OTTAWA – Bill C-501, sponsored by NDP MP John Rafferty (Thunder Bay–Rainy River), passed another key vote in the House of Commons on Wednesday by a 164 to 119 margin. The bill, which would secure the severance and termination pay of workers when a company enters restructuring or bankruptcy, has one vote left to pass in the House of Commons before it moves into the Senate.
“I’m very pleased. We are making some good progress on this bill, and I am hopeful that it will be in the Senate before the summer,” Rafferty said. “We’ve worked hard to put workers at the front of the line of creditor claims when a company fails. We’re almost there.”
Despite the passage of C-501 at the Report Stage of the bill, Rafferty said he was disappointed that the Conservatives are still running interference on the bill and trying to defeat it.
“The Conservatives just don’t get it. They’re 10,000 feet in the air and have no idea what families go through when a company fails and their jobs, severance pay and pensions are all lost. We’ve seen it firsthand in Northwestern Ontario with Buchanan, and I’ve raised this case repeatedly, but Stephen Harper and his Conservatives are choosing to listen to their well-paid corporate lobbyists instead.”
When originally tabled, Rafferty’s C-501 proposed granting pension plans and the severance/termination pay of workers ‘secured’ creditor status and put them at the front of the line during bankruptcy proceedings, but Conservative MPs teamed with those from the Bloc Quebecois to remove all mention of pensions from the bill during committee hearings.
With the successful vote today just one more legislative hurdle remains for Bill C-501. It must pass the vote at Third Reading in the House before heading to the Senate.