North

Bill 1 to get more scrutiny from Nunavut MLAs

Nunavut MLAs have extended the review period for a controversial piece of legislation. Bill 1, the Northern Employee Benefits Services Pension Plan Act, could affect the pensions of retired government workers.
About 150 people gathered outside the N.W.T. legislative assembly earlier this month to voice concerns about Bill 12, the Northern Employees Benefits Pension Plan Act. The same legislation has been introduced in Nunavut as Bill 1. (Elizabeth McMillan/CBC)

Nunavut MLAs have extended the review period for a controversial piece of legislation.

Bill 1, the Northern Employee Benefits Services Pension Plan Act, could affect the pensions of retired government workers.

That concerns unions in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, where the same legislation, has been introduced as Bill 12.

The unions say the legislation could allow some pension benefits to be retroactively clawed back if there is a downturn in the market.

On a website, called Stop Bill 12, the Public Service Alliance of Canada and other unions says the bill contains “fundamental flaws” and does not protect pension plan members’ interests.

The unions also say they haven’t been consulted.

Joe Savikataaq is chair of Nunavut’s Standing Committee on Legislation, which asked for an extension to review the bill.

“It’s very important to recognize that today’s motion in no way be interpreted as opposition to the idea of introducing new legislation to govern the Northern Employee Benefits Service pension plan.”

Tom Sammurtok, the minister of Community and Government Services, which is responsible for the bill, will continue to move legislation forward, “to ensure that municipal corporation employees are covered by a pension and can enjoy a good standard of living in retirement.”

Cabinet abstained from voting, but the motion passed with all regular MLAs voting in favour of the extension.

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