Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Morneau Shepell announces Canadian Pension Cuts

The administrator of the Nortel Canada Pension plan published their estimates for reduction of the plan payments on their web site yesterday. You can find the details by using the link in the right hand column to access their site.

Basically the reductions for the non-negotiated plan members will be 30% for those who have Ontario pensions and service and 41% for those who have pensions generated by service in other provinces. That means only up to 70% and 59% of the benefit will be paid on an interim basis. I say up to because there will be an addition reduction of up to 7% to account for the fact that pensions have been paid at 100% since October 2010 and they should have been paid at a lower amount. The reduction will be based on age and the amounts paid with a cap of 7%. So people with Ontario service may only get 63% and people with pensions based in other Provinces may get 52%.

The negotiated plan has slightly different figures. The corresponding reduced pension numbers are 75% and 57%.

In Ontario there is some pension protection and the PBGF will be making up the first $1000 per month of pension for people whose pension was from Ontario. This may help raise the percentage above the 70% quoted.

People with split service will see a reduction reflecting the proportion of their service from Ontario and well as other provinces.

The reductions will occur on the August 25th 2011 payment.

Each pensioner will receive an individual letter from Morneau Shepell and there will be a webinar on July 22nd 2011 from 1:00-3:00 PM to explain the reductions

You can register for that webinar on the administrator site. (See right hand column).

You can also call Morneau Shepell at 1-877-392-2073 for the negotiated plan details, and 1-877-392-2074 for the managerial and non-negotiated plan detail.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Us Trustee

The US Justice department has a group called the US Trustee. The people in that department have the mandate to oversee bankruptcy cases and make sure that the law is properly followed. The US Trustee intervened in the Nortel case when Nortel attempted to cut off retiree medical and other benefits in 2010. The Trustee was able to stop Nortel's petition and as a result Nortel had to withdraw their petition at that time. Nortel has reinitiated their plan to reduce or eliminate the medical and other benefits. However, this time they are going through the proper bankruptcy procedure by requesting that the court approve the formation of a 1114 committee. This process is currently underway and the US Trustee will be keeping a close eye on it to make sure it is per the bankruptcy codes.

It is good to know that some government agency has the retirees benefits in mind, even if it is only to ensure the courts follow the right process.

I am not sure if such an agency exists in Canada, but I would think that it would certainly be a good thing for Canadian retirees if a government agency was able to step in and have a say regarding the dispersion of the Nortel Canada Assets. Since the government there has practically thrown the retirees to the dogs by avoiding to provide pension insurance or protection, perhaps they could take some pro-Canadian steps to ensure that the Nortel Pension Fund receives payments from the assets, instead of handing large sums over to the UK and other European agencies who are trying to by-pass Canadian law to get their hands on a bigger share of the Nortel assets than they should be.

Since Nortel UK declared bankruptcy then the the UK claims should be placed against the Nortel UK assets, not the Candian assets, nor the US assets. If Canada and the US allow the UK claims and EMEA claims to be made against the Canadian and US estates it will circumvent the normal bankruptcy process in our countries and generate a precedent that will have worldwide implications. The US trustee, and if there is an equivalent in Canada, needs to get involved to make sure the proper process is followed regarding those foreign claims which have already been denied by both the US and Canadian courts. Otherwise all claims will become global and everyone will start claiming on company divisions in every countrynof operation resulting in total stalemate.

Along the same lines, both countries need to get involved in the asset allocation process. The UK and EMEA have been arguing forcefully that they should have more assets allocated to them since they have such large claims. This is simply another tactic to get their hands on a bigger piece of the pie. Their argument should be overruled. The dispersion of sold assets should not be based on claims but on other more relevant factors related to company presence, funding, sales, employees, ex employees, R&D etc.... Not claims.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Nortel patent sale posted on Nortel site

Following my previous post, I checked Nortel's web site and they have posted information of the sale of the patents for $4.5b.



Nortel patents sale

According to Marketwatch Nortel has sold its patents for $4.5b to a consortium. See

If this is true it will be a very nice addition to the total estate that will be available for distribution.

Now they need to get the allocation process sorted out and also deal with the claims including the outrageous claims from Europe.

Then we may see some distribution against our outstanding claims.

Hopefully this will do something to help the deficit in the Canadian pension trust fund.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Asset allocation

The courts have agreed to further mediation talks and some of the parties involved have been pressing to have their very large claims considered as part of these talks. Frankly I think the size of claims should not have any impact whatsoever on the allocation of assets. It's unfortunate if in Europe the companies that Nortel took over were not keeping the pension funds at adequate levels especially considering the very lenient rules required to retire in some of the European countries. I think the governments of those countries affected should have had proper regulations in place to ensure pension funding. The same applies to Canada. The pension regulations there is antediluvian.

The asset allocation needs to be determined on other attributes like product development history, sales volume, manufacturing supply, number of employees, research funding. Bringing claim size into that picture distorts the formula, in my view, in favor of those who can talk loudest and dream up the best claim stories. How is it possible that EMEA can have claims bigger than the US and Canada combined? That doesn't make any sense. It's clear to me that these claims from EMEA are not Bona Fide.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Judge Gross orders formation of 1114 and 1102 committees

Docket number 5783 on the Epiq site contains the order by Judge Kevin Gross for the US trustee to form a 1114 committee of Nortel retirees who are receiving benefits such as medical and long term care to act on behalf of the retirees to negotiate with Nortel to change or terminate the medical and other retiree benefit plans.

Docket number 5790 contains a similar order for the US trustee to appoint a 1102 committee to represent the Nortel employees on long term disability to act on their behalf in similar negotiations with Nortel regarding the LTD benefits.

The details of the committees are to be presented to the court for approval. There is no statement in terms of timing or the method of selection of the committee representatives. Legal fees for the 1114 committee will be borne by Nortel. A cap of $200,000 has been set in terms of the legal representation for the 1102 committee and will be borne by Nortel also.

This is the first step towards major change to these programs. It will probably take a few months but probably before of by year end.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Nortel US files for formation of 1114 committee

Nortel has filed in the US court for the appointment of a 1114 committee to be established. This is the first step towards eliminating retiree medical and other non pension benefits as well as long term disability benefits. The committee will be staffed with retirees who will represent the interests of those of us who are receiving retiree medical and other benefits. I don't know who will be on that committee yet . I imagine the US NRPC will be involved since they originally were able to stop Nortel from eliminating the benefits unilaterally. Nortel claims it is costing them $12 million per year to keep supporting the medical and LTD programs for retirees and LTD employees. Considering the costs of all the lawyers now involved this seems to me to be a much better use of the estate funds than handing them over to a bunch of legal vultures who have no vested interest in the welfare of retirees or of Nortel for that matter.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Monitor's 65th report re UK and EMEA claims

The Canadian monitor, Ernst and Young submitted the 65th report to the Canadian court and also copied the US court as defined in docket # 5351 on the Epiq website.

The report requests the Canadian court to address the UK and EMEA claims which have been submitted in order to expedite the process for allocation of the Nortel estate between the various countries involved. The UK and EMEA have submitted enormous claims valued at $13.5 billion Canadian and have also requested priority which would mean that their claims would be given preferential treatment and if allowed would basically wipe out any funds for Canadian unsecured creditors. This could also impact the US claimants if the US court recognized the claims.

The claims submitted by the UK and EMEA include elements that are non specific and include accusations of mis management by NNL. These appear frivolous to me and considering the fact that Canada does not insure or protect their pensioners in the event of bankruptcy ( unlike the US, the UK, and other countries in the EMEA group) I hope that the courts dismiss these claims outright and send them back to claim against their own country subsidiaries rather than taking funds away from the unsecured creditors in Canada and the USA. If the courts allow these claims then the pensioners and LTDers in Canada will get nothing to make up for the missing funds in their trusts.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Nortel files for allocation of sales assets

Docket 5307 on the epic web site contains a request by Nortel to have the US and Canadian courts define a deadline and a method for determining the allocation of the funds received from asset sales. The mediation talks which involved 125 individuals broke down after months of debate and thousands of pages of information.

Nortel claims that they cannot move ahead with distribution of funds to legitimate claimants until they are able to determine the amounts of assets that are assigned to each country. Nortel also pointed out that there is a $2billion claim by Nortel US against the Canadian assets. The US group cannot determine what the US assigned assets will be until they know what the assets are assigned to both the US and Canada and also the claims percentage in Canada so that they can factor in the cash received from the Canadian estate into the US estate.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Docket 5266 on epic web site

An ex Nortel employee (Robert Horne) has filed a request to the US court asking for permission to sit on the unsecured creditor's committee and speak for ex employees to obtain better support for our claims and also the access to information from Nortel which was cut off when Nortel cancelled the HR services group. You can check the details at the Epic website (see the right hand column) and look at docket 5266.

We have been cast off by Nortel and left to founder as they continue to pay the lawyers and the remaining team and no one in the court system seems to be worrying about what we are owed and the blatant disregard for any rights we may have had as ex employees or retirees. Hats off to Robert Horne for taking the initiative and trying to get some representation for us in the courts.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Canadian federal election

With the Canadian federal election coming up there is a big opportunity for Nortel retirees and ex employees to show their displeasure with the current government and work to vote out the conservatives and others who refused to help secure pension funds against unscrupulous companies that let the trusts decline and then went into bankruptcy to avoid having to make up the shortfall.

Nortel also pronounced a death sentence on some of their disabled employees by raiding their fund and cutting off their source of income and yet the government stood by and watched. These people need to go and be replaced with human beings instead of the robotic, pro business, anti senior, greedy charlatans who sit in Ottawa and spew hot air.

Get organized to vote them out. Don't let them get away with what they have done. They are not representing you, they only care for themselves and their rich cronies.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Nortel mediation talks fail

The Globe and Mail has reported that the mediation talks being held with all the representatives of the Nortel Creditors has failed to reach an agreement. That means this will drag out for a long time. The lawyers will make hay and spend a big share of the Nortel estate as all the parties argue over the disposition of the funds. I'm not sure what this means in terms of the courts. Check the following link and also look at the dockets on the Epiq website to see if the judge makes any new rulings. if I find anything out I will post it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Nortel Canada Severance Claims- Misinformation

The following information was posted on the Koskie Minsky site on April 6 2011

IMPORTANT: Incorrect Information Being Circulated re Nortel Severance Claims

There is incorrect information being circulated relating to the claims against the Canadian estate of Nortel. All employment- based claims will be dealt with through a special “Compensation Claims Process”. You will be notified about that process once it has been finalized. Your claims will be calculated for you as part of that process. You will be provided with a claims package which identifies the nature and amount of the claims that will be made on your behalf, and a summary of the data from Nortel’s records upon which your claims have been calculated. Before the claims process can be implemented, court approval will be required. Koskie Minsky and the court-appointed representatives (Donald Sproule, Michael Campbell, David Archibald and Susan Kennedy) will be conducting information sessions and/or webinars to explain the process and the basis for calculating your claims.

Please disregard any information you receive relating to the Compensation Claims Process unless it arrives from Koskie Minsky, Ernst & Young or the court-appointed Representatives. Please note that the Compensation Claims Process in Canada has not yet been finalized. It is not necessary to take any action at this time and it will not be necessary (except in very few special circumstances) to fill out a claim form. Any documentation that is delivered to Ernst & Young Inc. will not be accepted at this time.

Please contact the NRPC through their website at, or Koskie Minsky at 1.866.777.6344 or by email at if you have any questions relating to the Compensation Claims Process. However, at this time, none of Koskie Minsky, the NRPC or the Monitor are able to advise you about the amount of your severance claim because it has not yet been calculated.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Nortel's Last Gasp

Nortel's last gasp

Check the following link to read a story in the Ottawa Citizen outlining the dismal failure that Canadian politicians allowed to happen to Nortel whilst other countries and governments make hay from all the hard work and research that helped fuel the rise of the digital and optical world we live in today.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Google bid for Nortel Patents

On Monday April 4, 2011, 2:51 pm EDT
TORONTO (Reuters) - Global Internet giant Google has bid $900 million for a warchest of patents from bankrupt Nortel Networks, in an initial "stalking horse" bid that's expected to draw in higher competing offers.

Google, which runs the world's most popular search engine, wants the Nortel patents to help it fight a growing wireless patent war against well-armed mobile superpowers. The company has pushed its Android mobile phone software to the top of the wireless heap, attracting litigation in the process.

"Google is a relatively young company, and although we have a growing number of patents, many of our competitors have larger portfolios given their longer histories," Kent Walker, Google's general counsel, wrote on the company's blog.

Nortel, which filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2009, was a pioneer in wired and wireless network technology and the assets include some 6,000 patents and patent applications for wireless, data and optical networking, voice, Internet, semiconductors and other technologies.

"As the mobile market gets increasingly litigious it comes as little surprise that Google is interested in assets that could help it defend its Android mobile platform against rival patent claims," said Ben Wood, an analyst at CCS Insight.

Oracle is suing Google over Android, while Apple is fighting Taiwan's HTC in what is widely seen as a proxy attack on Android, which runs on HTC smartphones as well as devices from Samsung Electronics, Motorola Mobility and others.

More established mobile vendors have cross-licensing deals with each other. That keeps their patent fees low but makes entrance expensive for newcomers like Apple and Google.


Interest in the Nortel patents has been robust, but a deal was been delayed as Nortel's liquidators and potential buyers haggled over price.

Other expected bidders include Chinese telecom network company ZTE, Ericsson, which bought most of Nortel's wireless operations, and RPX, which licenses patents on behalf of member clients for a fee.

"This is an unprecedented opportunity to acquire one of the most extensive and compelling patent portfolios to ever come on the market", Nortel's chief strategy officer, George Riedel, said in a statement.

The patent sale is a last gasp for Nortel, once a Canadian technology darling with some 90,000 employees and a market capitalization of more than $250 billion.

Nortel, which has sold most of its physical assets, said Google was chosen after multiple bidding rounds involving companies and consortia from around the world.

"The patent war is getting tougher and expensive," said IDC analyst Francisco Jeronimo. He said it was unclear how widely the Nortel patents have already been licensed.

Google's bid sets a minimum price for other bidders to use as a starting point for their own proposals.

Nortel will file the agreement to a bankruptcy court in Delaware and outline how it will run the auction, which it expects to hold in June.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Canadian PM Harper allows abuse of disabled

The following was sent to me by Dianne Urquhart

Jul 06, 2009 05:18 PM EDT
YouTube - Prime Minister Harper Allows Powerful to Abuse Disabled
Prime Minister Harper Allows Powerful to Abuse Disabled
Nortel disabled employees asked Prime Minister Stephen Harper to correct an abuse by their employer who provided bogus disability insurance and wrongfully removed $75 million from their health and welfare trust. PM Harper stonewalled them for 18 months, turning down two disability bills using excuses supplied to his government by the insolvency lawyers, bankers and junk bond owners who took the disability insurance of the Nortel disabled. Bankers and bond owners insure their losses with credit default swaps and yet this government assists them to make a higher return by taking the insurance money of the disabled. This money does not rightfully belong to the creditors. Since disabled persons are less than 0.9% of the workforce and the cost of disability insurance is less than 1.5% of payroll, the impact of the bills on cost of credit is miniscule. The taxpayer now foots the bill for the PM's decision and the disabled live in poverty.

The Canadian disabled thank the Liberal Party Leader Michael Ignatieff for tabling the disability bills and NDP Leader Jack Layton, Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe and Green Leader Elizabeth May for supporting the bills. For more information, go to

Sent By:

Diane A. Urquhart
Independent Financial Analyst
Mississauga, Ontario
Tel:  (905) 822-7618
Cell: (416) 505-4832




Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Nortel US Claims- NUSRPC email

The NUSRPC has sent out an email regarding the offers to purchase claims that some people have received. They are cautioning everyone to examine the fine print closely. There is the possibility of a clawback in many of these offers if the payout is less than expected, so be careful what you agree to.

Here is the email content:

The NUSRPC is a volunteer organization. Nothing in this e-mail is intended to be, nor should be construed to be, legal or financial advice.

Status Update

Many of us have received a letter offering to purchase our claims and this letter has prompted a number of questions to the NUSRPC. The NUSRPC has attempted to contact one firm but has not received a response to our inquiries.

However there are some general comments we can make to our members:

-There are legitimate companies who operate in this field. Their business is to provide cash for paper assets that ordinarily are illiquid, such as claims in a court case which is still in process.

-These companies may decide to offer to purchase your claim now at some percentage of its face value hoping that the claim will be resolved by the court later for a higher percentage, thus yielding a profit for themselves.

-Should you be interested in accepting such an offer, the NUSRPC strongly advises you to seek legal advice regarding the terms and conditions outlined on the document you will be asked to sign. Under certain circumstances you may be asked to pay back some or all of the money you have been paid, perhaps with an added penalty. It is important that you clearly understand those circumstances and be prepared for the possibility that you may be asked for repayment.

-We have asked Akin Gump, the court appointed attorney for the unsecured creditors for an opinion on how long it may take before the Nortel bankruptcy case is concluded. In their opinion it would not be unusual for the case to last another 12-18 months.

-If any member has specific knowledge, experience or advice related to doing business with one of these companies and would like to share it with others you may wish to join the Yahoo group and post your input at:

The NUSRPC will continue to provide you with updates as developments occur regarding our benefits or affecting the claims we have already filed.


Saturday, March 5, 2011


Liquidity Solutions called me again to ask if I was interested in selling my claim against Nortel US to them. They were offering 44cents on the dollar for the value of my claim. As I indicated in my last post, another person published on the Yahoo Nortel Pension group that he has actually sold his claim to a different company for more than 55 cents on the dollar. However he pointed out that most of these companies are interested in claims that include severance and they also want to take over your right to sue Nortel in any class action suit later. Perhaps they know something that we don't and the claims will actually be worth a lot more than they are offering.

I have also seen postings where people don't think that there will be any payback to us at all, so it is hard to know what to do exactly. I think that the people offering to buy claims have done this in the past and they have the resources to determine what the estimated payout will be. They are taking a risk however, but they must think it is worthwhile. So I am not planning to sell my claim to them. I may regret that if the payout is less or non existent.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

US Claims Purchase by outside company

A week or so ago I posted a message about an offer to purchase my claim against Nortel US.
Following that post there has been a lot of discussion on the Yahoo Nortel
Pension group regarding the purchase of claims.

The following message was posted by a member who followed up on the idea and actually sold his claim to a company who is in the business of buying up claims and then making money when the assets are finally settled. As you can see from the message it is a bit more complicated than at first glance.

This is the message:

About two weeks ago I read a post to the group regarding an offer to purchase
their claim in the Nortel bankruptcy. Intrigued, I tracked down the company
mentioned and solicited my own bid at a rate of 40 cents on the dollar.

Thank goodness I live by the old axiom "never accept the first offer". I did
some research and came up with the names of four other companies that are
snapping-up claims........and proceeded to contact each of them. The LOWEST
rate I was offered was 55 cents on the dollar. Ultimately I sold mine for even
better than that. Didn't even have to wait for a check........they sent an
electronic fund transfer on the same day I returned the form.

Any of you receiving a bid absolutely MUST read the fine print in the contract.
In addition to withholding 35-40% for taxes (court mandated for severance
claims), several offers came with caveats that could lead you to serious
exposure to legal fees and other forms of financial jeopardy.

Seller beware!

A small footnote that will be frustrating news to some. All 5 companies I dealt
with were only interested in purchasing claims for which a severance contract
was included and an amount was "scheduled" on the claim form. That doesn't
necessarily mean people laid off without a severance agreement will not receive
compensation eventually. But it does mean you probably can't sell your claim.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Lawyers get paid as Nortel's case drags on

Recently, things have been quiet on the Nortel US bankruptcy as the court considers a variety of issues. Whilst we wait to see what is gong to happen to our case, and our claims, multiple lawyers are constantly receiving payments with money taken out of the remaining Nortel estate. Yesterday alone, there were 14 applications for compensation by a number of different law firms as listed on the court dockets published on Epiq.

So far there has been little communication on the status of the discussions of various representatives regarding the allocation of the estate between various geographies. The longer they drag that out the more money will be paid to all those lawyers and the less will be left for claimants.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Canadian pension cut Back

According to latest news published on the NRPC web site Morneau Shepell has informed the NRPC that the Canadian pension cut back will probably not be before May. Also there will be a notification to everyone 60 days before the cut back takes place.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bill C-501 no longer includes pensions

The Canadian politicians using all their back room skills managed to torpedo the pension references in the bill so that now it only addresses termination and severance payments.

Once again the Canadian government has shown how little it cares for the elderly and the disenfranchised. There was never any intention by those in power to support the Nortel pensioners in their time of need. Instead they played along, made promises and lied in order to buy time and to work deals to ensure that we pensioners once again are pushed to the bottom of the heap. Our plight and the desperate situation of the disabled Nortel people means nothing to these professional leeches.

Instead of living under the dictates of a single authoritarian like those Middle Eastern countries now in turmoil, Canada appears to live under the dictates of an anointed few who care nothing for the real people. Is that really democracy?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Morneau Shepell approves new pensions at 50%

As stated on the Koskie Minsky web site, it has been decided to offer the commuted value of new pensions to Nortel people at 50% of the full pension value and also provide the opportunity for disabled people who are not yet pension age to also take out their commuted value at the 50% level.
The details can be seen at:

I presume that this is an interim decision to offer 50% and that adjustments will be made when the final proper ratio is determined for the pension fund.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Offer to purchase claim

I received an interesting call today from Liquidity Solutions. They are making offers to unsecured creditors of Nortel to purchase claims at 40 cents on the dollar. I think that may be a good indication that the market thinks the Nortel estate will be worth more than 40 cents on the dollar. in fact I received an email from a colleague who had seen discussions that the outstanding Nortel bonds are selling around 80 cents.

So I think I am going to hold off selling at this point. Liquidity Solutions are sending me information about their offer. When I receive it I will post it here. I presume that this is related to the Nortel US company since that is the only one I have a claim against at this point

Here is some information on the bond sales sent to me by the colleague I mentioned above.,,SB10001424052748703960804576120463615113454,00.html

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bill C-501 status by John Rafferty MP

From Canadian House of Parliament

John Rafferty, MP. (Thunder Bay-Rainy River)

Week of February 11-17, 2011.

With the new session of parliament in full swing I’d like to give an update on Bill C-501 which is still making it’s through the legislative cycle. There have been some recent developments in regard to the bill and the way forward has become clearer in recent days.

Despite some erroneous media reports Bill C-501 is in fact alive and well and is continuing its journey through parliament. On occasion, the parliamentary process can be quite complex and it would seem that a few media outlets have misunderstood the impact of some recent developments. I just wanted to clarify first, and above all else, that C-501 will in fact be heading back to the House for a final vote sometime this spring.

Some of the confusion about the status of C-501 came with the defeat of a motion in the House of Commons that related to the bill. I realized that there was still some opposition among primarily Conservative, but also Liberal, MPs to the idea of putting pension plans ahead of banks and large financial institutions so I put forward a motion that could have enabled a compromise amendment to be negotiated between our parties. In short, I asked the House of Commons for permission to amend C-501 at the Industry Committee so that pensions and severance pay would be placed in the middle of the list of creditors during restructuring and bankruptcy proceedings instead of at the very front which the bill sought to do in its original form. Unfortunately, this motion was defeated but the bill itself remains alive and has not been impacted.

The type of motion that I tabled is known as a “Motion of Instruction” and it required the unanimous consent of the House of Commons in order to pass. The motion itself would have only allowed the negotiation process on C-501 to begin and empowered the Industry Committee to make a compromise amendment if it so desired. Putting pensions behind banks but ahead of all other creditors seemed like a common sense compromise and could have made it easier for many Conservative MPs to support the bill since it would have shielded the big banks from any and all fallout that could occur as a result of them being bumped down a notch in the list of creditors and being placed behind pension plans. However, instead of allowing a compromise to be negotiated in the Industry Committee, the Conservatives refused to grant their approval to the negotiation process and rejected the very idea of working together on the issue. This regrettable decision by the Conservatives was not shocking, but it was disappointing.

While my efforts to work with the other parties to reach a compromise on C-501 were essentially killed by the Conservatives the bill itself is still very much alive and kicking. As I write this column, C-501 is presently scheduled to be examined for a final time at the Industry, Science, and Technology Committee on Tuesday February 15th. There will be some minor amendments made to the bill to clear up some language issues, but I am not expecting any significant changes to be made to its content.

Once this last committee meeting is over with and the final version of C-501 is returned to the House there must be two further hours of debate and then a final vote at what is called ‘Third Reading.’ The two hours of debate are likely to occur in March or early April and the final vote is expected in early-to-mid April. In this final vote the support of the Liberals will be crucial to getting C-501 passed and moved into the Senate. If the Liberals show up and support this bill and agree to put the interests of pension plans and retirees ahead of banks and primary lenders, then the bill will move into the Senate where a new battle begins against those unelected and unaccountable Conservative senators; but we’ll cross that bridge when it comes.

So that is where C-501 is at presently – alive and well and moving forward. We now know that the bill will emerge from the Industry Committee sometime in the next week, and be back into the House in its final form for debate and a vote in the next 60 days. Had the Conservatives simply shown a willingness to cooperate on the bill and create a more moderate and workable version then its speedy passage could likely have been guaranteed. With that being said, there is still a lot of support among MPs for putting pensions and retirees ahead of banks, so my staff and I will be working hard in Ottawa to get the Liberals and Bloc on board and to ensure the bill makes it into the Senate. After that anything is possible.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

nortel patent sale delayed

According to a story on Reuters, the sale of Nortel patents has been delayed. It was hoped that the sale of the patents would realize close to $1B. According to Reuters Nortel has not been able to get a high enough starting bid on the patents.


There are 4000 Patents registered with the US office and around 1500 Canadian patents.

Any cash generated by the sale of the patents will help raise the final Nortel estate that will be split between creditors in multiple countries.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Nortel disabled take battle to Supreme Court

Toronto Sun

Nortel disabled take battle to Supreme Court


Last Updated: February 8, 2011 4:05pm

OTTAWA - For a group of former Nortel employees who had their long-term disability, health, dental and pension benefits cut off at the end of last year, there is nowhere to go but up.

The workers will stage their final stand outside the Supreme Court in their long-running attempt to be moved closer to the head of the creditor line when the dying company's assets are finally doled out.

The disabled workers object to a $57-million sunset deal negotiated by a court-appointed monitor with the company in February 2010.

In that deal, Nortel agreed to fund long-term disability benefits until Dec. 31, 2010. In exchange, the employees lost their right to sue the company and any of its executives over the drastically underfunded trust account Nortel had supposedly self-insured.

As common creditors, they can expect an average of only 34% of what they had been receiving up until the end of last year.

Once Nortel is legally out of business, the workers will find themselves in a pool with other common creditors fighting for a small percentage of the dead company's assets.

Unable to work, many are afraid they won't be able to afford expensive medications and bills without going on social assistance.

Mark Zigler of Koskie Minsky LLP, the court-appointed law firm representing the former workers, has repeatedly said court battles would be costly and doomed to failure.

Toronto attorney Joel Rochon came on board on an unpaid retainer last year and is leading the fight for the disabled with independent financial analyst Diane Urquhart.

No court date has yet been scheduled.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Nortel Canada Tel. No. discontinued

The following post was made on the Yahoo Nortel Pension Group regarding a message from Don Treen to NRPC members concerning the discontinuance of the 1-800 telephone number in Canada for Nortel.

We have been informed by Nortel US that the Canada 1-800 number for updating personal information with Nortel is no longer active. The number now is 1-919-905-9351. We had not been previously advised that this was going to occur and are disappointed that this step was taken without consultation with any of the employee/retiree representatives. Please ensure that if you have recently moved or had other personal life changes that you make the necessary changes to your records by calling the above number. You should put this number in your personal papers in the event that future changes need to be made.

Donald Treen

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Deferred compensation Nortel US

Docket 4840 on the Epiq web site contains a letter submitted by Daniel Ray on behalf of himself and acting with the approval of Nortel outlining the deferred compensation plan of 2000 that has impacted over 400 ex employees. His letter supports the company's position that the money in the fund is part of the general account and as such is only considered a claim on the estate as an unsecured creditor. His submission contains lots of attachments which outline the steps taken by Nortel to inform participants of the risk involved.

Unfortunately there is no other option according to Daniel Ray, although the company has been continuing to pay the deferred compensation to plan participants since the filing in 2009.

There have been multiple objections filed by plan participants affected, including at least one widow who has depended on these payments as a sole source of income. In spite of the fact that this money is real salary earned and set aside for future payments, Nortel is choosing to confiscate the money and deny the participants in the plan any hope of recouping all the moneys they earned. Instead they now join the queue of unsecured creditors who will be fighting over the remainder of the Nortel estate.

Considering the bonuses paid out to the remaining management in Nortel, this move smacks of Shylock extracting a final pound of flesh from the victims of Nortel's disdain and inhumanity. A once honorable and compassionate company appears to be guided now by charlatans and shysters.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tories kill NDP pension bill compromise

The following information was presented on John Rafferty's web site. Looks like Bill C501 is running into hard opposition from the Tories who seem to be puppets for the banks and bondholders.

Tories Kill NDP Efforts To Reach Compromise On Pensions
Wed 2 Feb 2011

Motion could have protected banks, secured pensions during bankruptcy proceedings

OTTAWA – Today, Conservative MPs refused to grant their consent to a New Democrat motion in the House of Commons that would have allowed a compromise deal to be reached on Bill C-501, to secure pensions and severance pay for millions of Canadian workers when their employers entered restructuring or bankruptcy proceedings. It would also have shielded banks from any risk associated with the proposed change.

“The majority of Conservative MPs voted against C-501 at Second Reading because they said putting pension deficits at the top of the creditors list would have posed too great a risk to our banks and primary lenders,” said John Rafferty (Thunder Bay – Rainy River) the New Democrat MP who tabled the bill.

“The motion I tabled in the House today would have allowed the Industry Committee to consider a compromise amendment to the bill that would have eliminated the risks to banks and secured creditors entirely while ensuring that pensions and severance pay of millions of workers was more secure in bankruptcy proceedings. Sadly, the Conservatives would not consent to the motion and thus rejected the very idea of reaching a compromise on the matter.”

When asked who was behind the Conservative decision to defeat the motion Rafferty said he had a pretty good idea. “In a Westminster system of parliament such as ours it is the House Leaders in the individual party caucuses that are responsible for giving directions to their MPs to support or oppose such motions,” Rafferty noted. “As the Conservative House Leader, John Baird (Ottawa West - Nepean) had to have been the one who gave the orders to Conservative MPs in the House to oppose this motion.”

Rafferty said the Conservatives’ determination to defeat what was a fairly benign motion defied basic common sense. “It’s hard to imagine Stephen Harper’s Conservatives opposing a motion to allow a compromise on a bill to help millions of Canadians – but they did just that,” he said. “Mr. Baird in particular should have gone out of his way to encourage negotiation and a compromise on this issue given what transpired at Nortel. Instead, he basically vetoed the idea of reaching a compromise.”

Despite the setback, Rafferty said he will continue to lobby hard to get C-501 passed at Third Reading in the House of Commons and into the Senate before the summer.

“There is a strong moral case that the pensions and severance pay of workers should come before banks and large financial institutions during corporate restructuring and bankruptcy proceedings,” he said. “It passed one vote already, so MPs clearly see the importance and necessity of such reform.”

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

No impact on cash from Nortel accounting rule change

Earlier I posted an announcement from Nortel regarding an accounting change that would include a charge of $2B. At that time I wondered if that change would impact the cash left in the Nortel estate when it finally goes under.

I received the following comment from a memeber of the NRPC team, which indicates that there would be no impact

There is no direct cash impact on any of the country estates. Koskie Minsky has checked this out for us. This is strictly an accounting issue on how charges are allocated now that subsidiaries are being sold.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Rafferty Petition on Pension Security

John Rafferty (NDP) MP for Thunder Bay - Rainy River has initiated a petition asking the Government to enact legislation to ensure Pension Security.

This petition is being sent to pensioners and former employees of many other Canadian companies caught in the middle of bankruptcy proceedings.

This petition is in support of Bill C-501.

All Canadians should sign this petition and send it back to Mr. Rafferty's office. No postage is required in Canada. This new bill is intended to help all Canadians who may suffer a loss of pension due to company bankruptcy.

Mr. Rafferty will arrange for supportive MPs of all parties to present these petitions in Parliament as often as possible.

Mr Rafferty's web site is

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Canadian Supreme Court rejects UK Pension claim

The following story was on - Jan. 27, 2011.

Supreme Court of Canada rejects U.K. Nortel pensioners claims in Canada

27/01/2011 6:08:00 PM

The Canadian Press
TORONTO - Canada's top court has dismissed an appeal by the U.K. Pensions Regulator that argued it should have the right to collect funds from bankrupt Nortel Networks Corp. for pensioners in Britain.

The Supreme Court of Canada said Thursday said it would not hear an appeal from the U.K. body after an Ontario court ruled against it last March.

The leave to appeal was dismissed by the Supreme Court with costs to all respondents except a group calling themselves the Former Employees and Disabled Employees of Nortel.

The U.K. pension body had attempted to force the Canadian company to pay U.K. pensioners about 2.1 billion pounds, or about $4 billion as it is permitted under that country's 2004 Pensions Act.

Nortel representatives claimed the attempt breached the terms of its creditor agreement filed in Canada, while an Ontario judge ruled that the British regulator's actions were null and void under Canadian law.

Although the U.K. statute extends beyond the British borders, Nortel's insolvency agreement was under Canadian jurisdiction and the claim did not apply, the judge ruled.

Toronto-based Nortel, once Canada's biggest technology company and one of the world's biggest telecom equipment suppliers, has been selling off most of its business under court protection since January 2009.

Nortel sought creditor protection in the United States and Canada on Jan. 14, 2009.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

NRPC townhall in Montreal on CTV

The NRPC held a townhall meeting in Lasalle on January 25th. It was reported on CTV Montreal news and a short story placed on the web.

There are a number of positive comments following the article which you can see at the URL shown at the bottom of this post.

Former Nortel employees fighting to save pensions

Nortel pensioners attend a meeting in LaSalle (Jan. 25, 2011)
Updated: Tue Jan. 25 2011 2:56:16 PM

LASALLE — Some of Nortel's former employees met in LaSalle Tuesday, and they were not impressed with what they heard: many are likely to see their pensions be cut in half in the months to come.

Nortel filed for bankruptcy in January 2009, and pensioners and other ex-employees soon learned that they come toward the end of the long list of creditors.

Employees like Ken Lyons say they should be at the front.

"It is a most important issue and it's one thing, we've got all the opposition parties in agreement with us," said Lyons.

The company had already shortchanged its pension plan by about $2.5 billion because it was self-insured, and according to Canadian law, pensioners are considered unsecured creditors.

Funds from the pension plan were transferred to bonds when Nortel declared bankruptcy, and the bond market has not performed as well as the stock market.

Ever since the former employees have banded together and lobbied the federal government to change the law regarding pension plans and those for disabled employees.

However that now seems very unlikely, since last November the Conservative majority in the Senate's banking committee recommended against passing bill S-216, which would have permitted employees who were on long-term disability plans when Nortel went under to extend their benefits.

"We'll remember at election time," vowed Lyons.

3,500 former Nortel employees live in Quebec.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Nortel Cost of Sales Accounting change

The following note was published on the Nortel web site. As noted the change will result in a non-cash charge of $2 billion. I hope that means the change will not impact the estate cash available for settling outstanding claims.

Nortel cost of sales


January 13, 2011

Nortel* Networks Corporation (OTCBB:NRTLQ) and Nortel Networks Limited (together, Nortel) announced they have now determined that Nortel’s U.S. subsidiaries and the subsidiaries they control will be deconsolidated and accounted for under the cost method of accounting, effective as of October 1 2010.

This change is largely based on Nortel’s work toward standalone debtor estates due to the diminishing interdependency between the estates primarily resulting from the sale of substantially all of Nortel’s global businesses. The change in accounting is currently expected to result in a fourth quarter 2010 non-cash charge of over US$2 billion, subject to finalization of Nortel’s year end close process. The charge is primarily related to the recognition of intercompany liabilities between the Canadian estate and U.S. estate that previously were eliminated upon consolidation of the financial results.

The estates continue to work together toward fulfilling Nortel’s obligations under the transition services agreements with purchasers of its sold businesses, as well as in other areas such as efforts to optimize the value of Nortel’s intellectual property portfolio.

As previously reported, Nortel will continue to evaluate the method of accounting for all its subsidiaries.

For more information, visit Nortel on the Web at . For the latest Nortel news, visit .

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Nortel Canada Disable get a tax break on HWT payout

The following story was presented in the Toronto Sun last week. According to the reporter, the Nortel disabled employees in Canada will get a small break here in that they won't have to pay tax on any payout from the HWT trust.

News Canada
Nortel disabled benefits to be tax free

Last Updated: January 13, 2011 8:48pm OTTAWA
- The tax man is giving disabled Nortel employees a break.

Canada Revenue Agency won't be collecting taxes on the payments the workers get from their underfunded health and welfare trust.

On Dec. 31 the roughly 400 disabled employees lost their disability, health, life, dental and pension benefits. They're now left as common creditors, meaning they'll get only an average of about 34% of what they had been living on.

Many are afraid that they won't be able to afford their everyday bills, much less expensive medications. Most are unable to work.

"This is the first really good news we've heard," the workers' court-appointed representative, Sue Kennedy, said Thursday. "Any little help is better than no help at all."

Kennedy also said that she recently met with Government House Leader John Baird, who said the government is looking into ways to further assist the workers, though as yet nothing concrete has been offered.

The employees were thrust into this position because Nortel drastically underfunded its trust fund.

A group of about 30 of them have been fighting to move closer to the head of the line when the company's assets are doled out.

The Ontario Court of Appeal denied a leave to appeal motion brought by a group Jan.7. They were given 60 days to decide whether to take their case to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Meanwhile, Nortel said it will incur a $2-billion charge for a new accounting method related to the sale of its operations.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

NRPC Townhall information presented.

The NRPC held a townhall meeting on January 14th for NRPC members in Ottawa. There are 4 other town halls scheduled for later. You can find out more information by going to the NRPC site. Members of the NRPC can access the information presented in the members' section. (See link in right hand column). The slides used in the meeting were also posted on the Nortel Yahoo group by a group member. at:

The NRPC has presented information on topics that are important to all Nortel ex-employees including political action,pension plan status, FSM model,the HWT decision, Morneau Sobeco, estimated timeline etc.

It looks like the reduction in pension will occur sometime in the second quarter 2011 and will be timed to coincide with the start of Ontario payouts from the PBGF.

According to a voicemail message I received today Koskie Minsky will not participate in this webinar but will hold one later in the year, probably during the second quarter.

NRPC Webinar January 28th

The following information was posted on the Koskie Minsky web site:


The NRPC is hosting a webcast on January 28th, 2011 from 1:00 – 3:00 Eastern to provide an update for those unable to attend one of the five NRPC town hall meetings that are being held during January. The webcast will cover progress on political actions, replacement insurance and topics for terminated employees. Legal actions will not be covered during this NRPC webcast and Koskie Minsky will not be represented on the call. Further Koskie Minsky webcasts will be scheduled in the future so please visit our website regularly for announcements about upcoming webcasts.

Participants who wish to register for the NRPC’s January 28 webcast can do so through the following link:    

Anyone without Internet access can call dial-in (listen only) by first registering through Koskie Minsky. Please leave a voicemail with your name and telephone number on the Koskie Minsky hotline at:

1-866-777-6344 between January 17th – 26th.

A representative will contact you to provide the dial-in number for the webcast

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Morneau Sobeco response to some questions.

Late last year I wrote to Morneau Sobeco for some clarification on a few items regarding the wind up of the Nortel Canada pension plan.

The following information was provided to me by one of their representatives working on the Nortel plan.

1) The reductions in pensions will occur as soon as we have determined the appropriate funded level of the plan. You will receive notification in writing before this reduction takes place. We will not wait until the wind up report is approved. Reducing pensions early in the wind up process does help minimize the impact of any overpayment to pensioners at the end of wind up process.

2) Claims have already been made against the estate of Nortel. This occurred prior to Morneau Sobeco's appointment and we continue to be involved in the negotiations. Any settlement would be included in the assets used to determine the wind up funded ratio and ultimately affect the final payments. The timing of the settlement will determine if it can be included in the wind up payments or be dealt with after the wind up payments have been completed.

3) Indexing is not considered in the calculations for the PBGF coverage. Normally Indexing ends immediately when an Ontario plan winds up and annuities are purchased without indexing in respect of members in receipt of a monthly pension. However, Nortel is very different from most pension plans and no decisions have been made yet regarding what options members will receive after the wind up report has been approved.

If you would like any further information, you could contact Morneau Sobeco at (877)392-2074.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Objection to NNI taking over deferred compensation trust

On December 22, 2010 Nortel filed a motion before the court as outlined in docket 4638 to seek relief regarding the "rabbi" trust that holds the funds placed in there by Nortel employees who thought they were deferring salary to be paid to them at a later date out of the trust.

Unfortunately the trust was established in such a way that Nortel could take back the funds without any fear of legal action by the employees who had, in good faith, placed part of their compensation into the trust.

A number of employees have been receiving monthly or quarterly payouts from that trust believing that it was secure and was their own money. After all they had earned it and had simply placed it into the trust to be deferred until a later date. The money is not a severance, nor a pension, nor a promise. it is actual earnings that they owned, not Nortel.

However the sneakiness of the "Rabbi" trust system allows Nortel to plunder it without repercussion and take it away from the people it belongs to. All legal.

One person so far has objected formally to this plunder. See docket 4710 published on January 13th 2011.

I suggest that others who are impacted by this also place objections before the court. It may cause some re-thinking.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Nortel Canada disabled appeal denied in Ontario court

The following paragraph was included in a story in the Ottawa Citizen yesterday.

The Ontario Court of Appeal has denied dissenting Nortel disabled employees the right to appeal the division of an $80 million health and welfare trust. The group is considering an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. There is only enough money in the underfunded trust to support about 35 per cent of long-term disability survivor benefits for widows and life insurance coverage for pensioners. Benefits were cut off at the start of this month and it will take many more months to determine how much more the groups will receive from other Nortel assets.

Read more:\

Monday, January 10, 2011

Nortel Dallas Campus up for sale

The following story was published in the Dallas Morning News today:

05:37 PM CST on Friday, January 7, 2011

By STEVE BROWN / The Dallas Morning News

One of the biggest suburban office campuses in the Dallas area is up for grabs. Real estate brokers at CB Richard Ellis have been hired to market the more than 800,000-square-foot former Nortel headquarters on North Central Expressway in Richardson.

The two-building Telecom Corridor complex includes a 16-story tower and a three story, almost 400,000-square-foot research and development center. Most of the high profile property is now vacant. Owner Nortel Networks has been in bankruptcy for the last year.

“It’s an orderly bankruptcy liquidation, and everything is being approved through the court,” said Gary Carr, executive vice president in CB Richard Ellis’ investment property division. “We are going to try and get it moved by April.”

International defense and high-tech conglomerate Raytheon Corp. recently looked at buying the property. But the deal never closed. “Raytheon was very close to consolidating and taking the building at one point,” Carr said. “It’s the largest block of office space like this in the Metroplex.

“It represents one of the best corporate relocation potentials in the area,” he said.

The buildings were constructed in 1991 and at one time housed thousands of Nortel workers. They are within walking distance of a DART light rail station. Ericsson and Avaya Inc. currently lease about 30 percent of the buildings. Carr, who’s working on the sale with CB Richard Ellis’ Russell Ingrum, Jack Fraker and Josh McArtor, said the plan is to sell both buildings to the same buyer. “It’s a landmark that stands out architecturally,” Carr said.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Georgia's New Tax Plan will negatively impact seniors

Currently in Georgia, seniors may earn up to $30,000 from pensions or retirement savings interest without paying state taxes on it. This ruling was put in place to help seniors survive on a fixed income. It was also meant to attract out of state seniors who might otherwise consider moving to tax free states like Florida,Tennessee, or Texas to retire in.

Now a new plan is being proposed that would eliminate that exemption, and also add a new state sales tax to life necessities such as groceries.

The new Georgia tax proposal is simply a ruse to increase taxes on seniors and the poor, and give tax breaks to businesses and the wealthy. It means a huge reduction in disposable income for seniors, and a jump in the cost of living that will not be reflected in any social security increase. Is this what they mean by fair tax?

With the rush of Georgia to become a single party state with a business first attitude, and a focus only on the desires of the rich and their lobbyists, who is going to speak for and protect the old, the weak and the poor, a cultural value that our country used to pride itself on?

With this Georgian attitude, Florida looks better all the time to the large and growing population of Georgia seniors. How is it going to help Georgia when all the money they spend moves south?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Canada's ill treatment of disabled.

The following was sent to me by Diane Urquhart who is fighting to help the Nortel Disabled as they face incredibly inhumane treatment by the Canadian government and the bankruptcy courts.

A most telling statistic is the picayune benefits provided by Canada as compared to more humane countries like the UK and the US.

For example a disabled parent with 2 children receives annually:

In Canada $18,408.

In the USA $48,780.

In the UK $47,509.

What has happened to Canada? Where is your conscience? Your government has apparently turned you into a bunch of right-wing money grubbing capitalists with no compassion. That's not the Canada I knew. Time for Canadians to waken up.......

Article follows:

Nortel employees seek legal clarity around health and welfare trust

Diane Urquhart | January 05, 2011

The dissenting disabled employees of Nortel have filed a leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal of Ontario to gain a last minute reprieve from the life of poverty and medical crisis they feel they will face now that their health and welfare trust (HWT) has been terminated, a move that went into affect on Jan.1, 2011.

A decision on whether the appeal will be heard is expected to come soon.

Many Canadians with disabilities live in poverty due to grossly inadequate Canada Pension Plan (CPP) disability income. A single person with a disability receives a maximum of $13,521 per year. A disabled parent with two children receives only a maximum of only $18,408 per year. Nortel disabled employees have average medical costs of $7,200, with one at $50,000 per year.

These benefits are under par when compared to benefits in the U.S. and U.K. In the U.S, a disabled person with two children gets $48, 780 per year from Social Security and the U.K. Pension Protection Fund provides for $47,509 a year.

This appeal will define whether vested pensioner life insurance benefits are the legal obligation of the employer or of the legally distinct HWT. If the court precedent is for vested pensioner life insurance benefits to be legal obligations of an HWT, 1.1 million Canadians in self-insured disability income plans had better opt out of their employer plans and seek personal disability insurance coverage.

The actuarial liabilities for disability income are always a small proportion of the total actuarial liabilities for pensioners vested life insurance benefits and disability income due to only 0.9% of the workforce is disabled. HWT’s are generally not fully funded. When deficient HWT assets are used to pay both pensioners life insurance and disability income on an HWT termination, the disabled get deeply compromised.

In his Nov. 9, 2010 decision, the Nortel Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act judge, Justice Geoffrey Morawetz, added the following words to interpret the meaning of future benefits in the 1980 Nortel HWT Trustee Agreement termination clause: “claims that would certainly have been made in the future.” The termination clause says: “The trustee shall also determine on a sound actuarial basis the amount of money necessary to pay and satisfy all future benefits and claims to be made under the plan in respect of benefits and claims up to the date of notice of termination.”

The added words allow a lump-sum payment of $3,500 each to the 10,000 living pensioners from the HWT. The 400 disabled are left with a lump-sum settlement from the HWT that funds just 27% of their disability income until age 65, death or recovery.

The leave to appeal asks that legal interpretation of “future benefits and claims” be made in the context of “incurred claims.” Under accepted insurance and actuarial principles and practices, future benefits relate only to incurred claims for insured events that have already occurred prior to the termination of the contract. Deaths benefits for living pensioners are not incurred claims, because the insured event of death has not occurred prior to the termination of the HWT.

Justice Geoffrey Morawetz’s Nov. 9, 2010 Nortel HWT decision conflicts with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) rules for HWTs. The income tax act has had a clause since 1979, of no tax deduction for employer contributions paying for life insurance beyond the current year. The Nortel HWT has always had pensioners’ group one-year term life insurance policies that are automatically terminated upon Nortel’s receivership or bankruptcy. CRA ruling documents clearly say that HWT’s have no liability for future life insurance premiums and must not have a permanent surplus.

On the other hand, future disability income is part of the incurred claim from the onset of disability before the HWT’s termination. According to a 1979 CRA interpretation bulletin, a self-insured disability wage loss replacement plan is to operate on insurance principles and like “an insurance plan.” So, the HWT does have a legal obligation to pay the future income of the disabled beneficiaries.

The 1998 Canadian Pacific Railway law case reinforces that HWT assets funding future disability income are not a contingent reserve, but a legal obligation.

It is surprising that income tax act rules for HWTs, which are a CRA defined vehicle, have been ignored by Justice Geoffrey Morawetz and the counsel representing the employer, court monitor, pensioners, and the disabled and continuing employees.

The appeal will clarify whether income tax rules for HWTs and insurance and actuarial principles and practices may be ignored in the interpretation of HWT trustee agreements.

Diane A. Urquhart is an independent financial analyst working as a financial expert in class actions, bankruptcy proceedings and governments hearings on legislative reform and regulatory enforcement of securities, pension plans and health and welfare trusts.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


It has been a while since I heard anything about what is happening on the mediation talks between all the parties trying to determine the allocation of Nortel Estate assets between countries. I spoke to a representative of Koskie Minsky about a month ago and she told me that they were participating. I also expect that the monitor Ernst and Young is there as well. I don't know if the Canadian Government is represented though I would think that the CRA has a big interest. The creditor's committee is most likely involved, which means that the PBGC is in there looking after the USA pension trust fund that pays retirees in the US when companies go bankrupt. The UK is in there with their pension protection fund people and they have an outrageous sized claim on the global estate. So where is Canada?

It would be nice if Koskie Minsky gave us a hint of what is happening, or the NRPC for that matter. This mediation will have a huge impact on all claimants whether in the US or Canada but the Canadian pensioners and LTD people will be directly impacted since they are waiting on the resolution to understand if there will be any assistance to them for their pensions and disabled payment benefits. Retirees in the USA and the UK are already covered by their respective governments up to the limits and within the rules of those organizations, but the Canadian pensioners are at the mercy of the courts and the administrator where their pension is concerned.

A decision in favor of Canada may negatively impact other country claimants but it will have no impact on the basic qualified pensions that are being paid to retirees in the US and the UK. It will have an impact on retirees in Canada since their pension trust fund is underwater and has a claim against the estate which if paid out could help enhance the amount of pension they receive. The same situation exists for the Canadian Disabled people who have virtually nothing in the portion of the HWT fund that they were allocated by the court. They have a claim against the estate for the money promised them and a payout there would make a huge difference to them.

I don't understand why we are not being kept better informed on the progress of this and other items such as Morneau Sobeco's progress on determining the funding ratio of the fund.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Canadian NRPC Town Hall Meetings 2011

In the latest newsletter the Canadian NRPC has announced that there will be a series of town hall meetings in 2011. The following meetings have been set up:

Jan 12 Belleville 10am-noon Greek Hall
70 Harder Dr.,Belleville, ON, K8N 4Z5

Jan 14 Ottawa noon-2pm Nepean Sportsplex
1701 Woodroffe Avenue, Ottawa, K2G 1W2

Jan 18 London 1pm-3pm Marconi Club,
120 Clarke Road, London, ON N5W 5E1

Jan 20 GTA 10am-noon Mississauga Conv. Centre
Derry Rd at Hurontaio

Jan 25 Montreal Centre de recéption Sorrento
1275 Avenue Dollard, Lasalle, QC H8N 2J1
10am-noon English
1:30pm-3:30pm French

For people in smaller locations and outside Canada there will be a webinar on Friday 28th 2011 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Canadian NRPC Annual dues

The NRPC have issued a newsletter sent by email to their paying membership.
One item on the newsletter and also published on the NRPC website is the request for members to pay an annual dues of $20 CDN.

For those of you who wish to join or re-join you can do so by logging on to their website and following the instructions.

Personally I think the $20 fee is reasonable considering the work that they are doing to try to help us. Perhaps the fee could be waived for disabled people, and widows or widowers of retired Nortel people who wish to join.

I know that there are many Nortel retirees and ex-employees who are not members of the NRPC and that's their choice. Perhaps it's because they don't know about it, or because they just don't want to join for various reasons.

I believe firmly that all ex-Nortel people should get what ever information is out there on this situation, whether you are a member of the NRPC or not so I will continue to try to keep people informed as we go through these difficult times.

Please feel free to pass on my blog address to your friends and colleagues. However, I would like to point out that the information I place on this blog is not a substitute for being a member of the NRPC and receiving information directly from them. But since my interest is in both Canada and the USA I will try to provide updates for both areas.

I hope this new year will bring some closure to the situation and that it will be better than our expectations.