This study examines the status of the defined benefit (DB) pension plans of Canada's largest publicly-traded companies. Thirty-nine companies on the S&P/TSX 60 maintain DB pension plans, amounting to one-third of all private sector pension plan assets in Canada. However, only nine plans were fully funded in 2016. Together, the 39 companies oversaw a $10.8 billion deficit in their pension plans in 2016, while increasing shareholder payouts from $31.9 billion in 2011 to $46.9 billion last year.
Corporations and corporate power
OTTAWA—Last year, Canada’s largest publicly-traded companies paid out four times more to shareholders than it would have cost to fully fund their defined benefit (DB) pension plans, according to new research released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). Thirty-nine companies on the S&P/TSX 60 maintain DB pension plans, amounting to one-third of all private sector pension plan assets in Canada. However, only nine plans were fully funded in 2016.
The future of oil extraction and transportation is one of the most contentious issues in Canadian politics. Plans for the construction of new pipelines to both the East and West coasts has entrenched old divisions between Eastern and Western Canada and opened up new schisms in Western Canada between sites of extraction and communities along pipeline routes. At the local level, people living in oil and gas-producing communities are being mobilized by oil advocacy groups to defend their industry from (perceived) attacks from urban environmentalists concerned with climate change.
Regina — In the wake of “The Price of Oil” investigation into oil industry impacts in Saskatchewan by the Toronto Star, National Observer and Global News, the realities of living with the health and environmental effects of oil are beginning to receive public attention.
In this issue:
If all goes according to plan, by July 2018 several provinces and territories will have a new securities regulator. Currently, each province and territory operates its own regulator that is responsible for administrating each province’s unique laws. The provincial and territorial regulators are part of an umbrella organization, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA).
The Trudeau government has shone internationally on a progressive message of tolerance, openness, diversity and inclusive, sustainable economic growth. It says it wants to make globalization fair for everyone, and that, as the prime minister tweeted, Canada welcomes all people “fleeing persecution, terror & war.” But on a number of files the government has bent itself into a pretzel trying to square its beliefs with its actions. An underlying theme throughout this issue of the Monitor is the empty gesture.
This study, co-published with the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, examines the adverse impacts on public services and public interest regulation of the little-known Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), quietly being negotiated in Geneva by a group of 23 governments, including Canada. Senior CCPA trade researcher Scott Sinclair argues that under the guise of expanding international trade in services, TiSA will make it much harder for governments to regulate vital services such as energy, water, banking, transport and online services.
This expanded version of the Monitor summer reading guide takes a break from frenetic social media feeds to assess the fluctuating political and economic reality from a place of relative stability: books. Rather than just telling us what they will be reading this summer, contributors ground longer arguments about the state of the world in recent Canadian and international non-fiction releases with a connection to the CCPA’s underlying mandate: to promote social, economic and environmental justice.
This report finds that for the first time ever, Canada’s private sector is racking up debt faster than any other of the world’s 22 advanced economies, putting the country at risk of serious economic consequences. The report reveals that Canada added $1 trillion in private sector debt over the past five years (in 2016 dollars), with the corporate sector responsible for the majority of it.