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Labour sounds alarm over pension law ruling

August 08, 2009

On Friday August 7, 2009, the Supreme Court of Canada held that an employer can use the surplus in a defined benefit plan covering some of its employees to fund its contributions and expenses in a defined contribution plan created for new employees.

The Canadian Press interviewed “top labour lawyer” Steven Barrett, who represented the Canadian Labour Congress in the appeal. The CLC intervened in support of the appellants – the members of the original defined benefit plan. Steven called for government action to protect pensions in the wake the decision, and suggested that the decision bolstered a call recently made by Canada’s premiers for a national summit on pensions.

Steven also stated:

If anything, I think it reinforces the call for government and legislative action to enhance the pension plans of workers who are facing retirement with either pension plans that have been seriously eroded over the last year or so, or workers who simply have no, or inadequate, pension coverage.

[The court] in fact says it is up to legislatures and governments to develop pension plans that protect workers.


Steven Barrett

Practice Areas

Pension & Benefits Law