November 2020

 A TV Report (in French) on spouses deprived of a survivor pension

The CBC/Radio-Canada French TV program, La facture, which covers consumer issues, has produced a report about the federal legislation on pension plans that contain clauses restricting the right to a survivor pension.

The report was presented in the Nov. 17 broadcast and is now available on line:

The Coalition’s mission is precisely the repeal of the provisions of these unfair laws that limit the eligibility to a pension. Depending on the pension plan, two different conditions lead to exclusion:

1 - The marriage or common law union began when the pensioner was over 60 years of age.  This clause is applied to the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP pension plans.

2 - The marriage or common law union happened after the date of retirement. This clause is applied in the pension plans of the Public Service, Crown Corporations and in private sector plans under federal jurisdiction.

The television report presents the stories of two retirees and their spouses:  Mr Robert Demers from the RCMP (“after 60” clause) and Mr Pierre Sasseville from Canada Post (“after the retirement date” clause).

 A trade-union point of view on these unfair laws is given by Ms. Magali Picard, National Executive Vice-president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.  The legal aspect is discussed with Mr. Louis-Philippe Lampron, Professor at Laval University Law School.

Reviving the NDP Private Member's Bill

On February 13, 2018 NDP MP Irene Mathyssen introduced a Private Member’s Bill to change the various pieces of legislation that deny pensions for surviving spouses. She also wrote to Scott Brison, then-President of the Treasury Board, reminding him that our country still has such archaic legislation, and pointed out that the Liberals promised to undo the unfair legislation but have done nothing.

Irene has since retired and therefore her Private member’s Bill is no longer on the Order Paper. We are approaching the NDP’s new leader, the Hon. Jagmeet Singh, to ask that Irene’s work be carried on and that a new Private Member’s Bill be introduced by a currently sitting MP.

We will provide updates as things progress.

Minority Government - New Approach

We are extremely disappointed by the Liberal’s non-performance with this issue. It is five years since they spoke promisingly about reform and even added the issue to one minister’s mandate. Given the government had a majority we were hopeful, but their real action has been zero.

The government is now in a minority position and we believe this creates unique opportunities for a different approach. We are not divulging our new plans publicly but we will keep you updated as we proceed.