Workers finally have new law to protect
Published: Posted on December 22nd - From December 14, 2007
Source: Canadian Labour Congress
OTTAWA – Canadian workers have finally won new legal protection for
their wages and their pension contributions when their employer goes
bankrupt. Bill C-12, a series of amendments to existing insolvency and
wage protection laws, was approved by the Senate last night and received
Royal Assent today. This was accomplished after an intensive three-year
campaign by the Canadian Labour Congress and its affiliated unions to
change bankruptcy laws that unfairly put workers last in line to get
Working men and women lost an average of $50 million a year in unpaid
wages when companies went bankrupt while waiting for two years to
receive only 15 cents on the dollar.
“Finally, workers no longer have to fear the prospect of lost earnings
owed to them while dealing with the blow of the loss of their jobs. It
took three years of hard work to convince parliamentarians to put
individual working Canadians ahead of banks and other financial
institutions” says Ken Georgetti, President of the Canadian Labour
Yesterday’s victory marks the end of a long and determined campaign by
the labour movement to change bankruptcy laws which too often saw
employees suffer the loss of wages, benefits and even their pension
savings because banks and other creditors were given priority. The Act
also provides for protection of unpaid pension contributions.
The Act also protects workers' collective agreements from unilateral
changes by bankruptcy judges. In far too many cases in the past, Judges
have significantly reduced wages, benefits and other provisions in
collective agreements. With this new legislation, changes can only be
made with the agreement of the union, an important protection.
“Canadians have been waiting a long time for these protection measures.
It is not just unionized workers that will benefit but every working
woman and man in Canada – whether they are in a union or not – that will
have this protection as soon as the government proclaims the Act,” says
The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement,
represents 3.2 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together
Canada’s national and international unions along with the provincial and
territorial federations of labour and 136 district labour councils.