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Ontario can’t save auto pensions

Ontario’s pension plan safety net isn’t large enough to cover auto workers if GM goes bankrupt, Premier Dalton McGuinty warned Wednesday.

Ontario’s pension plan safety net isn’t large enough to cover auto workers if GM goes bankrupt, Premier Dalton McGuinty warned Wednesday.

“The money available in that is very, very modest,” McGuinty said, noting the Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund totals about $100 million — not nearly enough to cover the billions of dollars involved in the automakers’ pensions.

“That comes nowhere near meeting any liabilities — for example, for the auto sector alone, to say nothing of all the other sectors.”

On Tuesday, Federal Industry Minister Tony Clement said Canadians need to be prepared for possible bankruptcy filings in the auto sector.

McGuinty wouldn’t say whether he agreed with Ottawa’s assertions, but maintained he’s committed to helping the sector, whether it faces court-ordered bankruptcy protection or not.

“I just don’t want people to equate proceedings inside the court as somehow spelling the end of the industry in Ontario because that’s not what it would be about,” he said.

Still, there’s a “real pension issue” in the province, and even topping up the safety net may not be an option.

“We would never have all the money that would be needed to top it up to meet all the demands for all Ontarians who are experiencing troubles with their pension plans,” McGuinty said.

 
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