Since my election I have made a commitment to engaging people across the riding and from all walks of life. In January I hosted a town hall discussion for seniors at the West Thunder Community Centre. Approximately 30 people were in attendance to discuss a range of issues that affect seniors in the riding.
A large portion of the discussion focused on the recent introduction of Bill C-27, a bill aimed at increasing pension flexibility through Target Benefit Plans (TBP). Community members expressed questions and concerns regarding the impact such a bill would have on direct benefit pension plans for public and private sector employees and retirees.
I was able to explain that messaging from the Finance Minister indicated transferring benefits from an existing plan to a Target Benefit Plan (TBP) is optional and that the federal TBP framework requires individual informed consent from plan members and retirees before their accrued defined benefit or defined contribution benefits may be surrendered in exchange for TBP benefits.
The Minister further indicated that individuals who do not consent will maintain their benefits in their current form. Additionally, in unionized environments, a union will be able to consent on behalf of its membership where authorized to do so, and finally, the new TBP framework does not involve changes to federal public sector pension plans, which are governed by other statutes.
Other issues addressed during the discussion centred on the Canadian Pension Plan, Guaranteed Income Supplement, and Old Age Security.
I always encourage and appreciate community members coming out to these discussions and expressing their support or concerns regarding new legislation. Public feedback is invaluable to me; connecting with the people of Thunder Bay-Rainy River is essential to my work in the House of Commons.
I thank everyone that the time to share their voice so I can ensure I’m representing the needs of my community in Ottawa, and I encourage individuals with any further questions to contact my office.