Libby’s Bill to Amend the Canada Pension Plan

Libby tabled a Private Member’s Bill in the House of Commons today. The bill would amend the Canada Pension Plan to allow people to designate a survivor in the case where survivor benefits are paid out. She made the following presentation in Parliament.

JUNE 14, 2010
House of Commons

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP) :

Moved for leave to introduce Bill C-538, An Act to Amend the Canada Pension Plan (designation of survivor).

She said: Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise in the House today to present this bill. It would amend the Canada pension plan to allow a contributor to designate as the beneficiary of their survivor pension someone who is not their spouse or common-law partner. I would like to thank the member for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek for seconding the bill.

This came to my attention because a constituent was recently diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare and lethal form of cancer, as a result of her being exposed to asbestos in the workplace. She is only 50 years old. Her doctor says that her cancer is inoperable and that her prognosis is one year. She is now trying to put all of her affairs in order before the inevitable and has discovered to her great dismay that the CPP survivor benefits are provided only to a spouse or children.

As she has never married or had children, she wishes to designate a beneficiary, but the legislation prohibits her from doing so. My constituent believes that this legislation amounts to theft of her hard-earned CPP contributions, which she has paid into for 25 years. The purpose of this bill is to ensure that this grievous inequity does not exist and that people in this position can designate someone as their beneficiary.