Mine Wabush: a pension plan that is less affected than expected

Mine Wabush: un régime de retraite moins touché que prévu

Photo: iStock
Initially estimated at about 21 %, the average reduction of rents has finally been revised to 8.5 %, said the Steelworkers.

Pensioners hit by the sudden closure of the Mine in Wabush in 2014 will with a pension plan, the less reduced that they feared at the outset, a change that the union describes as simply” incredible “.

Initially estimated at about 21 %, the average reduction of rents has finally been revised to 8.5 %, said the united Steelworkers on Tuesday, stating that this last chapter has put a definitive end to the proceedings that have lasted four years.

Mine Wabush and a pellet plant in Pointe-Noire (Sept-Îles) belonged to Cliffs Natural Resources, which has taken drastic measures in response to the course of the iron ore in free fall. Approximately 1700 people are among the retirees and former workers of the enterprise, that is, 500 in Quebec and 1200 in Labrador.

At the beginning, the shortfall of the pension plan was $ 28 million. The hole was reduced to 10 million in 2018, or 21 %, due to a redistribution to the creditors and an agreement in the United States, where the parent company of the Cliffs, faced a collective action.

Honestly, it’s incredible

— Nicolas Lapierre

However, an assessment of the actuaries confirmed in recent weeks that the gap was less important. “From the moment it was put back the 18 million, we were expecting the final photo to see what would be the cut-off final for the retirees and spouses survivors “, said in the interview, the coordinator of the united Steelworkers for the North Shore, Nicolas Lapierre.

“Honestly, it’s incredible,” said Mr. Lapierre. When one is embedded in the process by December 2015, a result of the creditor protection, we knew that it would be long, and that there were chances of not recovering much. “

The sale of the mining assets and port facilities, however, have generated huge amounts of money, and the settlement agreement in the United States. “What is nice is that it has taken four years. Sometimes we see files like this that endure seven, eight, ten years. “

As to the former workers, their pension would be reduced by approximately 10 %, according to the Steelworkers. In addition, the amounts recovered for the pension scheme is in addition a lump sum of $ 10.9 million for the retirees as compensation for the disappearance of the insurance plan.

Thinking about bankruptcy

The federal government announced in the winter of 2018 its intention to discuss with the provinces in cases where a corporate bankruptcy results in the amputation of a pension plan and annuities which result. A public consultation was conducted in the fall.

Plans are under provincial jurisdiction, but a case of closing triggers the provisions related to the federal Law on the bankruptcy and insolvency act, including matters relating to the order in which creditors line up to claim their due. In Canada, the pensioners are not secured creditors, which is the case in several other OECD countries.

The case of the ontario-based company Indalex has marked the history of judicial. The Court of appeal of Ontario has awarded the status of a secured creditor to retirees in 2011, but the supreme Court has ruled in the other direction in 2013.


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