A primer on Sears Canada employees’ battle to protect their pensions

With former Sears Canada Inc.’ employees set to see a 30 per cent reduction in their pension benefits beginning Aug. 1, Benefits Canada looks back at the saga.

June 2017 — Sears Canada announces it’s seeking protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act as it faces a $308.6-million deficit related to its retirement benefit obligations.

August 2017 — Counsel for Sears’ employees and retirees file a motion seeking a plan windup.

September 2017 — The company suspends its special payments at the end of the month and ceases to provide post-retirement benefits, including life insurance, medical and dental coverage.

Oct. 10, 2017 — Sears Canada announces it will seek a liquidation order from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Oct. 17, 2017 — The Ontario Superintendent of Financial Services selects Morneau Shepell Ltd. to take over the administration of Sears Canada’s pension plan.

March 29, 2018 — Ontario’s Liberal government announces in its annual budget that the pension benefits guarantee fund will boost its monthly coverage limit by 50 per cent to $1,500 from $1,000. It also backdates the change to ensure Sears pensioners would be eligible for the extra money.

July 20, 2018 — Sears Canada retirees, through their legal counsel Koskie Minsky LLP, filed a motion in court seeking the retailer’s remaining cash to help fund their pension shortfall.

Aug. 1, 2018 — Retirees are set to see a 30 per cent reduction to their monthly pension benefits beginning today.