Manitoba offers pension deferral to prospective pulp mill buyer

The Manitoba government has approved a deferral of pension payments to help the sale of the troubled Tolko Industries pulp and paper mill in The Pas.

The province passed a statutory regulation to provide temporary relief through a potential three-year exemption from amortized pension solvency requirements concerning the existing Tolko employee pension plans in Manitoba. The exemption is subject to agreement by more than two-thirds of Tolko’s current employees as a group and more than two-thirds of the pensioners and other beneficiaries as a group.

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Premier Brian Pallister said the payments total roughly $20 million, and cautioned that the potential sale to American Industrial Acquisition Corp., which was announced in September, is not a done deal.

“A different approach is required, one that balances the importance of supporting businesses that invest and create jobs, while responsibly managing taxpayer money for the benefit of all Manitobans,” said Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Cliff Cullen.

“Our government is therefore very pleased to have played a part in facilitating this agreement, a development, which if approved by current employees and pension plan members, will preserve existing jobs that would otherwise be lost in The Pas and surrounding communities.”

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