clause consideration. As a result, Mr. Duvall's presence is particularly significant as we move forward. Given the circumstances, I'll ask a question.
How would the passage of Bill C‑253 affect the government? We agree that there won't be any financial impact. Could it have other implications for the government, or is this purely ideological opposition from a party opposed to the bill?
Mark Schaan
View Mark Schaan Profile
Mark Schaan
2021-06-15 12:00
Thank you for your question.
This bill will have many implications for the government.
First, the passage of the bill would affect the insolvency system in Canada. One of the government's roles is to manage that system. If a more significant change were made to the system, as proposed in the bill, there would be some implications for creditor communications and for the ongoing analyses of the impact on the financial sector, small and medium‑sized businesses and creditors.
Second, the government is also a creditor in certain insolvency cases. This bill establishes implications for each type of creditor. These types of changes to the legislation would have a significant impact because the government is sometimes an unsecured creditor.
In short, this bill would have two implications for the government. The first concerns its role in managing the insolvency system [Inaudible—Editor] and the second concerns its role as a creditor.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Lemire.
MP Duvall, welcome to INDU. We had you on the list to speak last time. I will turn the floor over to you.
View Scott Duvall Profile
NDP (ON)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you to everyone for being here.
I want to talk to Mr. Schaan. Last week, he mentioned that federally regulated pensions are protected, because they're required to be 100% funded. However, I understand there are a lot of federally regulated pensions that aren't 100% funded. Is that true?
If you look at Canada Post, are they 100% funded? Do you know what the deficit is?
Mark Schaan
View Mark Schaan Profile
Mark Schaan
2021-06-15 12:03
I don't have the Canada Post unfunded liability currently before me. Maybe I can clarify, because I think I talked a little last week about how the process of a federally regulated pension was held.
The standard requires that the pension be [Technical difficulty—Editor] but then, obviously, there are actuarial valuations that actually determine the relative level of funding, and then a process by which to make up that gap.
To be absolutely clear, the federally regulated defined benefit pension plans are subject to the funding requirements that are set out in the Pension Benefits Standards Act of 1985 and the pension benefits standards regulations of 1985. Those plans are required to be 100% funded on a solvency basis, but with any shortfall paid by the employer within five years in order to help ensure that the plans have sufficient assets to provide for all benefits, both while the plan is ongoing and in the event of a plan termination.
If the latest—
View Scott Duvall Profile
NDP (ON)
Mr. Schaan, I understand, but what I'm trying to get at is that Canada Post has a huge deficit. They've had a five-year plan, but they've also asked for extension after extension and they're not paying into it, so the deficit gets higher and higher.
Who is going to be responsible for that if something happens?
Mark Schaan
View Mark Schaan Profile
Mark Schaan
2021-06-15 12:04
In the case of an amendment [Technical difficulty—Editor]. When an actuarial valuation occurs, the plan sponsor then needs to be making special payments on each of the subsequent five years to be able to make up that gap. Any variation from special payments needs to be approved by the pension regulator. In the case of the federal government, that would be OSFI.
If there is a plan that currently has an unfunded pension liability and the plan sponsor is not making that up, that's under the express approval of the pension superintendent for the purposes of extenuating circumstances, and that's the bar the regulator sets to ensure that it truly is extraordinary circumstances.
I talked last week about the fact that this is often in co-operation. In the case of Air Canada, for instance, which was a federally regulated pension, the deferral of continued pension payments was with the approval of the union for the purposes of allowing for a market rebalancing and a return to normal returns, which ultimately did occur and ultimately allowed for the plan sponsor to be able to make up that unfunded pension liability and return to good solvency.
View Scott Duvall Profile
NDP (ON)
Right, but at the same time, with Air Canada, I think it was Mr. Flaherty at that time who actually put limits on the dividends and the executive pay to stop such a large deficit until the fund was going.
My other question is this. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, which was the lion's share, illustrated that companies with defined benefit plans have the capacity to fund their pensions, but they just don't have to. Do you think, after listening to all the witnesses...?
They were saying that a change is needed, that it's time. If we don't do something, then companies are just not going to have to, because they're not obligated to. We have to put some pressure on them to make those payments.
Mark Schaan
View Mark Schaan Profile
Mark Schaan
2021-06-15 12:06
As we discussed a little last week.... I can point to the policy choices that have been made at the federal level. As indicated, the standard that companies are held to is 100% funded on a solvency basis, with a gap that needs to be made up over the subsequent five years.
I do think that companies actually are obligated, federally, to ensure that they are keeping their plans well funded and to continue to have to make payments. That's obviously not the case, necessarily, in all provinces, but we do think that there are significant unintended economic consequences of providing a superpriority as opposed to potentially looking at the solvency requirements that are held in other jurisdictions that would actually ensure that the plan is well funded while it is in operation, as opposed to trying to make up the difference for when it's in insolvency.
View Scott Duvall Profile
NDP (ON)
Mr. Schaan, do you have any data to demonstrate to me that Canadian companies with defined benefit plans are currently experiencing liquidity problems? How many companies are there? What is the dollar exposure?
Mark Schaan
View Mark Schaan Profile
Mark Schaan
2021-06-15 12:08
Each province pension superintendent often provides additional information about the plans under their respective coverage. I don't have that information handy, but I can say that OSFI, for federal purposes, does keep track of the overall number of plan sponsors and those entities and their degree of fundedness. As indicated, in the case of a federally regulated plan, the federal plan requires an actuarial evaluation annually, should the plan be less than 100% funded on a solvency basis.
In terms of the general liquidity needs, I would say, obviously, that these are extraordinary times. We've just been through a global pandemic that's put significant challenges onto the overall economy. There are a number of additional liquidity measures that have been put in place to try to ensure that firms can stay active and solvent during this time period at all levels of sizes of companies, all the way from general liquidity measures that were available to all companies like the Canada emergency business account to very large companies that had access to bridge financing through the large employer emergency financing facility, so—
View Scott Duvall Profile
NDP (ON)
I'm sorry, Mr. Schaan, for cutting you off there, but we have very little time.
Indalex demonstrated, even given the pension deficit deemed trust status, it did not result in a tsunami of liquidations. I don't see, as Mr. Poilievre said, a lineup of business people here as witnesses protecting what they're saying, which is that the sky will fall. In fact, what I'm hearing is a lot of people saying enough is enough and that we need to change the law to protect pensioners from deferred wages that they worked for not to be taken up by the global market.
Mark Schaan
View Mark Schaan Profile
Mark Schaan
2021-06-15 12:10
Yes, a deemed trust is a complicated piece of insolvency, so it's difficult to generalize on the basis of deemed trusts, and Indalex is an issue that remains an issue in a number of potential and current cases.
To your broader point, though, about relative levels of fundedness, it is worth noting that the current funded ratio for DB pension plans belonging to companies in the S&P/TSX composite index increased from 90.8% to 91.2% funded over the past 12 months. We are seeing high levels of fundedness, particularly for those plans that are held to high-funded solvency ratios like they are in the federal zone.
In terms of the economic rationale for the potential implications of a superpriority, which we discussed, I don't know if it was through Mr. Poilievre's urging or others', but we did, I believe, through the clerk receive.... We received and then, I believe, the clerk received an indication from the Association of Canadian Pension Management of their strong concerns about the economic implications of a superpriority.
Just to note, there has been some, but I can't speak to the others. All I can say is that we do worry about the potential implications of a decline in restructurings and not liquidations.
View Scott Duvall Profile
NDP (ON)
Right, and pensioners are really worried about saving their pensions and not losing them.
Madam Chair, I'm just wondering. Are we going to be going clause by clause, or are we just going to be asking questions all day? I was hoping that in clause 1 that we're dealing with, we would start to have a vote on it and get down to business.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
We are doing clause-by-clause. I'm waiting to make sure that everyone who has a question regarding each clause has the opportunity to be heard. You were the last person on the list for clause 1, so I'm just going to ask if there are any other comments or questions regarding clause 1 before I turn it over for a recorded division.
Are there any other questions or comments regarding clause 1? I will turn it to the clerk for a recorded division, because I can't see everybody.
(Clause 1 agreed to: yeas 11, nays 0)
(On clause 2)
The Chair: Are there any questions or comments regarding clause 2? If so, please use the “raise hand” function, and if you're in the room, please signal to me so I can see you, and I'll put you on the speakers' list.
MP Ehsassi, please go ahead.
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
2021-06-15 12:13
Thank you, Madam Chair.
With regard to clause 2—and this is true of every clause we're considering today—there are potential impacts on beneficiaries, employers and on other creditors as well. I was wondering if we could ask Mr. Schaan to perhaps unpack the impact that clause 2 would have on all three of those groups.
Mark Schaan
View Mark Schaan Profile
Mark Schaan
2021-06-15 12:14
Thank you for the question.
Clause 2 extends the superpriority for unremitted employee contributions and unpaid employer normal cost contributions owing to the pension plans to any unpaid special payments and unfunded pension liability. It also extends the superpriority for unremitted employee contributions and unpaid employer normal cost contributions owing to the pension plans to any unpaid special payments and unfunded pension liability.
As noted, this essentially creates a superpriority that would place unfunded pension liabilities and unremitted pension contributions.... It's worth noting that unremitted pension contributions—actually those contributions that would have been subject to a payroll contemplation in the lead-up to an insolvency—already have a superpriority. The major piece here is the extension of the superpriority to the overall, including unfunded, pension liability. This includes, in the federal case, those special payments that were required to be made over the subsequent five years to make up for the gap.
What that essentially does is place them above preferred claims in the case of a restructuring. It also places them above unsecured and secured creditors in the case of a restructuring. In many cases, this would essentially mean that the unfunded pension liability would take precedence, potentially leaving significantly less available in the estate for the purposes of secured and unsecured creditors.
In this case, because it's a superpriority, thereby meaning it's an automatic.... For the case of restructuring, this may mean that the unfunded pension liability is such that the assets remaining are simply insufficiently interesting or won't allow for a restructuring to occur. This would mean that the entity would proceed into liquidation and people would be paid on a pro rata basis. We would essentially be prioritizing the unsecured claim of unfunded pension liabilities above those of other unsecured creditors, which can include small and medium-sized enterprises, other suppliers and other providers of services and assets to the now liquidated entity.
In the case of clause 2, this is with respect to BIA liquidations. In a liquidation, this would essentially prioritize and provide that superpriority for the unfunded pension liability.
As discussed, we [Technical difficulty—Editor] impact on the cost of credit and the availability of the entity to proceed through restructuring, and then, should they be in a position to continue, to potentially allow them to access the necessary liquidity to do so.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
MP Ehsassi, do you have any other questions?
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
2021-06-15 12:17
Yes, I just have a follow-up question.
You're essentially saying that this would be adverse in interest to the employees as well on certain occasions.
This is my fundamental question. Over the course of the past decade, we've seen many companies manage to work through a liquidation and actually manage to save the farm, if you will. What would the impact of this have been if it had been in effect? Some or all of these companies that we understand have restructured would probably not have had that opportunity. Would that be correct?
Mark Schaan
View Mark Schaan Profile
Mark Schaan
2021-06-15 12:18
Yes, obviously we think that the general premise is that the best way to ensure the ongoing vitality and the security of retirement income is for a going-concern entity to be continuing to make pension payments and have its pension plan ongoing. Winding up at any given moment, just given the vagaries of the market, obviously you leave some risk that, on a solvency basis, they may not have sufficient funds. The best way to continue that is obviously to have the entity continue to be economically active, allow themselves to be restructured and maintain the jobs of the entity, as well as, then, the continued opportunities for pension payments.
Therefore, there are two considerations for a superpriority and the potential implications of the lack of restructuring. One consideration on the superpriority is that it's not in all cases necessarily the case that the assets at hand would still allow for full payment of the unfunded pension liability. There are actually instances where the unfunded pension liability exceeds that of the assets on hand of the entity. In fact, even in some cases with a superpriority, you still may actually have individuals who potentially will not receive the fullness of their pension promise.
There's obviously also an implication in terms of the considerations for active workers who are making active payments to the pension plan on the premise that they will one day be able to retire and, obviously, if the entity is unable to restructure and instead proceeds toward a liquidation, those individuals need to find new sources of active income and potentially with or without the pension. Even if there were a superpriority, as I said, it may be fully funded, but certainly it would only be fully funded at the contributions to date of their participation.
Then when we actually look at some of the restructurings that have occurred, those active pension plans have allowed for the continuation of those payments to both retirees and active workers. There are a few successful restructurings that have involved a significant number. We've talked of Air Canada [Technical difficulty—Editor] of the employees, this was over 29,000 employees who were covered by the plan and as a function of that restructuring there was a plan of compromise and arrangement that allowed for the pensions to continue to be paid without reduction. In the case of AbitibiBowater, this was again another 10,000 employees covered by the plan, where a restructuring plan of compromise and arrangement allowed for the pensions to continue to be paid without reduction.
Even in some cases where there potentially wasn't the allowance of a plan to allow for its continued operation, for instance in the case of Hollinger, the plan was 100% funded on a wind-up basis as a result of the distribution from the plan of arrangement. The restructuring produced significant financial outcomes in terms of asset sales and other measures that allowed for the plan to be terminated and ultimately for it to be 100% funded on that wind-up basis.
There are a number of these indications where we have seen companies enter into restructurings and allow for the ongoing participation of the plan. That is the potential concern vis-à-vis the potential superpriority of unfunded pension liabilities as a disincentive.
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
2021-06-15 12:21
Thank you.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
I have MP Jaczek, and then MP Lemire.
MP Jaczek, go ahead.
View Helena Jaczek Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I want to pick up a little bit on where Mr. Duvall was going. There's no question that, during the hearings that we've had at this committee, the overwhelming majority of witnesses were very firmly in support of this bill. Quite honestly, I'm a recipient of OMERS, a defined benefit plan, a very fortunate recipient of that pension plan, and I have received a number of pieces of correspondence from OMERS in support of this bill.
You, Mr. Schaan, are clearly not in favour. You've detailed your concerns, but to what extent have you consulted? Can you give us some examples of support for your position? I don't want to in any way question your credibility, because you're obviously extremely knowledgeable, but it would be really good to have some specific examples of organizations, banks, lenders, quite honestly anybody who is opposed for the reasons that you have given us.
Mark Schaan
View Mark Schaan Profile
Mark Schaan
2021-06-15 12:23
It should be clear that this is an analytical view and not a personal one. I come to this from the perspective of simply the analysis that we have been able to undertake as the government department responsible for this statute. I'm trying to bring to bear what we have heard, seen, analyzed and understood through the research and other that we've undertaken.
It is worth noting that, leading up to the changes we made to the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, alongside significant changes, as well, to the Canada Business Corporations Act, as part of the retirement security project in 2019, we held significant cross-country consultations that actually were wide-ranging in terms of the number of options and considerations that we raised vis-à-vis the possibilities for enhancing retirement income security. Those retirement income security consultations did look at a number of potential options for implementation, including that of a superpriority for unfunded pension liabilities.
We heard from insolvency professionals, from the Canadian Bankers Association and from the Association of Canadian Pension Management. We had submissions from FETCO, various federal employers, pension experts, [Technical difficulty—Editor] pension benefit experts, credit unions and others.
The subsequent piece of legislation that emerged from that was clear in terms of the consultations, so I think it is worth going back to the many entreaties that were made as part of that. Obviously, many of them were similar to what you heard in the witness testimony, suggesting that there is positive support for a superpriority for unfunded pension liability, sometimes with some caveats around the notion that, obviously, recognizing that—
View Scott Duvall Profile
NDP (ON)
I have a point of order, Madam Chair.
I'm just wondering if we could have some precise questions and answers and not be going on. We have to finish this, but we're just going on and on, and time is running out. I think it's just proper that we do this clause by clause.
Of course, there are important questions, but we don't have to be going on with the long answers.
Thank you.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
We have not had a chance to have officials prior to last week and this week, so I want to make sure that all members have a chance to ask their questions.
I'll ask that your questions be succinct with respect to the clause we're on, if possible, so that we can make sure that we can get through it.
I will yield the floor back to MP Jaczek.
Mr. Schaan, could you wrap up a little bit on that response? Then we'll check if MP Jaczek has any other questions before we go to the next MP.
Thank you.
Mark Schaan
View Mark Schaan Profile
Mark Schaan
2021-06-15 12:26
I think the summary is just that I think it's worth looking at the consultations that were held in 2019. Then there was a similar statutory review of the act in 2014 that also yielded significant amounts of consultation and response.
View Helena Jaczek Profile
Lib. (ON)
Would I be correct, then, in saying that you're going to look carefully at those consultations and at, potentially, other ideas to support workers in this potential situation of losing their pensions, their defined benefit? Where are you in that process?
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