Monday, December 7, 2009

Canadian Nortel Employees on Long-Term Disability

Thursday, 03 December 2009
Media release: for immediate publication December 3, 2009

Long-Term Disabled Employees of Companies in Bankruptcy
Will have Higher Priority under NDP Bill
December 3, 2009

(Ottawa) Today in Parliament, NDP MP Wayne Marston tabled a Bill to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA), to ensure greater priority is given to employee disability and health-related benefit plans. This measure corrects the gross unfairness in our current bankruptcy laws, which push the legitimate claims of our most vulnerable citizens to the bottom of creditor ladder.

With almost 2,000 Canadian companies filing for bankruptcy protection in the first quarter of 2009 alone, this issue needs urgent national attention. Appropriately, the initiative was tabled on the UN's International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

"We are pleased to see that the proposed amendments not only address disabled employees' need for on-going wage replacement and health benefits, but also the health benefits of all retirees and their surviving spouses" said Sue Kennedy, the Court-appointed representative, for the Nortel Long-Term Disabled group.

This Bill will also help every Canadian taxpayer by preventing many of these distressed people, who are already living at the edge of poverty, from being thrown onto our overburdened social programs. "Canada's current bankruptcy laws download the cost of these programs onto the shoulders of the Canadian taxpayer, which we feel is unconscionable and avoidable,"says Ms.Kennedy."Companies cannot be allowed to shirk their moral, ethical and legal obligations to long-time employees by filing for bankruptcy protection".

Passage of this Bill is of the utmost urgency. Without these amendments, there is no other federal or provincial legislation to help cover the financial and health-care needs of thousands of long-term disabled employees across the country.

We encourage all parties to work together to expedite passage of these amendments as well as those contained in companion, Bill C-476, introduced earlier by Mr. Marston.

For further information, please contact:

Sue Kennedy, Court-appointed representative, CNELTD 613-620-1708
Lawrence Clooney, CNELTD,613-825-9969
Sylvain de Margerie,CNELTD, 613-277-6630
Last Updated ( Thursday, 03 December 2009 )

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