Sunday, November 28, 2010

Canadian Bill S-216 Voted Down

As noted on the NRPC Website

Friday, 26 November 2010

Senator Eggleton's Bill S-216, which would have given preferred status retroactively to the claims of people on long-term disability in the bankruptcy process, was voted down in a Senate committee yesterday, Nov 26th. Senator Ringuette's Bill S-214, which would give the same treatment to pensioners, likely faces the same fate in the next few days.

Federal Minister John Baird is quoted in the press as being against Bill S-216 because the retroactivity clause would have been "unconstitutional". NRPC believes he is wrong on that front since the government has already made similar changes to the Wage Earner Protection Program in 2009 and for Canadian banks with Asset Backed Commercial Paper problems in 2007.

The NRPC believes that all former employee claims deserve preferred status in bankruptcy court - both LTD and pensioners. We will continue to fight for justice in bankruptcy including legislative changes which would protect all existing and former employees of Nortel.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Disabled bill may fail due to rejection by Conservative Canadian senators

The Canadian PM Harper has stacked the Senate with conservatives who seem only interested in protecting their well heeled cronies. How can they turn down helping 400 disabled people who will lose their benefits next month due to the negligence of Nortel and the indifference of the Canadian government to those who need the most support? Canada is retrogressing into the dark ages under this leadership.

The following story was published yesterday.

Tory senators poised to kill bill for disabled Nortel pensioners
Published On Thu Nov 25 2010
The Canadian Press

OTTAWA—The Conservative-controlled Senate is poised to kill a bill that would have protected former Nortel employees from losing their long-term disability benefits.

Conservative senators have used their majority on the Senate’s banking, trade and commerce committee to recommend that the upper house not proceed with the bill.

The chamber, dominated by Tories thanks to a raft of recent appointments by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, is likely to accept the committee’s report.

The bill, proposed by Liberal Senator Art Eggleton, sought to ensure that 400 disabled Nortel employees would be given preferred status among creditors when the once-mighty telecommunications technology giant is finally dissolved.

Most of the company has been sold off since Nortel filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2009.

Without Eggleton’s bill, long-term disability benefits will cease at the end of this year.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Comments in Ottawa Sun re treatment of Canadian Nortel pensioners

Comments by Anne Clark-Stewart on an article in the Ottawa Sun regarding the Nortel Canadian Pensioners and the government apathy to our situation.

Well said Anne!

Response to Ottawa Sun Article, Nov 23rd
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Re: Nov 23/10 Pension deal: caviar for them, crusts for you:

Crusts you say. Nortel pensioners will be lucky to get crumbs from the bankruptcy proceeds of this interminable and most complex bankruptcy in Canadian history. The term “upper crust” was derived from the gentry being given the clean top crusts of bread and the servants being given the base of the loaf that was often overcooked, black and dirty from the ovens.

Large numbers of Nortel retirees, terminated and disabled employees have been working for nearly two years now making presentations to politicians of all parties and all levels of government and NOTHING has been done to address our dire situations. The stress of this uncertainty is creating havoc with our stress levels and our health.

We will be very lucky to get 60% of our pensions (please read deferred wages). Our taxes on these reduced pensions will help pay for the public service pension deficit. The disabled employees’ wage replacement benefit terminates at year-end, even though they paid premiums for what they thought was insurance, and have no support in sight for years as the Nortel assets are still not all sold. Where will the disabled end up? On welfare? On the streets? A burden to society and the Canadian taxpayer? Certainly not eating caviar.

We will all see our health and dental benefits and life insurance eliminated at the end of the year. How can we replace them when our pensions and/or LTD benefits are being cut so drastically?

How will the over 1200 widows with an average pension of $900 per month be able to pay rent or put food on the table? Most never worked outside the home as they raised their families while their spouses devoted many unpaid overtime hours to the development of some of the greatest technological advances in the history of telecommunications. And these are the crumbs they get.

Having spent the past two weeks in Industry Committee hearings on Bill C-501, MP John Rafferty’s private member’s bill to protect pension funds in bankruptcy, I am absolutely appalled at the arrogance of the banks, bondholders and insolvency firms who expound on what “may”, “could” or “possibly” happen to the economy if pension special payments or under-funding were protected under this new Bill. NO facts, NO studies, just suppositions. But then, they are the ‘suits’, the new “Upper Crust”, the caviar eaters. Marie Antoinette’s philosophy is alive and well in the halls of Corporate Canada and the Hill.

Anne Clark-Stewart

A Nortel pensioner

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

NRPC Newsletter Nov 2010

The NRPC has published a November newsletter on their website. You have to be a member to view it. I have copied the NRPC president's summary for your information. To see the rest of the newsletter log in to the NRPC website.

NRPC Newsletter – Oct./Nov. 2010
President’s Letter

While not necessarily visible to the members, the NRPC and its advisors have been very active during this past month, keeping true to our goal of maximizing the benefits payable to Nortel retirees and former employees from this insolvency.

Under the terms of the March 2010 Settlement Agreement eligible terminated employees were to receive payments up to $3000. With the expiration of the appeal period these payments have started to flow. The NRPC and our advisors were successful in obtaining tax-sheltered status for those people who had service prior to 1996 and were thus eligible for a retiring allowance as part of their severance payments. Preferential tax treatment for all future benefit payments is on our list for discussion with the Canada Revenue Agency.

I am happy to say that we have negotiated a replacement health plan that we can endorse to the NRPC constituency. Thank-you to NRPC board member Fran├žois Meunier, the NRPC health committee and John Halls of The Segal Company who helped us navigate the insurance industry ins and outs. Further details follow in this newsletter.

We continue to pursue the Financial Sponsorship Model to allow more options for pensioners rather than a wholesale conversion to annuities by current regulations. Thanks to the action of a few pensioners on a wet September night, Premier McGuinty has agreed to take a second look at the model. The financial community has proposed some very interesting opportunities. That review is now underway. More details follow in this newsletter.

Bankruptcy Act - Bill C-501 has been written to give priority to the pension deficit in a bankruptcy. We have been urging all parties to work together to perfect the wording of this important bill to ensure it is passed into legislation. We have been invited to testify in the committee hearings. Bill S-214 sponsored by Senator Pierrette Ringuette (Liberal) also aims to protect pensioners when their company declares bankruptcy; it is also in committee and will be going into hearings at the end of November or early December. We hope to have an NRPC witness at the Senate Banking hearing on this Bill.

With the October 1st transfer of the registered pension plans to the wind-up administrator, Morneau Sobeco, we moved immediately to establish a constructive working relationship with the administrator. Our first meeting was on October 4th and we have now had four meetings with the goal to better understand the conventional wind-up process and to ensure that the best interests of all pensioners are considered. More on this later in this newsletter.

We have been very busy on multiple fronts and will continue to work on your behalf. I hope that the newsletter is useful to your understanding of current events.

Don Sproule

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Canadian LTD statement from Koskie Minsky

The following was posted on the Koskie Minsky site today.
Read carefully and if you have questions call K.M. You can find their contact information on their website shown in the right hand column.

November 23, 2010


All individuals in receipt of long-term disability payments, survivor income benefits and survivor transition benefits have or will soon receive a statement in the mail which sets out their personal information for verification. This personal information was used to calculate the preliminary estimates in the Beneficiary Estimated Allocation Statement.

The Data Verification Statements for disabled employees contain a column entitled ‘net monthly LTD-income payment’. Please take note that the amount set out in that column is net of Canada Pension Plan (CPP) disability payments, Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) payments and other income benefits you receive that offset your monthly LTD-income payment.

However, the amount referred to in that column is not net of tax or other statutory deductions that regularly reduce your monthly LTD-income payments. Please note that for this reason, the amount in the ‘net monthly LTD-income payment’ column will not be precisely the same as the dollar amount of the net monthly payment you actually receive.

You may contact your Representative Counsel or the Monitor with questions or concerns.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Morneau Sobeco

On Saturday I received a letter from Morneau Sobeco basically telling me that I was in their data base, that they are now administering the Nortel Canada pension trust fund, and that they would be in contact with me when there were changes to be made and also to verify my pension etc.

There was no specific information regarding time frame or possible impact but they did say that before a reduction in pension was carried out I would receive advance notification.

On Monday I received my normal pension pay stub from Northern Trust.

I think that it will take a while before Morneau Sobeco can determine the true pension trust fund ratio. Things may continue as they are now until the first quarter 2011.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Nortel US Medical Plan

I received paperwork from Nortel today for re-enrollment in the Nortel US Retiree medical plan. It looks like they are offering the same deal but the premiums went up about 13%. That was less than I expected. There is a website to look at the plan details at www.nortel.com/benefits. Click on the "United States", then click on "Choose the right plans" and then on "2011 Retiree Annual Guide".

They also state as usual that they have the right to amend or terminate the plan so lets hope that the plan continues for 2011 and beyond.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Nortel estate mediation representation

The mediation proceedings are underway to determine how the Nortel Global estate will be subdivided between concerned parties. I have not heard what Canadian representation there is to defend the rights of the Canadian pensioners and LTD, so I have sent the following email to Koskie Minksy (attorneys representing Canadian Pensioners and LTD) to see if I can get further details.

To Koskie Minsky.

I am a Nortel Pensioner living in the U.S.A. I have a claim against the Nortel US estate for unpaid non-qualified pension, and I also will have a claim against the Nortel Canadian estate for the shortfall on my Canadian pension in the trust fund.

The division of the Nortel estate between all countries involved has not been determined in an amicable fashion so far. As a result the decision is now being mediated in proceedings happening in New York State.

There are a number of parties at those proceedings representing various interests. I wish to know if Koskie Minsky is involved in those mediation discussions on behalf of the Nortel Canadian pensioners and LTD.

The US pension trust fund is represented through the PBGC which is part of the unsecured creditors committee and is involved in the discussions.

The UK pension trust fund is represented by the UK Trustee who obtained agreement from the court to participate in the discussions.

I have not seen anything listing the representatives from Canada, and since there is no Canadian federal agency concerned about the survival of pension trust funds after bankruptcy, (unlike the UK and USA), the government is not directly involved, or apparently interested.

As our attorneys, I would like to know what Koskie Minsky is doing to ensure that the Canadian Nortel Pension Trust Fund is properly defended against the demands of the people representing creditors from other countries on the total Nortel estate?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

US Medical

I just learned from a friend who spoke to Nortel shared services that they are in the process of mailing out medical enrollment packages. Let's hope that they do actually follow through with that.

There is no word on what the premium impact might be, though I expect it will be increased based of their desire to get rid of the medical plan at some time.
Also no word on how long the plan is expected to last. Let's hope it's at least for all of 2011.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pension Protection after Company Bankruptcy

The following eye opening chart and commentary was posted on the NRPC web site.

Why isn't Canada taking some steps to protect our pensions? We are not asking for anything that isn't already recognized in civilized countries...

Canadian ideas and initiative turned Nortel into a global leader in telecommunications. In opening the global marketplace, Nortel had to establish R&D and sales operations in many countries. Now we find, as Nortel plummets into bankruptcy, that our Nortel colleagues in other countries are well protected by their governments while former Nortel employees in Canada will suffer drastically. Many countries have pension guarantees when a company goes bankrupt that ensure that pensioners can get a fair share of their pension/deferred wages. Other countries ensure that underfunded pension plans get a priority status in bankruptcy claims to protect those pension plans.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Ontario Superior court decision on HWT assets distribution

The following items were posted on the Koskie Minsky web site.

November 9, 2010 The Ontario Superior Court of Justice released its decision today granting the Monitor’s motion with respect to the proposed methodology for the allocation of the corpus of Nortel’s Health and Welfare Trust. To view a copy of the decision, please link to the Koskie Minsky site (Right hand column) and click on the announcement in the identified spot.

November 10, 2010 To view the most recent Disabled Employees Progress Report that will be mailed out within the next week, please go to the Koskie Minsky website and click on the identified spot.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Nortel asset mediation

Since no one can agree on how to split the remaining assets of Nortel between countries it has been handed over to a mediator. Representatives at the mediation discussion will include the unsecured creditors committee, and the UK pension trustee. I presume the bondholders group and the Canadian monitor will also participate.

I have not seen anything listed where the rights of the Canadian pensioners will be spefically defended in these discussions. The UK pension trustee will focus on their claim that the global Nortel estate owes the UK pension fund close to $3B dollars. This claim has been rejected by both the US and Canadian bankruptcy courts and has withstood appeals in both countries.

This approach by the UK trustee is another attempt to grab a large chunk of the Nortel assets and thereby deny US and Canadian creditors (including pensioners) a chance to recoup their losses.

It is totally unreasonable to claim $3B for the UK. That sum is almost three time the combined deficit in the US and Canada pension funds. The UK deficit is almost entirely related to STC which was taken over by Nortel and which created the pension shortfall under UK pension law long before Nortel became involved. If the UK is successful in grabbing more than a fair share of the Nortel assets it is purely legal piracy in my opinion.

The Canadian pension administrator Morneau Sobeco should be acting on our behalf to obtain a seat at that mediation table and fighting to obtain as much as possible for Canadian creditors including the pension trust fund.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Canadian Supplemental Health Plan

I received the following from an NRPC representative today. It will be of interest to Canadian retirees or people planning to move back to Canada.

The NRPC has been able to negotiate a favourable supplemental health insurance plan for former employees of Nortel who are living in Canada. I pass this information on because there may be former employees living in other countries who are worried about what to do when they lose their retiree medical benefits in their country of residence. The plan requires that you be a Canadian resident and provides medical insurance that supplements the provincial insurance plans. Some people might consider re-patriation as a reasonable method of getting ongoing medical insurance.

We have been advised that this plan is available to all former employees of Nortel Canada if they reside in Canada. However, if you consider moving back to Canada, please confirm with Manulife that they will honour this plan in advance including not requiring evidence of insurability.

The note below refers strictly to medical insurance in Canada and has nothing to do with any retiree medical insurance that you might be receiving in the USA or other country. Although the existing retiree medical benefits for former employees in Canada will end on December 31, 2010, at this point I have no further information on when similar benefits may cease in other countries.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Koskie Minsky notice re LTD benefits Nov 8th 2010

The following was posted on the Koskie Minsky site yesterday

November 8, 2010

In late August 2010, all recipients of long term disability benefits (“LTD-income”), survivor income benefits (“SIB”) or survivor transition benefits (“STB”) received a Beneficiary Estimated Allocation Statement (“BEAS”) from the Monitor. The statement included a preliminary estimate of your LTD-Income, basic and/or optional life benefit, STB or SIB benefit values as of December 31, 2010 based on data as at June 30, 2010.

All individuals who received a BEAS can expect to receive another letter from the Monitor in November, which will ask you to confirm the personal information that was used to calculate the preliminary estimate of your LTD-Income, STB or SIB benefit. If the information contained on the form is correct, you are not required to take any action. If there are inaccuracies in the data contained on the form, then you must make the applicable corrections and return the form to the Monitor. You may direct any questions to the Monitor at 1.866.942.7177 or nortel.monitor@ca.ey.com, or to your Representative counsel at 1.866.777.6344 or nortel@kmlaw.ca

Monday, November 8, 2010

Letter to Canadian Industry Committee

The following is a copy of the letter I sent to members of the Canadian Industry Committee who had abstained or voted "no" for passage of Bill C-501 in the House of Commons. Feel free to use parts or all of it in writing to the members.

I am writing to request that you and the other members of the Industry Committee support the passage of bill C-501 in the House of Commons.

I am a pensioner who spent 35 years working at Nortel, and during that time I always expected that I would be able to retire with reasonable certainty, and that I could live in dignity with the pension that Nortel promised me.

After the events of the last 21 months, my apprehension and unease with respect to my family's future have grown and have lain heavily on my mind. I now face huge cuts in my monthly pension due to Nortel's bankruptcy and Canada's poor laws to protect pensioners from such a fate.

Canada has always had a reputation of caring for her citizens and especially for seniors who devoted many years helping build the country and the companies they worked for. Please don't let us down now. We urgently need your help

I urge you and the members of your committee to pass Bill C-501, and to make it retroactive to the beginning of 2009 at least, so that Nortel's estate will come under the provisions of the new law giving priority to pension trust funds of bankrupt companies. This action will bring Canada into the same status as many other Westernized nations who have already taken similar steps to protect their pensioners. It will also send a clear message to corporations that their employees and retirees really matter, and that the government of Canada does truly care for the well being and protection of elderly citizens.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Canadian Bill C-501 review in Industry Committee this month.

Bill C-501 is coming up for review in the Industry Committee of the Canadian Parliament. This bill, if passed with retroactivity, could give Nortel Pensioners a preferred status in terms of the pension claim against the Nortel estate. To help spur the members of the committee into considering the plight of the Nortel Pensioners, the NRPC are requesting that everyone write to as many of the committee members as possible urging them to pass the bill and make it retroactive to January 2009 when Nortel filed for bankruptcy.

You can check out a sample letter on the NRPC website.

You can have a look at Bill C-501 at:
http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Docid=4378195&file=4

The meeting will be held as follows:

Meeting 44: November 16, 2010 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. (EST) 131 Queen St., Ottawa, Room: 8-53
Meeting 45: November 18, 2010 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. (EST) 131 Queen St., Ottawa, Room: 8-53
Meeting 46: November 23, 2010 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. (EST) 131 Queen St., Ottawa, Room: 8-53
Meeting 47: November 25, 2010 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. (EST) 131 Queen St., Ottawa, Room: 8-53

The members of the committee are:


Chair
David Sweet CPC Voted NO Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale
House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6, Telephone:(613) 996-4984, Fax:(613) 996-4986
EMail: Sweet.D@parl.gc.caThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Preferred Language:English

Vice-Chairs
Robert Bouchard BQ Voted YES
House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6, Telephone:(613) 992-7207, Fax:(613) 992-0431
EMail: Bouchard.R@parl.gc.caThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Preferred Language:French

Hon. Dan McTeague LPC Did Not Vote Pickering - Scarborough East
House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6, Telephone: (613) 995-8082, Fax: (613) 993-6587
EMail: McTeague.D@parl.gc.caThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Preferred Language:English

Members
Peter Braid CPC Voted NO Kitchener- Waterloo
House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6, Telephone:(613) 996-5928, Fax:(613) 992-6251
EMail: Braid.P@parl.gc.caThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Preferred Language:English


Gordon Brown CPC Voted YES Stormont-Dundas
House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontari, K1A 0A6, Telephone:(613) 992-8756, Fax:(613) 996-9171
EMail: Brown.G@parl.gc.caThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Preferred Language:English


Serge Cardin BQ Voted YES
House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6, Telephone:(613) 943-7896 Fax:(613) 943-7902
EMail: Cardin.S@parl.gc.caThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Preferred Language:French


Marc Garneau LPC Did Not Vote Westmount - Ville Marie
House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6, Telephone:(613) 996-7267 Fax:(613) 995-8632
EMail: Garneau.M@parl.gc.caThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Preferred Language:French / English


Mike Lake CPC Voted NO Edmonton - Mill Woods - Beaumont
House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6, Telephone:(613) 995-8695 Fax:(613) 995-6465
EMail: Lake.M@parl.gc.caThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Preferred Language:English


Brian Masse NDP Voted YES
House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6, Telephone:(613) 996-1541 Fax:(613) 992-5397
EMail: Masse.B@parl.gc.caThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Preferred Language:English


Anthony Rota LPC Voted YES
House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6,Telephone:(613) 995-6255 Fax:(613) 996-7993
EMail: Rota.A@parl.gc.caThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Preferred Language:English


Dave Van Kesteren CPC Voted NO Chatham-Kent-Essex
House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6, Telephone:(613) 992-2612 Fax:(613) 992-1852
EMail: VanKesteren.D@parl.gc.caThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Preferred Language:English


Mike Wallace CPC Voted NO Burlington
House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6, Telephone:(613) 995-0881 Fax:(613) 995-1091
EMail: Wallace.M@parl.gc.caThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Preferred Language:English

Saturday, November 6, 2010

US Court Hearing on Nov 8th 2010

The US bankruptcy court has a hearing planned for November 8th 2010. There are a number of items on the agenda as outlined in the docket on the Epiq web site.

One item is the motion put forward by Nortel to abandon and destroy historical documents. The destruction of those documents is opposed by at least 3 groups. ACS systems, the UK pension trust, and lawyers representing Frank Dunn have all objected and will be heard on November 8th at the session.

If the objections are overturned and the motion approved, then Nortel may destroy documents that could prove important at a later date in terms of claims and decisions.

I hope that none of these documents relate to defined benefits and details of employee pensions since these will be essential to our claims against Nortel. Since the PBGC has not objected I assume that they are happy with the documents turned over to them for the qualified defined benefits.

However the PBGC is in no way taking responsibility for the non-qualified pension benefits. We are on our own in terms of our individual cases.

Since we were supplied with calculations earlier from Segal, the Nortel paperwork and Segal paperwork should be filed in Segal's offices. Nevertheless it is important that everyone who submitted a claim keep copies of their supporting paperwork handy to ensure that their claim is properly supported.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Latest News from NRPC Canada

The following topics were reported by the Montreal Chapter of the NRPC.


Financial Sponsorship Model

NRPC & Legal met with the Ontario Minister of Finance on Friday October 29th to review three proposals put forward by unnamed financial institutions. In fact,this was somewhat of a change since their previous position as the government of Ontario showed little interest in pursuing the FSM concept.

As of today, there is no information from the Friday meeting

Canadian Health & Welfare Trust Fund Claim.

At the end of December Canadian pensioners will lose Health & Welfare benefit coverage. Even though Nortel is no longer funding the plan there are remaining assets in the fund, which must be distributed. Various legal groups have made claims against the assets on behalf of pensioners, LTDs etc. The Judge heard the briefs about a month ago and he is expected to render a decision shortly on how the balance in the trust fund will be disbursed amongst the claimants.

If there is no further litigation subsequent to his decision, eligible pensioners should receive a cheque late this year or early next year for their portion of the claim.

Pension Plan Claim
Morneau Sobeco and the NRPC Legal team will be making a claim on behalf of pensioners to recover some of the pension payment losses that will be incurred.

These claims are far from being settled, as there are a number of events that must take place beforehand. The pension claim is part of a larger claims process. To begin with the Nortel assets are been held in a lock box in the US and a Mediator has been assigned to divide the assets between the UK, the US and Canada and not surprisingly each country is trying to get as much of the assets as possible.

The various parties have submitted and exchanged briefs. The parties will be in court in January to come up with a methodology to split the assets between the countries. After a process is in place, hopefully, the mediator and claimants can come up with an agreed division of the assets.

The overall process is very complex and without precedence due to the size of the bankruptcy and will most likely prove to be lengthy. It would be very difficult to predict how long it may take to finalize the process.

Manulife Benefit Replacement Plan

Manulife has been selected as the provider of choice to replace the benefits being terminated by Nortel. This is not a group plan but an individual plan. Each person needs to make a choice based on his or her needs whether to join the plan or not.

In the near future, Canadian pensioners should receive a package of information from Manulife the target date is mid December. The package will include the various options offered, costs & timelines, etc.

The registration period will run from Jan 7 to March 7 with an effective date of January 1. No medical is required. If you register after March 7th, a medical examination may be required.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Canadian Pension Wind-Up process

The following information is taken from the Morneau-Sobeco, (administrators for the Nortel pension fund), web site for Nortel pensioners. This indicates that a wind-up date has not yet been established. The date will be determined after M.S. have examined all the assets and liabilities and will be included in a report and recommendation to the pension regulator. At this point I assume M.S. are working to assure themselves that they know the full value of the assets, and what the total pension liabilities are for the funds.

One item that is not clear is the inclusion of any payout from the remaining Nortel estate. If there is a percentage payout on our pension claim it will be added to the pension funds assets and used in determining our final reduced pensions. I don't see how a wind-up date can be established until that payout is defined by the bankruptcy court, which may take years to finalize.

Morneau Sobeco Information:

The Wind Up Report
As part of the wind up process, we will submit a recommendation to the appropriate regulatory authority depending on where the pension plan is registered to prepare an order that the pension plan be wound up.

Based on the approved wind up date(s), a final Wind Up Report will be prepared and submitted to the appropriate regulatory authority for their review and approval.This Wind Up Report will contain all members’ final pension benefit entitlements in the pension plan and their individual PBGF coverage, if applicable.

Option forms
Once the Wind Up Report has been approved, we will prepare personalized option forms for each member and former member who is not yet receiving a monthly pension payment from the pension plan.

The personalized option form will set out the pension benefit entitlement and the settlement options available to the member in accordance with the pension plan documents and the applicable legislation and regulations. The member will have an opportunity to advise us of any data corrections that should be made.

Purchasing annuities
In the final stages of our wind up administration, we will purchase annuities through a bidding process from one or more Canadian life insurance companies for pensioners and members who choose the pension option in accordance with the provisions of the pension plan documents and the applicable legislation and regulations.

All pensioners and affected members will be notified of the amount of their monthly annuity and the contact information for the successful insurance company. There will be no interruption to monthly pension payments during the transition period.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Termination Fund- Koskie Minsky statement

The following statement appeared on the Koskie Minsky site on Nov,1,2010.


November 1, 2010 Termination Fund: Upcoming Payments

The Settlement Agreement that was approved by the Court on March 31, 2010 established a Termination Fund for the benefit of certain Nortel terminated employees who were still owed termination or severance payments. All terminated employees who are eligible for this payment received a letter in September indicating their eligibility and outlining the method of payment.

Please note that cash payments will begin to be made effective October 29, 2010. Some individuals who commenced employment with Nortel prior to 1996 were eligible for a retiring allowance and therefore were provided the option for their Termination Fund payment to be made directly into an RRSP account. Please note that transfers into RRSP accounts are still being processed. Individuals who chose this option should not expect their payment for several more weeks

Nortel US medical plan

Usually by this time of year Nortel US has sent out a document with details of the medical plan for employees and retirees for the following year. So far we retires have not received anything.

Earlier this year Nortel tried to place a motion before the court to terminate the medical plan, but subsequently withdrew the motion when they were faced with a decision in another court regarding the process by which a company in chapter 11 may terminate a medical plan. At the same time the US NRPC had submitted a motion to the court to consider formation of a voluntary employee benefits association (VEBA). That motion was also withdrwn at a later date.

Today I saw a posting on the Yahoo Nortel Pension Group which indicated that Nortel is actually planning to send out plan information. The posting stated:

" I got an e mail from a Nortel HR person indicating that next month
> (Nov) enrollment packages would be sent out. Usually some tweeking of
> benefits takes place as well as a cost increase. NT is a bit late in sending
> out the enrollment this year. I am surprised the plan is still operational."

Hopefully this is going to happen and that we will see a continuation of the Nortel medical plan for retirees.