Creditor challenges regulator’s move to wind up Sears Canada pension plan

The Ontario financial regulator’s move to wind up the Sears Canada Inc. pension plan will be proceeding to a hearing after a creditor of the struggling retailer requested one.

Sears itself didn’t request a hearing, which interested parties had the ability to do up until a mid-December deadline. The creditor, 1291079 Ontario Ltd., made the request on Dec. 7 amid Sears’ ongoing restructuring proceedings under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act before the Ontario Superior Court.

Read: Ontario pension regulator seeks Sears pension windup

“We file the request for hearing form in the event that Sears Canada Inc. itself does not file a request for hearing form, as we believe it is obligated to do, given its board of directors’ fiduciary duty to creditors to not knowingly allow events to transpire outside the Sears CCAA proceedings which may have the effect of altering priorities as among creditors, without the involvement and supervision of the Honourable Mr. Justice [Glenn] Hainey and the ability of all creditors to make submissions to his honour about such matters,” wrote counsel for the numbered company in a letter to Ontario’s Financial Services Tribunal.

On Nov. 10, Ontario’s superintendent of financial services issued a notice of an intended decision to wind up the Sears plan, which has a large funding deficit. In light of the numbered company’s request, the tribunal is now looking so schedule a pre-hearing conference. Sears, which is now liquidating its stores, has since applied for party status at the hearing.

Read: Sears Canada retirees launch motion to force windup of pension plan