Canadian workers have won new legal protection for their wages and pension contributions if their employer goes bankrupt as a result of new legislation.

Bill C-12 – An Act to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, the Wage Earner Protection Program Act and Chapter 47 of the Statutes of Canada, 2005 has received Royal Assent.

“Canadian workers will finally be protected when their employers declare bankruptcy,” says Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec. “They will get paid what’s owed to them in a timely manner, and that is a protection they deserve.”

The Canadian Labour Congress says this legislation marks the end of a long and determined campaign by the labour movement to change bankruptcy laws which too often saw employees suffer the loss of wages, benefits and even their pension savings because banks and other creditors were given priority. The Act also provides for protection of unpaid pension contributions.

“Canadians have been waiting a long time for these protection measures,” says Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress. “It is not just unionized workers that will benefit but every working woman and man in Canada—whether they are in a union or not—that will have this protection as soon as the government proclaims the Act.”

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