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CBC to take pension “holiday” – what about us?

CBC/Radio-Canada has announced that our defined benefit pension plan is in good shape and has posted a surplus this year. The Corporation further announced it will take a contribution “holiday” as required under the Income Tax Act, until at least the end of 2022.

This amounts to $40 million dollars, that will now be used by the Corporation to run CBC operations for perhaps everything from programming to computers, to maybe even executive bonuses.

We really don’t know.

The catch? CBC will not allow employees to get a similar break from contributions or share the surplus, even though the law also allows the Corporation to give employees a contribution exemption.

This directly contravenes a 50/50 pension surplus sharing agreement negotiated between the Corporation, its unions and the Pensioners National Association (PNA) in 2009.

The surplus sharing agreement was reached after more than 20 years of court battles and litigation and was intended to ensure that any surplus would benefit both the employees and employer.

CBC now claims the agreement expired in 2019, and therefore it has no obligation to share the pension surplus with anyone but themselves.

Our unions and the PNA are challenging the CBC’s assertion and are currently in arbitration before former Associate Chief Justice of Ontario, Mr. Justice Dennis O’Connor, to determine if the agreement has expired, or as we maintain – has no end date.

This pattern of callous disregard for process by the CBC is consistent with recent unilateral decisions to dissolve the EAP, ignore the role of the Consultative Committee on Staff Benefits (CCSB) and refuse to discuss employee benefits through its joint subcommittee.
While collective bargaining is currently taking place for some of the CBC unions, this decision by CBC shows a deliberate lack of respect for its staff.

Rest assured, our respective unions will collaborate in the coming days to make the appropriate political and legal representations to CBC management.

Kim Trynacity
CBC/Radio-Canada CMG branch president

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