OTTAWA – NDP Labour Critic Libby Davies (Vancouver East) applauded the new Wage Earner Protection Program Act, which received Royal Assent in the House of Commons last week.
“This bill will protect workers’ wages and key pension benefits when companies go bankrupt,” said Davies. “Keeping up the pressure on the Liberals and the Conservatives has finally been successful. I’m pleased that we are taking this step forward to begin putting workers’ rights before those of banks and corporations.”
In late 2005, the Wage Earner Protection Program Act, based on NDP MP Pat Martin’s private member’s bill, was passed in Parliament. However, the Liberal government failed to proclaim into law any of the substantive sections of the bill, leaving hard-working Canadians empty-handed. In this Parliament, the NDP pushed the Conservatives to stop stalling and move this legislation forward.
The NDP also congratulated the United Steelworkers of Canada and the Canadian Labour Congress for their tireless work on this bill. “The NDP is proud of its important relationship with Canada’s labour movement. Together, we got positive results for working families,” said Davies.
NDP Pensions Critic Chris Charlton (Hamilton Mountain) also applauded the achievement, but pointed out that much work remains to be done. Charlton has re-introduced the Workers First Bill, which would make workers’ pension payments a priority when a company goes bankrupt.
“Employees spend years working in exchange for pay and a pension,” said Charlton. “When companies go bankrupt, banks and suppliers often recover their money before workers see a single cent of what they are owed for their work. The Workers First Bill would make life more secure for workers and their families by making pensions the first priority.”