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Uniforum
Vol 1 No 7
Dec 12, 2013

Crazy Hat Day
Dec 2013

Kid Xmas Party
Dec 8, 2013

Unifor Local 584
Movember Team

Congratulations to
Our most recent retirees

Retiree Gino Diguilio
Passes away Nov 29

#3 Shift
Committeeperson
Election Results

Uniforum
Vol 1 No 6
Nov 29, 2013

OFL Leadership
Acclaimed
At the OFL
Convention

Top 10 honour reflects
Unifor's great work
and hope for the future

Political leaders
silent on Ontario's
manufacturing woes

Uniforum
Vol 1 No 5
Nov 14, 2013

Tory election
document undermines
Ontario unions, critics say

New Officers get sworn in
at membership meeting
November 10, 2013

Election for Local 584
President Results

Union battles loom
after Tories push to
overhaul labour laws

Provinces reach
agreement on CPP
reform conditions

Uniforum
Vol 1 No 4
Nov 1, 2013

Canadian workplace
pensions are under
threat. Can we
save them?

Pension shift
puts decades of
progress at risk

Canada's auto industry
faces sweeping change
with EU trade deal

UNIFORUM
Vol 1 N0. 2
Oct 2013

Arguments against unions are ideological, not empirical

UNIFOR Local 584
Marches in the
Labour Day
Parade 2013

Jerry Dias Elected as
President of UNIFOR

Unionism, done
differently

CAW CONTACT
Vol 43 No 29
Aug 23, 2013

New Leadership Team
Proposed for Unifor

Can Canada
Really "Buy
Into" Mexico?

CAW Contact
Aug 9, 2013
Vol 43 No. 28

CAW's Lewenza to
step down as new
union emerges

Labour Day Parade
September 2, 2013
Information

CAW Contact
July 26, 2013
Vol 43 No. 27

Niagara On The
Lake Premiers
Health Care Rally
July 25, 2013

CAW CONTACT
Vol 43 No. 26
July 12, 2013

Retiree Anthony
Bonello Passes Away
July 1, 2013

Stay Clear of
Scab Beer

Joe Hinrichs: Keeping
up the momentum
at Ford

CAW CONTACT
Vol 43 No 25
June 28, 2013

CAW Local 584
Annual Volunteer
at Knights Table

CAW CONTACT
Vol 43 No. 24
June 21, 2013

Christa Pytel
Passes Away
June 16, 2013

Retiree
Ross Sutton
Passes Away
June 14, 2013

________

CAW Contact
June 14, 2013
Volume 43, No. 23

CAW Contact
June 7, 2013
Vol 43 No 22

CAW Contact
Vol 43 No 21
May 31, 2013

UNIFOR is Our
New Union Name

Retiree Stan
McClean
Passes away
May 7, 2013

Senator Segal's
Speech from
Senate May 7
regarding
Bill C-377

CAW Contact
May 3, 2013
Vol 43 No.17

THE NEW ATTACK
ON UNIONS AND
ITS THREAT
TO SHARED
PROSPERITY
IN CANADA

CEP/CAW
Constitutional
Overview
May 2013

Local labour leaders
to get update on
CAW-CEP merger

Nomination Results
April 2013

Ford workers toss
unwanted gadgets

A Song for Electro-Motive Workers

Senator shows
why sober second
thought' matters

Auto manufacturing
in Canada in long-term decline,
report warns

Ford's Final Offer

Former Ontario MPP
Peter Kormos has died

EcoBoost engine threatens
Essex Engine plant: Expert

Florida not expected
to enforce international
driver's permit rule

Canadians now require
International Driving
Permit in Florida

Election Results
Alternate Health
and Safety &
Labour Council

Delegate

Retiree
Stephen Barnike
Passes away
February 9, 2013

Nortel Pensioners
The Final Straw

Harper renews $250M
auto innovation fund

EI premiums lead
list of price hikes
for 2013

CTV Toronto: Workers
killed on job honoured
April 28, 2013

CAW Contact
April 26, 2013
Vol 43 No. 16

CAW Contact
Apr 19, 2013
Vol 43 No.15

"Stand up for fairness"
Report from CLC Conference
by Michelle Harwood

CAW Contact
April 12, 2013
Vol 43 No.14

CAW Contact
April 5, 2013
Vol 43 No 13

International Women's
Day Brunch Photos

CAW Contact
March 28, 2013
Vol 43 No 12

CAW CONTACT
Vol 43, No. 11
March 22, 2013

CAW CONTACT
Vol 43, No 10
March 15, 2013

CAW Contact
March 8, 2013
Vol 43, No. 9

International Women's
Day March 8, 2013

CAW CONTACT
Vol 43 No. 8
March 1, 2013

CAW Contact
Feb 22, 2013
Vol 43, No. 7

GOVERNMENT
BENEFITS 2013

New Ford Benefit Booklet
Now Available on our Site

CAW CONTACT
Vol 43, No 6
Feb 15, 2013

CAW Contact
Feb 8, 2013
Vol 42 No 5

CAW CONTACT
Vol 43 No. 4
Feb 1, 2013

CAW CONTACT
Vol 43, No 3
Jan 25, 2013

CAW Contact
Vol 43 No 2
Jan 18, 2013

2013 Government
Benefit Rates

GOVERNMENT
BENEFITS 2013

CAW CONTACT
Vol 43 No. 1
Jan 11, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


2013

Congratulations to Our
Most Recent Retirees
December 1, 2013
Jim Kolkman
Jeff Paskaruk
Gary Karst
Don Guest
Jim
Kolkman
Jeff
Paskaruk
Gary
Karst
Don
Guest
Cathie Frauce
Linda Calbery
Enid Gates
Cathie
Frauce
Linda
Calbery
Enid
Gates

 

Retiree Gino Digiulio
Passes away

Gino Diguilio

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Retiree Gino Diguilio on November 29, 2013.

Our deepest Condolences go out to
his family and close friends.

Retired Feb 1, 1990
20.5 Years of Service

Funeral Arrangements

Visitation:
Monday Dec 2, 2013
6 pm to 8 pm
Tuesday Dec 3, 2013
2pm to 4 pm and 6pm to 8pm

Turner & Porter
2180 Hurontario Street
Mississauga ON, L5B 1M8
Telephone 905-279-7663

MAP

Funeral:
Wednesday Dec 4, 2013
9:30 AM

St. Catherine of Siena Roman
Catholic Church

2340 Hurontario St,
Mississauga, ON L5B 1N1 ‎
(905) 272-1454

MAP

 

 

ELECTION RESULTS

#3 Shift Committeeperson:

Gerald Andrukonis - 53
Terri Fletcher - 76 Elected

Ballots cast 140
Ballots spoiled 11


*****************************

#3 Shift Committeeperson:
Nasir Naghar - ACCLAIMED

 

OFL Leadership Acclaimed
At the OFL Convention
November 26, 2014

Sid Ryan
Irwin Nanda
Nancy Hutchison
Sid Ryan
President
Irwin Nanda
Vice President
Nancy Hutchison
Secretary Treasurer
Photos by Arnie DeVaan (707)


Click Below for Heinz Resolution
OFL Resolution on Heinz closing in Leamington


 

Top 10 honour reflects Unifor’s great work and hope for the future

By Jerry Dias, Unifor National President
November 21, 2013

Today Maclean’s, Canada’s national English-language magazine, has named me as one of Canada’s Top 10 most important people, in the cover story of the current issue.

This is a great honour, of course, but it’s not about me. This about all the hard work Unifor has been doing to address the issues confronting Canadians today.
Since our founding last Labour Day weekend, Unifor has been committed to addressing such issues as youth unemployment, precarious employment, secure pensions and good jobs for all. We’ve spoken out for the disenfranchised in Canada worked hard to make their voices heard.

Within the next year, Unifor will host a Good Jobs Summit, bringing together all stakeholders in the Canadian economy to start a conversation about creating jobs with fair wages – jobs that are safe and secure. The time for talk is over. It’s time now to roll up our sleeves and get to work to make Canada a better place to live and raise our children.

Unifor has also established its unique community chapters program to help those who fall outside traditional union structures – the unemployed, freelance and self-employed workers, those in precarious employment, and more – to join together as part of Unifor to make a difference.

These efforts by Unifor activists across the country have resonated with Canadians, and my being named to the Maclean’s list is a reflection of that.

I would like to thank Maclean’s for this honour – and thank all the Unifor activists across the country for making it possible. To be honest, this is more your honour than mine.

Follow Jerry on Twitter at: @JerryPDias

To see the complete Top 10 list, go to: LINK


 

Political leaders silent on Ontario's manufacturing woes: Walkom

The H.J. Heinz Co.'s decision to close its Leamington plant is the latest blow to the food manufacturing sector in Ontario, costing 740 jobs

The Leamington Heinz ketchup plant
is just the latest to bite the dust.

November 16, 2013
Thomas Walkom
Toronto Star

Can manufacturing survive in Ontario? A few years ago, this would have seemed an absurd question. Now it is less so.

Certainly, workers are having a rough time. Thursday's announcement that the H.J. Heinz Co. will close its Leamington tomato-processing plant, at a cost of 740 full-time jobs, is just the latest piece of bad news.

The Heinz shutdown was reported widely. So was the recent decision by U.S. Steel to shut its Hamilton blast furnace.

But other Ontario manufacturers have quietly closed their doors without receiving much national attention.

Thus Delhi and Dunnville lost their Bick's pickle plants in 2011. The American owner, J.M. Smucker, had decided to consolidate production in the U.S.

That followed a decision by Kraft Foods to shut canning plants in the Niagara and London areas, in order to move production to China.

And that in turn followed Hershey's 2007 decision to shutter its Smiths Falls chocolate plant in eastern Ontario. That production went to Mexico and the U.S.

In a country where 1.3 million are already unemployed, these shutdowns may not stand out. The Bick's plant closings, for instance, cost only 150 jobs.

But for the communities involved, the decision to close a manufacturing plant can be devastating.

In Leamington, Heinz is not only the town's major employer. It also provides a market for area tomato farmers.

For Ontario, all of this is part of a wrenching change that began 24 years ago. Until Canada entered into its 1989 free trade deal with the U.S., tariff-protected manufacturers had thrived in big cities and small towns alike.

But free trade changed all of that. Entire sectors collapsed, as U.S.-owned companies shifted production south of the border.

That trend accelerated, first when the North American Free Trade Agreement brought low-wage Mexico into the mix and finally when worldwide trade liberalization shifted manufacturing to China.

The current economic slump has only aggravated an already desperate situation. Multinational companies are under pressure to cut costs. At the same time, the high loonie makes branch-plant operations in Canada more expensive.

None of this means that manufacturing in Ontario is dead. Statistics Canada figures show that manufacturing output in the province has finally recovered from the depths of the recession.

Still, the outlook remains gloomy. Food processing, the second most important manufacturing sector in Ontario, is particularly vulnerable. That's the message from Heinz, Kraft and Bick's.

Even the relatively buoyant automakers continue to rationalize their operations worldwide. General Motors has decided to postpone closing a crucial Oshawa assembly line. But the respite is only for two years.

Yet with one exception, the political response to the death of manufacturing has been curiously passive. That exception is the auto sector where both the free-market federal Conservatives and the more interventionist Ontario Liberals have teamed up to shower U.S. car companies with bailouts and cheap loans — with some effect.

Otherwise, political leaders do and say little. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne took time to talk about Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on Thursday. But until pressed the next day, she said nothing about Leamington.

From Ottawa too came silence. For Prime Minister Stephen Harper, this is logical. His Conservatives promote free trade, regardless of the consequences.

Yet Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, who talks incessantly of helping the middle class, also had nothing to say. Nor did New Democratic Party Leader Tom Mulcair, a self-styled champion of working families.

Standard economic theory says that the market will work everything out — that laid-off manufacturing workers will, eventually, end up doing something else.

And perhaps they will. Former chocolate hub Smiths Falls hopes to attract one of the new medical marijuana factories authorized by Harper's government. Maybe marijuana processing will become one of Ontario's leading industries.

For a while anyway. Canada has a free trade treaty with Colombia too.


 

Tory election document undermines Ontario
unions, critics say

A Tory election document leaked to the Star is
further proof party leader Tim Hudak is bent
on undermining unions, critics say
.

Richard J. Brennan
Toronto Star
Nov 12, 2013

A secret Progressive Conservative election document leaked to the Star is further proof party leader Tim Hudak is bent on undermining unions, which would drive down wages and hurt the economy, critics charge.

Politicians and labour officials alike on Monday were quick to condemn the leader's detailed election calendar, prepared by the Tories in the event the minority Liberal government had fallen on its budget forcing an election last spring.

One Tory source, who asked not be identified in order, played down the embarrassing campaign breach, denying it was a final draft even though each campaign day had a theme, time and location.

A dominant theme was labour, including so-called worker's choice, which means allowing unionized employees to opt out of paying dues.

"This is confirmation the centrepiece of the Hudak PC platform is their plan to kill jobs and drive down wages," Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi said in an email.

"The leak of internal documents shows even some PCs are uncomfortable with Tim Hudak's reckless plan. This race-to-the-bottom PC approach only means one thing for Ontario — lower wages for every worker in this province."

Many critics have compared Hudak's approach to the right-to-work policies in the United States, where they say unions have been vilified and wages driven down. As recently as Friday, Tory MPP Monte McNaughton (Lambton—Kent—Middlesex) held a press conference to sing the praises of states that have loosened labour laws.

Ontario Public Service Employees Union president Warren (Smokey) Thomas said he hopes "Ontario would reject this kind of negative thinking."

"It just confirmed for me that he doesn't have the best interest of working people at heart," Thomas said.

The Conservatives' policy on weakening unions is one of 14 platform proposals put forward, but Tory MPPs have declined to say which ones they would actually campaign on.

Just seven days into the campaign, according to the calendar, Hudak was to head to Windsor — a Liberal and NDP stronghold — with the message "Fixing Labour Laws" to be explained at a non-union factory.

The Tories want to kill the Rand Formula, which requires all employees in a closed union shop to pay dues whether they join or not. Coincidentally, Supreme Court of Canada Justice Ivan Rand introduced the formula in 1946 as a result of the 1945 Ford strike in Windsor.

NDP MPP Gilles Bisson said Hudak seems to be picking a fight with labour for ideological reasons.

"For the Conservatives to pick a fight essentially with the working class and say, 'We need to move to some other system such as they have in the United States,' I think just tells us volumes about who this guy really is," Bisson said.

"It is an attack on the working class."

Sid Ryan, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, noted that at Tories' policy convention in September almost half of the PC delegates didn't agree with the anti-union agenda.

"His strategy of going after workers in the province is a strategy that (former Tory) premier Mike Harris used," he said, predicting it would only galvanize union opposition.

Ryan said the Tories' hatred for the union-backed Working Families coalition appears to behind the initiative.

The coalition, which includes the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association, and the Ontario Nurses' Association, spent $1.2 million on ads attacking Hudak during the 2011 election campaign.

Patrick Dillon, business manager and secretary treasurer of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario, who helped launch Working Families a decade ago, said PC proposal was troubling enough "but you always sort of hope they won't enact it."

"This leaked document is something that is probably real and it is very, very troubling for all Ontarians, not just unionized workers," said Dillon.

"To me it is just not the way you build a society. It is bad feeling in the pit of the stomach to think there are people who would seek leadership based on what they can do to people, not what they can do for people."


 

Unifor Local 584
Barb Morrison President &
Sandy Knight Vice-President
at Swearing in Ceremony
November 10, 2013

Gary Rumbodlt, Sandy Knight,
Dave Champagne performs his last
duties as President swearing in
Barb Morrison and Sandy Knight.

 


Election for President

"RESULTS"

BARB MORRISON
ELECTED!

Barb Morrison: 111

Tony Gilmour : 70   

Total Votes Cast: 189
Spoiled Ballots: 8

Thanks to everyone who took
time to vote.

********************

ELECTION RESULTS

October 23, 2013

                    

Barb Morrison     93    Run-off

Tony Gilmour      52     Run-off

John McCloskey 44  Final 

Total Ballots Cast – 189

50% + 1 needed to be Elected

Spoiled Ballots - 0



 

Union battles loom after Tories push to overhaul labour laws

Nov 4, 2013
Josh Wingrove
The Globe and Mail

The Conservative Party's brewing battle with Canadian unions is taking shape, as party delegates have backed a push to overhaul labour laws with a series of new policies – including one backed by a cabinet minister pledging to "alter the dynamics" of federal collective bargaining.

While union members protested outside the party's convention in Calgary on Saturday, Conservative delegates voted to change party policy on a range of motions that would push for federal employees to be switched to a different pension plan, claw back federal employees' benefits, increase requirements on unions to report how they spend their money and allow union members to opt out in part or altogether.

Altogether, six labour-related motions were passed on Saturday, the final day of the governing Conservative Party's biannual convention, and are now party policy. It's not yet clear if the Conservative government will enact all of them, though the government has already revealed plans for a sweeping overhaul of federal bargaining.

One of the motions – to claw back public-sector pay and benefits to private-sector standards – was backed by Treasury Board President Tony Clement, the federal government's point man on reaching contracts with its civil service.

"This is exactly our position going into the next round of bargaining. For too long, there has been this major gap in wages and benefits between the public and the private sector, where the public sector is considerably more than the private sector norms. This is not sustainable, it's not right, it's not conservative and it's not in the public interest," Mr. Clement said to cheers from the convention Saturday, urging delegates to back the motion, which they did.

Earlier, he'd warned of tough negotiations ahead.

"I'm here as the chief negotiator with the public-sector unions. I can tell you we are taking a position that will respect taxpayers well into the future, and I believe are part-and-parcel with our ability to have balanced budgets for the next generation, not just for the next couple of years. So that means taking a position that will alter the dynamics of collective bargaining as it has been done in this country over the last few decades," Mr. Clement said in Calgary on Friday, after he'd sparred on Twitter with Robyn Benson, the National President for the Public Service Alliance of Canada. After the Conservative omnibus budget bill included sweeping changes to federal labour laws, Ms. Benson warned Mr. Clement wants to take away negotiated rights. He replied by telling Ms. Benson online that she "takes 'union boss' to a whole new level."

In Calgary, he invoked taxpayers' rights in signalling a battle with organized labour.

"I'm confident this is in the interest of Canadians and taxpayers. I'm confident they are behind us on this. And we're not here to buy labour peace through caving in to every single public-sector union boss's demands. We're not here to do that. We're here to represent the taxpayer. We're here to represent the public interest, and I will do so in a way I think is fair and reasonable, of course, and in a way which respects good faith bargaining. But let there be no question – I will be here protecting the public interest," he said.

NDP MP Peter Julian, who was attending the convention as an observer, said the union attacks are an obvious attempt to distract from the Senate spending scandal.

"And I don't think that's going to work – Canadians expect answers to the questions they're asking about Mr. Harper's involvement in all of these scandals. And I don't think Canadians will be distracted by this attempt to try to vilify working people," Mr. Julian said in an interview. He said there's "no doubt" collective bargaining delivers benefits to union members across Canada. "So for the government to try to attack those folks, whether it's Tony Clement or anyone else, undermines what I think is a pretty fundamental Canadian value."

The union measures presented to delegates had some overlap, but were all passed, making union rules the subject to see the most amendments.

One motion called on the government to ensure public-sector benefits and pensions are "comparable to those available to similar employees in the private sector," and "made comparable" if they are not. This was the motion backed by Mr. Clement.

Another policy motion called on government to switch its civil servants to defined contribution pension plans, rather than defined benefit plans, to "bring public-sector pensions in line with Canadian norms."

A third called for "full, transparent annual financial reporting" for unions for which dues are tax-deductible. The same motion also called on Ottawa to bring in a law requiring federal unions to "explicitly detail" what money it uses for political donations or activism, and allow members to opt out of paying dues to support political activism.

A fourth calls on the government to "prevent mandatory dues collected by unions from being diverted to fund political causes unrelated to workplace needs."

A fifth amended party policy to state a belief that mandatory union membership – and mandatory dues – "limit the economic freedom of Canadians."

And a sixth would allow optional union membership, including optional membership in students' unions.

 

Provinces reach agreement
on CPP reform conditions

ADRIAN MORROW
Nov 2, 2013
The Globe and Mail

The provinces are moving closer to a deal to expand the Canada Pension Plan, asking workers and employers to contribute a little more in exchange for richer benefits in retirement.

After a day-long meeting in downtown Toronto on Friday, provincial finance ministers emerged with an agreement on four conditions that would have to be met in any CPP reform: Enhancements would have to be fully funded, have a limited effect on businesses that would have to pay higher rates, improve retirement payouts for the middle class, and protect low-income earners.

"I'm leaving very encouraged that we are going to be able to find something that fits very nicely with our business groups and our labour groups," said PEI Finance Minister Wes Sheridan, one of the chief advocates for a richer CPP.

"Something that Canadians can embrace as something that will see the best savings vehicle in the world right now enhanced," he said.

At the meeting, Mr. Sheridan outlined one possible framework. Under his proposal, those earning between $25,000 to $50,000 per year would pay 1.5 per cent more into CPP, with their employers paying a further 1.5 per cent. The maximum insurable earnings cutoff would rise to $101,000 a year. These changes would be phased in over five years.

The provinces, however, did not reach any consensus on what a CPP enhancement would look like. They only agreed that the matter should be studied further.

Key to making a final deal will be Quebec and Alberta, the two provinces that scuttled a proposed CPP enhancement three years ago.

During a break from Friday's meeting, Quebec Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau said his province now supports an enhancement, at least in theory.

"Quebec is in favour of an enhancement of public pensions," he said. "[It must be] gradual, fully funded and happen only once the Quebec economy is growing more vigorously."

Alberta's Doug Horner, meanwhile, said any pension proposal would have to meet some important conditions.

"If we're going to have a CPP enhancement ... we have to have an understanding it's not going to damage economic growth," he said in an interview.

The hope among provinces pushing for improved CPP is that the ministers can reach an agreement on the matter when they sit down with federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in December.

Ottawa has consistently left the door open to CPP enhancement, but expressed concern at its possible effect on companies.

Some business groups, including the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, have argued that the federal government should abandon the idea altogether. They maintain that increasing employers' contributions could lead to job losses.

Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa tried to assuage such fears on Friday, saying the provinces would take the effect on business into account before deciding how to structure any enhancement.

"We're not going to advance on a number until we've come to an agreement with employers and employees who will be affected," he said at Queen's Park later in the day.


 

Canadian workplace
pensions are under threat.
Can we save them?

Rob Carrick
Globe & Mail
October 31, 2013

We can assign blame for the decline of Canada's pension system at a future date.

Right now, we have work to do. Workplace pensions are under threat and we need to act now to ensure their long-term sustainability.

That's the message in an important new book called The Third Rail: Confronting Our Pension Failures, by Jim Leech, head of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, and The Globe and Mail's Jacquie McNish.

The book is a surprisingly accessible read and totally persuasive in its argument that workers, unions, politicians and business need to collaborate on ways to help people better prepare financially for retirement. Most importantly, it offers pragmatic solutions that have worked to solve pension challenges in places such as New Brunswick and Rhode Island.

Here's an edited transcript of a conversation I had about the book this week with Mr. Leech.

Why are pensions the "third rail" [a reference to the deadly electrical power source on subway tracks]?

When we asked people involved in pension reform, "Why have you let the system get into the shape it's in," they said this is an issue that politicians, labour leaders and even business would prefer not to touch because you'll get zapped.

Zapped? How, exactly?

Tough decisions need to be made on tough issues, such as intergenerational fairness and people perhaps being required to save more.

What's the matter with the pension system today?

Ground Zero is the wage earner at $30,000 per year up to $100,000 – this group is not adequately prepared for retirement and the CPP [Canada Pension Plan], GIS [Guaranteed Income Supplement] and Old Age Security [OAS] combination really isn't sufficient to give them the funds required for them to live on. Another issue has been the foolhardy rush from defined benefit to defined contribution plans, which is very counterproductive and goes against the sustainability of retirement security. The third issue is that 60 per cent of Canadian workers are not part of a workplace pension plan.

(Note: A defined benefit plan pays out a pre-set amount of money based on factors like salary and years of service, and it's the employer's obligation to make up any shortfalls in the plan caused by weak investment returns; in a defined contribution plan, pension payments depend entirely on the returns achieved by plan members.)

You say in the book that "for many retirees, personal savings won't be much help" in paying for retirement. Why are we doing such a bad job saving for ourselves?

It's really a question of whether I consume today, or whether I save to consume tomorrow. The allure of that latest iPad is very intoxicating.

Can you outline the risk to taxpayers if retiree income falls short?

Right now, OAS and GIS represent about $36-billion annually, which is approximately the largest single expenditure of the federal government, and it's already expected to triple in the next couple of decades. If in fact we have people who are not able to get by on their current retirement incomes, we're just going to end up increasing OAS and GIS, and that comes right out of the taxpayer's pocket.

There's a sense of fatalism about the decline of defined benefit pension plans, as if they were too good to be true. But you raise a very cogent argument in favour of keeping DB plans – can you lay it out for us?

Defined benefit plans have been able to outperform from an investment perspective over defined contribution plans or RRSPs, and they're far less expensive. Also, longevity risk [the risk of outliving your money] can be pooled in a defined benefit plan. If you're in a defined contribution plan you must save enough money for yourself.

Many corporations see defined benefit pensions as an expensive obligation they would like to eliminate. How can you address their concerns?

We say very clearly that the stereotypical, old school DB plan really doesn't cut it any more. We must turn to some sort of risk sharing plan, where some of the benefits are guaranteed but some are also contingent on the financial wherewithal of the plan. That takes a lot of the risk out for the sponsor.

If we were to move to a shared-risk model, would it apply to existing pension plan members or to new ones?

The way the current pension benefits acts are written, one cannot change the benefits that have already been earned. In the New Brunswick case, what they did to conform to that was to form a whole new genre of plan and have people convert to the plan. Indeed, the risk sharing there does apply to current pensioners. If the plan does not have the wherewithal to make an inflation increase this year, that applies to everybody, including those who have been retired for many years.

Governments don't seem to want to do anything that would annoy retirees because they're such a formidable voting bloc. Can retirees be brought on side?

I think people have to understand the fragility of the system and the fairness, or unfairness, of whether putting 100 per cent of the burden on the next generation is the right way to go.

In the book you say the three pension pillars in Canada are OAS and GIS, the CPP and a combination of personal savings and workplace pensions. On a scale of one to 10, where 10 is best, how would you rank the health of each pillar?

I'd give OAS and GIS very strong marks – 10 out of 10. I'd give the CPP a nine out of 10. I'd give the third pillar a failing grade – a four.

The book endorses the idea of an enhanced CPP to help make up the retirement savings shortfall. Why is the CPP option so attractive?

The CPP already exists, so we're not setting up something that is new. Second, it's universal and it's large enough and has the scale to be able to invest across a diverse set of assets to maximize returns. It's very cost-effective.

What do you hope will come out of writing this book?

We're trying to make things simple to allow the ordinary person to enter into the debate and not be confused by actuaries, accountants or economists. This is a people issue and it needs to be dealt with on that level.

To see a video with Jim Leech and Jacquie McNish, click here.


 

Pension shift puts decades
of progress at risk

Bill Hatanaka,
Jim Keohane, Jim Leech
and Michael Nobrega
The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, Oct. 22

We find ourselves in the midst of a timely pension reform debate: Some advocate for Canada Pension Plan enhancements; federal and provincial governments are moving toward enabling Pooled Registered Pension Plans (PRPPs) for employees who are not members of RPPs; and a number of provinces are introducing significant reforms to their public-sector plans. Missing from this debate is a full understanding of the Canadian pension system and, in particular, the value and importance of the defined benefit model within that system.

Canada's three-pillar retirement income system is largely responsible for the significant drop over the past three decades in the number of Canadian seniors living below the poverty line. Ranked sixth-best in the world in the Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index, it is anchored by robust government-funded and administered schemes (Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement), supplemented by government-sponsored workplace pensions (CPP/QPP) and workplace and tax-deductible personal savings plans. What is sometimes overlooked is that the pension income paid to retirees has had a strongly positive impact on the Canadian economy overall.

It would be tragic to see the past 30 years of progress jeopardized by the unintended consequences of ill-conceived pension system changes – especially calls for the wholesale shift from defined benefit to defined contribution plans.

Canadian public defined benefit (DB) pension plans paid out between $68-billion and $72-billion to their members in each of 2011 and 2012. The vast majority (up to 80 cents) of each pension dollar paid out by our four major Ontario pension plans comes through investment returns, which in turn come from sound funding policies and "best in class" investment results at home and abroad.

The benefits paid to retired DB plan members boost national and local economies. DB pensioners spend an estimated $56-billion to $63-billion annually on consumable and durable goods, shelter, recreation and services while saving only $2-billion to $3-billion, according to a recent study by Boston Consulting Group. They have the opportunity to spend at a higher rate because they can rely on a steady and stable income through their defined benefit plan. They pay $14-billion to $16-billion in taxes annually – money sorely needed to deliver health care, connect our communities and educate our children. As well, it is estimated that only 10 to 15 per cent of DB beneficiaries collect the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) versus 45 to 50 per cent of other retirees. This saves the federal government between $2-billion and $3-billion annually in GIS payouts, freeing up funds for other social spending priorities.

By almost any measure, our defined-benefit pensions, which guarantee a continuing benefit on retirement that is based on a percentage of employee earnings for each year of service, are the most effective retirement savings system in the country. As an expert committee on the future of the Quebec retirement system said this year: "Defined benefit plans provide the type of financial security that should be emphasized … No other supplemental pension plans or personal savings vehicles can provide members with the same level of financial security."

This is not a zero sum game where one group benefits at the expense of the other. Most pension plan members in fact make mandatory contributions of 10 to 14 per cent of their total income throughout their working years. Canada's public pension funds offer financial security to millions of Canadian retirees while providing a major source of patient, long-term capital that funds vital infrastructure projects – roads, bridges, hydro dams, airports and hospitals – in Canada and around the world. They are famous for their independent governance structure that allows them to invest solely in the best interest of their members, for their highly professional management and investing expertise, and for their strength and stability through good times and bad.

Canada's defined-benefit pension funds do more than contribute to a retirement income system that is the envy of the world and offers us a competitive advantage; they are also a key driver of prosperity in Canadian communities large and small, and a cornerstone of our national economy. As we continue to explore options in the face of growing challenges, let us not turn our backs on a true Canadian success story.

Bill Hatanaka is president and CEO of OPTrust; Jim Keohane is president and CEO of Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan; Jim Leech is president and CEO of Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan; Michael Nobrega is president and CEO of Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System


 

Canada's auto industry
faces sweeping change
with EU trade deal

October 19, 2013
BILL CURRY and BARRIE McKENNA
Globe and Mail

Canada's auto sector faces major changes as a result of a wide-ranging new free-trade deal with the European Union that will have an impact on virtually every aspect of the Canadian economy.

As expected, the agreement-in-principle announced Friday in Brussels contains concessions from Canada in areas including cheese imports and extended drug patents for brand-name drug manufacturers. The deal will also permit large increases in Canadian beef and pork exports to Europe and eliminates a wide range of tariffs. However, new details were announced Friday on how the deal will address the thorny issue of how Ontario's manufacturing sector is deeply linked with U.S. production lines.

Canada, which currently exports about 13,000 vehicles a year to the EU, will be allowed to export up to 100,000 vehicles annually, provided they are at least 20 per cent manufactured in Canada. Vehicles with at least 50 per cent Canadian content will enter duty free and would not be subject to the quota.

Under the agreement, both countries will phase out tariffs on vehicles and parts over seven years. Canada's tariff is 6.1 per cent on vehicles. Europe has a 10 per cent tariff on vehicles and a 4.5 per cent duty on parts. Canada has a large trade deficit in autos with Europe.

Cars made in Canada by the Detroit Three and Japanese auto makers typically contain a majority of imported parts. The arrangement is not limited to Chrysler, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co., but applies to all auto and parts manufacturers operating in Canada. Should the EU reach a similar Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the U.S., the distinctions between a Canadian and U.S.-made car would likely be erased for the purposes of European trade.

The agreement would also mean cheaper Volkswagens and Mercedes-Benz for Canadian consumers, provided they are assembled in Europe.

For Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the deal represents a signature accomplishment during his seven years in office. At a media briefing, Canadian reporters were told that all provinces have signalled they will support the deal.

Still, key details remain unclear. Government documents provided at a 5 a.m. media lockup in Ottawa only presented the deal's benefits for Canada, including supportive quotes from Canadian industry leaders. Some of the concessions offered by Canada were mentioned during the briefing, but since there is not yet a final text, it is not clear yet how much Canada has given up.

Information provided by the E.U. throughout the day Friday will shed further light on what the sticking points will be over the coming two years, as EU states, the EU and Canadian Parliaments and Canadian provinces must give their official approval to the deal.

One clear signal of where Canada expects some negative reaction is in its willingness to offer financial compensation in two cases. If dairy producers are negatively affected by a more than doubling of European cheese imports, Canada is prepared to offer compensation directly to producers. The government hopes, however, that Canadians will continue to consume more and more cheese, meaning the growth of the overall market would erase any potential losses.

The second area is in patent protection. Canada agreed to an EU request that brand-name pharmaceuticals be given up to two years more patent protection to compensate for the time it takes for regulators to approve their products. Should this lead to higher drug costs for provincial health systems, Ottawa is prepared to offer compensation.

Though Ottawa insists all provinces are on board, the reaction of three provinces will be watched closely. Quebec's response to the deal's provisions on cheese will be significant. Ontario will be closely watched for its response to both the dairy and auto sections. Meanwhile, Newfoundland and Labrador will have to phase out an existing rule that requires a minimum amount of seafood to be produced in the province. In exchange, the EU is offering greater access for Canadian seafood to its market.

Europe will continue to protect significant portions of its agriculture and agri-food markets. But over all, 95 per cent of products will enter duty-free, versus 18 per cent now. Beef exporters are getting an extra 50,000 metric tonne duty-free quota. Pork producers are getting 80,000 tonnes.

"Canadian farmers will benefit overwhelmingly from this agreement," said Mr. Harper.

From the first mention of an agreement in Wednesday's Speech from the Throne to Friday's tightly scripted release of positive information to the media, Mr. Harper's Conservative government has so far controlled the message on a deal that has been years in the making. Now, the debate moves to the 28 EU-member states, 13 provincial and territorial capitals and the floor of the House of Commons.

The federal government is also touting other benefits of the deal, including provisions to liberalize trade in services, allow easier movement of labour and work on mutual recognition of professionals, including architects and engineers.

Both sides will open most of their government purchasing market to foreign suppliers, with some exceptions. Canada, for example, is protecting its health care and education sectors, as well as keeping smaller contracts for domestic suppliers. For example, contracts worth less than about $630,000 for utilities and construction contracts worth less than $7.8-million will still be excluded from the agreement.

Arguments against unions are ideological, not empirical

As Tim Hudak fights for his own job security as

As Tim Hudak fights for his own job security as
Tory leader, watch him try to sacrifice the job
security of workers across the province.

Toronto Star
Martin Regg Cohn
Thu Sep 05 2013

The birth of Canada's biggest union over the Labour Day weekend suggests workers are not about to go quietly into the night. But members of Unifor are in for a fight with Ontario's Tories.

The Progressive Conservatives have always had a complicated relationship with unionized working people: At times working with them, at times against them.

Now, as Tim Hudak fights for his own job security as Tory leader, watch him try to sacrifice the job security of workers across the province.

An upcoming Tory convention is officially about party policy, not personal leadership. But in London later this month, delegates will also be deciding whether to hold yet another leadership review.

To survive, Hudak will try to win over dissidents with an ambitious economic strategy for Ontario: De-unionize to re-industrialize.

Undoing unions has been Tory policy since Hudak lost the last election and blamed big labour for working against him. He promptly appointed the most militantly right-wing member of his caucus, Randy Hillier, as the party's improbable labour critic.

Together, they crafted a discussion paper, euphemistically called, "Flexible Labour Markets," that delighted the business press last summer. And bolstered fundraising among bedrock supporters.

At its core, the plan would strip unions of the hard-won right to collect dues from everyone in the bargaining unit. Hudak would unravel the highly regarded Rand Formula, a made-in-Ontario compromise crafted by former Supreme Court judge Ivan Rand to settle a landmark 1945 Ford strike in Windsor.

In 1980, the PC government of Bill Davis sensibly enshrined the Rand Formula into law, on the grounds that everyone in a workplace benefits from the tough bargaining and strikes undertaken by unions to improve wages, benefits and working conditions. Years later, even the Mike Harris PCs maintained that equilibrium, recognizing that there should be no free-riders in the workplace who disown unions but profit from their impact.

Why then is Hudak trying to turn the clock back? He points to the rise of Right to Work states in the U.S., where right-wing legislators have triumphed against unions in a historical battle that has its roots in the Deep South. The movement has recently spread to nearby Michigan and Indiana, so Ontario must now graft this foreign ideology onto its economy to remain competitive, Hudak argues.

The benefits? Lower unionization rates and lower wage rates.

Oh, and supposedly more jobs. The Tories cite research from right-wing think tanks to bolster their case, most of which argues that job gains in Alabama or Texas can be replicated in Ontario if only we lower wages, which will happen if we eviscerate unions. (You could repurpose those same tired arguments against minimum wage laws, but let's save that for another day.)

The latest research — or more precisely, riposte — comes from the far-right Fraser Institute, which showed a flair for provocative timing by releasing it on Labour Day. It concludes authoritatively that Ontario and B.C. could boost their economies by billions of dollars by bashing unions. Its anti-union role model for Ontario is none other than Oklahoma — a prairie state, population 3.8 million, ranked dead last for health care, whose economy is less than one-quarter of ours and has almost nothing in common with Canada's industrial heartland.

Yet Hudak's Tories promptly issued a news release highlighting the hard work of the Fraser Institute in putting workers in their place. The Ontario Federation of Labour countered with its own study this week that comes, predictably, to the opposite conclusion.

You can pick your study to suit your point of view, but it's hard to disagree with the OFL's bottom line: the arguments against unions are entirely ideological, not empirical. And while ideologues get bogged down by unprovable arguments about how destroying unions creates jobs, they ignore the undeniable benefits to workplace health and safety from unionization (which ultimately lowers hospitalization costs for employers and taxpayers).

Once you slip into the realm of slogans, it's a slippery slope: Right to work, as President Barack Obama says mockingly, is "right-to-work for less money." And with the recent anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech, why not quote from the preacher himself on the peril of "false slogans, such as 'right-to-work.' It provides no 'rights' and no 'work.' "

A belated Happy Labour Day.

 

Unionism, done differently

Dave Coles Ken Lewenza
August 25, 2013

Progressive voices in this country will soon have a new ally and a new way to come together as two of Canada's leading unions join forces.

These are challenging times for those of us who want to go beyond preserving what is best about this country, but build on it to make Canada a more equitable and more democratic society.

We have leaders in both politics and business who tell us that we can't afford to care for one another, and even claim that Canada only thrives when we compete against each other for scarce jobs and opportunities.

The Canadian Auto Workers union and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union don't agree, and that's why we are coming together Labour Day weekend to form not only a new union -- Unifor -- but a new kind of union.

Unions merging isn't new. CEP itself was born a generation ago out of the joining of three distinct unions who saw the value is working together. Since its founding in 1985, CAW has in turn merged with more than 40 other unions to more than double in size.

But this is different. This is about a new approach to unionism and activism. Through community chapters, Unifor will break out of the bounds of traditional unionism to represent any group, however small or large, that wants to band together to improve things in their workplace or their community outside work.

It's a new kind of unionism. More of a movement than a union, really, that will be dedicated to improving the lives of all Canadians -- not just those holding a union card, as our detractors wrongly accuse us of doing.

Unions have always worked to build a better society for all. Many of the benefits of civilized society we take for granted today -- weekends off, paid holidays, bans on child labour, overtime pay and maternity leave, to mention a few -- began as clauses in a union contract. Unifor will be about expanding that role to more directly fight on behalf of all Canadians.

Let's not kid ourselves. Those who would oppose us are big, well organized and well-funded.

Unifor, as Canada's largest private sector union with more than 300,000 members, will give progressives in this country a louder voice to not only counter the cynical opinions of those who would diminish our cherished social programs, but to fight for something even better.

Our social programs, our rights and our standard of living weren't given to us by benevolent leaders. They were won through the hard work of generations of progressive thinkers and activists who struggled to build a society that benefitted all.

That work isn't done yet, not by a long shot. In fact, if we're honest, it's taken a step back after more than 30 years of Reaganism, Thatcherism and the kind of neo-liberalism that our current prime minister enthusiastically encourages.

We believe a better Canada is possible, building on our instincts for fair play and to help one another, and that's why we're bringing our two great unions together under the Unifor banner.

Unifor will be a union for the future, fighting for its members in the workplace and working with progressive voices across the country to build a better Canada for all.

Ken Lewenza is the national president of the Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW) and Dave Coles is the national president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union (CEP).

 

 

New Leadership Team
Proposed for Unifor

August 24, 2013

With the Unifor Founding Convention only a week away, the CAW and CEP have created a Unity Team that is being proposed to lead the new Canadian union.

CAW President Ken Lewenza announced on Thursday that he will not be seeking the nomination for president at a press conference in Toronto. Lewenza will be staying on as CAW National President until the Unifor Founding Convention.  In a heartfelt address, Lewenza said that achieving the goals and ambitions of Unifor is a long-term effort and requires a new generation of leadership to carry it through.

He spoke candidly about how through his membership and involvement in the union, he was able improve his standard of living and that of his family.

"I went from earning a minimum wage to a middle class wage when I got a job at Chrysler," said Lewenza.  "For my family, that meant we could consider buying our own house, buying a car, having independence. For too many families then, and now, that's still only a dream. And that's unfair."

Similarly, CEP President Dave Coles will also be retiring with the formation of Unifor, but staying on as CEP National President until then. 

"I have full confidence in the 'dream team' of leadership candidates being put forward to lead Unifor, and revitalize the Canadian labour movement," said Coles. 

Both leaders endorsed CAW Assistant to the President Jerry Dias as the nominee for President of Unifor. Dias is joined by a team of 24 other trade unionists, all of whom will be nominated to fill each of the 25 positions on the new union's National Executive Board.  This includes the three top officers of the union: President, Secretary-Treasurer, and the Quebec Director. This is the only time that the complete National Executive Board will be presented at a Unifor Convention as a slate.

"CAW Secretary-Treasurer Peter Kennedy, who co-chaired the New Union Project and has served as CAW National Secretary-Treasurer since 2009, has our continuing and unwavering support," Lewenza said. Kennedy will be the Unity Team's candidate for the position of Unifor Secretary-Treasurer.

Michel Ouimet, current CEP Executive Vice President for Quebec, is the Unity Team's nominee for Quebec Director of Unifor.  CAW Quebec Director Sylvain Martin will continue on as Michel's assistant. CEP Secretary-Treasurer Gaétan Ménard will assume the role of an additional senior position called Transition Officer, who will oversee the transition and integration of two unions into Unifor.

Also nominated as part of the Unity Team is CAW Health Care Director Katha Fortier, in the role of Ontario Director, Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour President Lana Payne as Atlantic Director, and CEP National Representative Scott Doherty as Western Director.

There will also be Quebec and Regional Council Chairpersons :

Quebec - Marcel Rondeau (CAW)
Atlantic - Penny Fawcett (CEP)
Ontario - Dino Chiodo (CAW)
Prairie - Christy Best (CEP)
B.C. - Andrea MacBride (CEP)

Industry Council Representatives (11):

Energy - Angela Adams (CEP)
Resources - Earle McCurdy (CAW)
Services - Cheryl Robinson (CAW)
Media - Randy Kitt (CEP)
Health Care - Nancy McMurphy (CAW)
Retail - Christine Connor (CAW)
Forestry - Jean-Pierre Lafond (CEP)
Communications - Marc Rousseau (CEP)
Manufacturing - Roland Kiehne (CAW)
Auto - Gary Beck (CAW)
Transportation - Heather Grant (CAW)

Three other designated NEB positions:

Skilled Trades - Dave Cassidy (CAW)
Retired Workers - Len Harrison (CAW)
Racialized and Indigenous Workers - Ruth Pryce (CAW)

For more information on the Unifor Founding Convention, please visit: http://www.newunionconvention.ca/

 

CAW's Lewenza to step down as new union emerges

GREG KEENAN
The Globe and Mail
Aug. 7, 2013


The labour chiefs who put together a merger of two of Canada's largest unions are retiring, opening one of the most powerful positions in the Canadian labour movement to new leadership.

LewenzaKen Lewenza, president of the Canadian Auto Workers union, and Dave Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, will step aside when the merger takes effect in September. The announcement is expected on Thursday in Toronto.

They will nominate Jerry Dias, a 54-year-old veteran of the CAW, to be president of the new union, called Unifor. The merger will create a single 300,000-member union with employees across the country in manufacturing and autos, telecommunications, health care, cab drivers, pipelines, aerospace and newspapers.

Whoever gets the role will have one of the most high-profile – and difficult – jobs in organized labour.

The Unifor merger comes amid difficult times for unions in Canada. Overall union membership in Canada grew between 1981 and 2011, but the proportion of private sector workers belonging to unions fell to 15 per cent from about 30 per cent.

Some companies with unionized work forces are facing trouble from a high dollar and a sluggish economy, and many of those businesses are insisting on concessions from employees – a current example being the lockout of 900 employees at the Lake Erie operations of United States Steel Corp.

Political winds have also been unfavourable to unions: The federal government has intervened to end legal strikes, and the leading opposition party in Ontario is talking about implementing so-called "right-to-work" laws if elected, which would weaken union power, in a bid to revive the province's battered manufacturing sector.

One purpose of the merger is to create a labour group strong enough to stand up to governments and corporations that began cutting workers' pay, pensions and rights even before the recession, but picked up the pace of that activity during the 2008-2009 downturn, Mr. Dias said in an interview.

"It's not a crime to expect to have a decent standard of living," he said. "People have almost been conditioned that, as a result of globalization, we have to expect less."

Workers are afraid to speak out because of the high unemployment rate and the loss of good-paying jobs, he said.

If Mr. Dias, 54, is elected at a Labour Day weekend convention that will ratify the merger and choose a new president, he will be the first leader of the union that represents auto workers in Canada to come from outside that industry.

He rose in the ranks of the CAW and its predecessor, the Canadian branch of the United Auto Workers, through the aerospace industry. He joined the union in 1978 at what was then de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd., where his first job was in the metal stamping shop.

His father was the president of the UAW local at the plant in the Downsview area of northwestern Toronto from 1967 to 1978.

"That was the focus of all the discussions around the breakfast table, the dinner table. My entire upbringing as a child was in a strong trade union family," Mr. Dias said. "We were a working class family … so it's absolutely in my blood."

His wife, Leslie, is a national representative for CAW workers with Air Canada.

Mr. Dias followed in his father's footsteps to become president of Local 112 and played a key role in persuading the Ontario government to purchase de Havilland and avert the closing of one of the largest industrial employers in Toronto.

In 1993, he joined the national staff of the CAW as aerospace industry co-ordinator and, in 2007, he became an assistant to then-CAW president Buzz Hargrove, a position he kept when Mr. Lewenza was elected president in 2008.

Mr. Dias is also a social activist. This year, for the fourth year in a row, he will participate in the "Hope in High Heels" walk, during which men walk in women's high-heel shoes to raise money for Halton Women's Place, which runs shelters for abused women in Burlington and Milton, Ont.

During his first walk in 2010, he set of goal of raising $30,000, said Carm Bozzo, the organization's development manager. "I thought he was nuts, but he did it."

 

Anthony Bonello Passes
Away July 1, 2013

Anthony Bonello

Anthony Bonello

October 16, 1932 - July 1, 2013
Retired October 1, 1995

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the
passing of Retiree Anthony Bonello on July 1, 2013.

On behalf of CAW Local 584 we wish to
extend our deepest condolences to his Wife,
Family and his Brothers Retirees Charlie and Alfie.

Funeral Information Link

 

Stay Clear of Scab Beer!

As we just celebrated Canada Day this past weekend, the CAW is still encouraging all union members –and members of the public – to show their support and solidarity to 50 striking Labatt brewery workers in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

These workers (members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Union of Public and Private Employees) have been on strike since April 10, in response to massive contract concessions tabled by their employer. The employer has even gone so far as to demand that NAPE members train the replacement workers who are taking their jobs, while on strike! It’s outrageous.

NAPE, along with their national counterpart NUPGE (National Union of Public and General Employees) as well as the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour and other unions across the country have launched a boycott of all Labatt/AB InBev domestic and import products.

The CAW fully supports this boycott.

To lend your support, please DO NOT purchase any of the following beers:
-        Stella Artois
-        Stella Artois Light
-        Becks
-        Brahma
-        Hoegaarden                              
-        Leffe
-        Staropromen
-        Boddingtons
-        Bass
-        Lowenbrau
-        Ozujsko Pivo

Let’s pressure Labatt to get back to the bargaining table, and negotiate a fair settlement with these sisters and brothers.
For more information about the boycott, and how you can support NAPE members, visit: www.nape.nf.ca

 

Joe Hinrichs: Keeping up
the momentum at Ford

GREG KEENAN
The Globe and Mail
July 3, 2013

When the recession devastated the auto industry in 2008-2009, Ford Motor Co. was the only Detroit-based car company to avoid Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. With the industry in full recovery mode and the North American market bouncing back and poised to return to pre-recession levels, Ford is reaping big profits, gaining market share and holding on to top spot in the Canadian sales rankings. Joe Hinrichs, president of The Americas, is charged with keeping up the momentum with a steady flow of new and redesigned vehicles, deciding when and if Ford needs to add new assembly plants in and managing growth in the emerging markets of South America.

There are forecasts that U.S. sales will hit a record 18 million vehicles before the end of the decade. Are you that optimistic?

There are scenarios with certain assumptions laid in that you can get to 18 million units in the U.S. It comes down to some key things: What's the GDP growth rate going to be and will it get back to the 3- 4-per-cent range instead of the 2-per-cent range? What are the millennials going to do when it comes to buying vehicles?

People were holding on to their vehicles longer through the recession. Do we get back to a more historical trend? Those kinds of things can get you to an 18 million unit industry in the U.S. We don't see that as kind of the base call today, but it certainly is a scenario that could unfold.

If U.S. sales rise to 18 million from about 15.5 million this year, does Ford have enough assembly capacity?

It's a hard question to answer because we have global capacity, we have regional capacity in North America and so depending on where we have available capacity and what those products are we can supplement capacity if we need to for a while or we can build new capacity. So the devil's in the details.

It's a fun subject to work on. It's a lot better than the other way.

We're going to be very careful not to repeat what happened in the past and that is have the same model being built at four or five different places. That's where you easily get into a situation where you have excess capacity that you don't need.

Where do negotiations stand with the federal and Ontario governments on Ford's proposal to redevelop the Oakville, Ont., plant to build vehicles there for global markets?

We are having good discussions with the government. They are not finalized yet. Once we get everything worked out with our business [case] and our partners in the government, then at the right time we'll have some news to share.

Are you getting close to a point where you need to get an answer?

For our planning purposes we have time lines we want to meet. We're still on those time lines.

How competitive is Canada as an auto producing nation with the dollar near par?

When you look at Canada certainly you have a good, well-trained work force. We have history. We have a good relationship with the governments both in Ontario and in Ottawa and we have an industry in North America that's continuing to grow.

So we need capacity. But when you look at Canada where it sits globally, it's one of the highest-cost manufacturing locations with the Canadian dollar where it is today.

That's a challenge that we all face for the future. Having said that, we're committed to having a Canadian manufacturing footprint. We have roughly 10 per cent of our manufacturing in Canada for vehicles, which is roughly the same as our sales mix in North America. That, on a relative basis will probably sustain itself over time.

What does Canada need to do to make itself more competitive?

I think we need to look at what's been going on around the world including in the United States ... look at what the costs are for the next generation of workers coming into the auto industry.

We need government support – that by the way, happens everywhere in the world.

We need to look for unique Canadian solutions, but at the same time move us forward to an overall more competitive manufacturing cost.

Ford recently announced the closing of a plant in Australia, also burdened by a high currency in a competitive market. How does Canada differ?

Australia is isolated with an industry of about 1 million units. Logistically it is not a good location.

The combination of the high Australian dollar and isolated location doesn't make it a good export base and not a big enough total [sales] volume industry to support manufacturing.

The Canadian situation is a little different than Australia because there is enough volume in the total North American industry to support high-volume plants, which makes up for some of those other issues.

Is Ford seeing any impact in the North American market from the fall in the value of the Japanese yen?

There can be arguments made about cause and effect, but Nissan lowered all their prices and we have seen significant increased incentives on the Prius lineup. So you look for product that's built in Japan, that's the ones we're seeing it on.

How does Ford react to that?

You have to be competitive in the marketplace, which means you have to work on your own cost structure.

At the same time, you make an argument that currencies should be freely traded and not manipulated or affected by government intervention. We continue to make that argument.

Why does Ford oppose the inclusion of Japan in the Trans Pacific Trade talks?

The reason for that is we don't believe that the Japanese auto industry has restructured to the level that the North American auto industry has. We took out all that capacity.

They have a lot of excess capacity they haven't taken out. Where does it want to go? It can't really go to China. It can't go to Europe right now because Europe's situation is difficult and the North American market is growing.

We don't think lowering duties further for Japan makes sense for the American or Canadian auto industry.

____________________________

CURRICULUM VITAE

Title: Executive vice-president Ford Motor Co. and president, The Americas

Personal: Born in Columbus, Ohio; 47 years old. Married with three children.

Education: Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, University of Dayton (Ohio); MBA, Harvard University.

Career Highlights
* Spent 10 years working for General Motors, including a job as plant manager.
* President of Ford Motor Co. of Canada Ltd. from January, 2005, to November, 2005.
* Vice-president of manufacturing, Ford North America, and later group vice-president of global manufacturing and labour affairs.
* Appointed group vice-president and president of Asia Pacific Africa for Ford in December, 2009, heading the company's operations in one of the world's fastest growing automotive markets.
* Became president, The Americas on Dec. 1, 2012.


 

Christa Pytel Passes Away

We were deeply saddened by the news that Christa Pytel, daughter of retiree John Pytel, had passed away suddenly Sunday June 16, 2013. Our Condolences go out to John Pytel and the Pytel Family.

Christa Pytel

Visitations: 
Thursday June 20 from 2-4 and 7-9

Funeral:
Friday June 21 at 2pm

Location:
Ward Funeral Home
52 Main Street South

Brampton

Map & Location

Obituary for Christa Pytel

PYTEL, Christa Maria

Suddenly on Sunday June 16, 2013 at the age of 37. Loving daughter of John and the late Catherine. Beloved sister of Paul and Kim. Cherished grand daughter of Maria and the late Zenon Lipinski, Kathy and the late Richard Hewitt, Charmaine and the late Robert Bullock. Will be sadly missed by many Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and Friends.

Family and Friends will be received at the Ward Funeral Home "Brampton Chapel", 52 Main Street South (Hwy 10), Brampton on Thursday June 20, 2013 from 2-4 & 7-9 pm.
A funeral service will be held on Friday June 21, 2013 in the chapel at 2 pm.
Cremation to follow.

As expressions of sympathy, donations to the World Wildlife Fund (wwf.ca) would be appreciated.

Visit Christa's Book of Memories Here

 

 

UNIFOR (New Name)

Unifor

TORONTO, May 30, 2013 /CNW/ - The new Canadian union being formed by the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP) and the Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW) will be named Unifor. The name and logo were unveiled today during a packed press conference of 200 local leaders, members, community supporters and allies.

"Today, we are proud to introduce our new union as Unifor, a union that will fight for working people in every sector of the economy and in every community in Canada," said CEP National President Dave Coles. "Unifor will be a union for young workers, those struggling to piece together part-time work and contract jobs, and other precarious working conditions. It will be a union for everyone."

"All together, Unifor will be: 800 local unions, 3,000 bargaining units, in more than 20 different sectors, and we're here to show that we will be a strong voice and a positive force for change for working people across this nation," said CAW National President Ken Lewenza.

Unifor Canada was chosen as a name that is expressive, dynamic, and symbolizes the two unions' aspirations as a new organization: to be united, strong, modern, forward-looking. The name was picked after a process that spanned several months and involved members, union leadership, communications advisers and community allies.

"We have a new union with a new name, and today we will begin to build the next chapter in the future of the labour movement in Canada," said CEP Secretary-Treasurer Gaétan Ménard. "This new union identity - the name and logo - expresses our aspirations for all Canadians, at work and in our communities. This new union will take our movement forward, to a new era of engagement and action."

"This is an historic moment for our two unions, and the Canadian labour movement, another concrete step in the direction of creating Canada's largest private sector union," said CAW Secretary-Treasurer Peter Kennedy. "Collectively, we will represent over 300,000 members and plan to grow to represent many more."

The two unions worked with national communications firm Strategic Communications and Pivot Design Group, in developing the name, logo and new union identity.

More information and graphics on Unifor and the new design are available at: www.newunionconvention.ca

The Founding Convention of Unifor will take place over Labour Day weekend in Toronto (August 31- September 1). At that time, CEP and CAW delegates will vote to create Unifor as an entity, and then will hold individual vote to merge with the new union.

Video with caption: "Video: On May 30, the CAW and CEP unions announced Unifor as the name of the new union that will be formed on Labour Day weekend, 2013. Watch the CAW-CEP new union name and logo video revealed. ". Video available at:Image with caption: "A strong, new, bold union for Canadian workers (CNW Group/Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW))".

PDF available here

Unifor Handout

Download the Constitution
Download the CEP Merger Agreement
Download the CAW Merger Agreement

 

Retiree Ross Sutton
Passes Away June 14, 2013

Ross Sutton

William Ross Sutton
Retired October 1, 1992
28.6 Years

Peacefully, at Headwaters Health Care Centre, Orangeville, on Friday, June 14, 2013, Ross Sutton, in his 83rd year, beloved husband for 57 years of Audrey Porterfield. Loving father of Scott and his wife Natalie, Patti and her husband Gord Crawford. Cherished grandfather of Alycia, Jennifer, Michael, Steven, Aimee and Alexis. Dear brother of Elmer (deceased 2013) and Betty, Earl and Delores, Mildred (deceased 2010) and Alastair McKinnon.

The family will receive their friends at the Egan Funeral Home Baxter & Giles Chapel, 273 Broadway, Orangeville (519-941-2630) Sunday evening from 6 -- 9 o'clock. Funeral service will be held in the chapel on Monday morning, June 17 at 11 o'clock. Interment Greenwood Cemetery. If desired, memorial donations may be made to Tweedsmuir Memorial Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 276, Orangeville L9W 2N9 or Orangeville Minor Hockey Association, 6 Northmen Way, Orangeville L9W 3B2. Condolences for the family may be offered at www.EganFuneralHome.com

 

Retiree Stan McClean
Passes away May 7, 2013

Stan McClean
1925 - 2013

Retired January 1, 1989
21.3 Years

Our deepest Condolences go out to his family.

Peacefully at Brampton Civic Hospital on May 7, 2013 surrounded by his family in his 88th year. Loving husband of the late Bettie. Cherished father of Margaret, Carol, Danny, Sharon, Ron, David and Bill. Beloved son of the late Charles and Daisy McClean. Dear brother of Eileen (Tait), Ernie, Rhesa and Delmar. Will be sadly missed by numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren and one great great grandchild. Stan is a longtime resident of Brampton. He served in the Navy during WWII and also served his community as a volunteer Firefighter.

Arrangements:
Ward Funeral Home
 Brampton Chapel
52 Main Street South
Brampton, ON

Map

Viewing:
May 10 2013 2-4pm & 7-9pm

Funeral:
May 11, 2013 11am

Link

Donations to the Canadian Cancer Society or the
Heart and Stroke Foundation would be appreciated


 

 

Local labour leaders to get
update on CAW-CEP merger

In this file photo, CAW National President Ken Lewenza speaks at the Canadian Automotive Workers' First Constitutional and Collective Bargaining Convention in Toronto on Monday, August 20, 2012. Delegates voted to merge with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP) which created the largest private sector union in Canada. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michelle Siu)

Windsor Star
Grace Macaluso
May 1, 2013

Local labour leaders will get an update Monday on the merger of the Canadian Auto Workers and Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions.

The meeting, slated for noon at CAW Local 444 union hall, is aimed at union presidents and unit chairs of the CAW and CEP, although individual members also can attend, said Peter Kennedy, CAW national secretary-treasurer and co-chair of the proposal committee.

"It's important that the leadership gets an opportunity to be advised of where we're at in this process," said Kennedy, who along with CEP co-chair Gatean Menard, will attend the meeting. "We want to get feedback and input from leadership in advance of the founding convention."

A new name has yet to be determined, although the committee has received more than 7,000 suggestions from union members, said Kennedy.

Communications experts from both founding unions have been working with designers and conducting focus group testing of potential names and identities, said Kennedy. A full report on that process will be provided to the regional meetings.

A decision on the new name will be made by the national executive boards of the CAW and the CEP later this spring.

A meeting has been scheduled in Brampton for May 7, 2013 at CAW Local 1285 Hall on 23 Regan Road at 1:00 PM.

The new union will represent more than 300,000 members in sectors across the country. It will hold its founding convention in Toronto, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, from Aug. 30 to Sept. 1.

 

 

A Song for Electro-Motive Workers

Pete Denomme & The Cosmic Cowboys: They Keep Rollin'

 

Ford workers toss
unwanted gadgets

By Peter Criscione
Brampton Guardian

April 23, 2013

In celebration of Earth Day, Ford Motor Company and the Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW) hosted a recycling drive for Brampton employees.

Employees at the Dixie Road facility dropped off their idle electronics throughout the day yesterday as staff volunteers collected as well as organized and hauled the tired equipment into crates for disposal.

Recycling drive. Sharon Charter, left and Dave Champagne fill a crate up with old electronic components. Local 584 and Local 1324 and The Ford Motor Company held the event on Earth Day in the parking lot of 8000 Dixie Road. Next year the hope is to make it a public event.  Photos by George Beshiri CAW Locals 584 and 1324, along with Target Recycling and Ford Motor Company, planned the event as a way to raise awareness about recycling and help out the environment.

"We think our event is an excellent example of how local businesses and unions are working together to reduce our environmental impact and, hopefully, provide motivation for others to follow suit," said Dave Champagne, president of CAW Local 584.

The theme for Monday's event was "recycle your trash, don't trash your earth" and generated a heap of old computers, televisions, scanners, printers and other unwanted electronics.

Champagne described the event as a success and unveiled plans to open the drive to members of the public.

"While this is the inaugural drop off, our intent is to grow it in the future to include the community too," Champagne

Earth Day 2013

 

NO IN-PLANT ELECTIONS
All Postions are Acclaimed

GUIDE

Dave Willson   -    Acclaimed

 

LABOUR COUNCIL DELEGATE

Tammy Dempsey    -    Acclaimed

 

BYLAWS COMMITTEE

Monica Pelyea   -   Acclaimed

************

NOMINATIONS RESULTS

April 14, 2013

GUIDE

Dave Willson - Accept

Monica Pelyea - Reserve

Tammy Dempsey - Reserve

Barb Morrison - Decline

Tony Gilmour - Decline

LABOUR COUNCIL DELEGATE

Michelle Harwood - Reserve

Tammy Dempsey - Reserve

BYLAWS COMMITTEE

Monica Pelyea - Reserve

Barb Morrison - Reserve


 

 

Senator shows why 'sober second thought' matters


Toronto Star
Carol Goar
April 24, 2013

Liberal senator holds the floor for 85 minutes, taking apart Tory anti-union bill clause by clause. Six Conservatives applaud.

Normally a speech in the Senate would attract as much attention as an avalanche in Antarctica. But on April 16, word filtered out that Opposition Leader James Cowan had something important to say.

Economist Armine Yalniznyan, tipped off in advance, listened.

Cowan delivered the kind of speech rarely heard in Parliament these days. It was sweeping in its scope and rich in detail. Having practised law for four decades before his Senate appointment, Cowan knew how to build a case, back it up with credible evidence and use his rhetorical skills to hold the attention of his audience. When he reached the end, six Conservative senators joined their Liberal colleagues in applauding.

The focus of Cowan's speech was Bill C-377, one of the rare private member's bills approved by the Commons. It was introduced by Conservative backbencher Russ Hiebert and whisked through all stages of Commons debate in a single year.

It would require unions to make public all expenditures exceeding $5,000 and every paycheque over $100,000. They would also be required to disclose what percentage of their funds they used for lobbying and political activities.

The Liberals hope to hold up the legislation in the Senate long enough that it will die on the order paper.

Cowan began his speech by putting Bill C-377 in context. "It's part of a larger story, one in which the government of Stephen Harper is trying to systematically silence individuals and organizations that dare to challenge it publicly," he said.

Then he set out his proof:

•Since 2006, the government has systematically cancelled funding to groups that question its priorities; women's organizations that promote gender equality; the Canadian Council on Learning, which advocates education beginning in early childhood; foreign development agencies that side with impoverished Africans and Asians against western development of their resources, and anti-poverty groups at home.

•Next it went after environmental groups, threatening to revoke their charitable status if they delayed pipelines or advocated sustainable development.

•Then it muzzled federal scientists, record-keepers and librarians.

Now it has set its sights on organized labour, promising to make unions accountable to their members. But laws already exist to do that, Cowan pointed out. Both the Canada Labour Code and provincial statutes require unions to provide their members with up-to-date financial statements and any other internal document on request at no cost. "The bill is simply not needed."

After questioning the bill's rationale, he proceeded analyze it clause-by-clause, showing the consequences of each provision.

He clarified how many people would be caught in its net; not just a handful of union bosses, but tens of thousands of suppliers and contractors — from caterers to computer technicians — who do business with unions. He refuted the Tory contention that the bill would cost taxpayers nothing, pointing out Revenue Canada would have to collate, process, verify and publish much more information than it has ever done, which would require either more employees or large overtime payments. He reminded listeners the bill would impose an onerous administrative burden on unions — especially small locals — pushing aside their members' needs. It would rip open the privacy of anyone who worked for or provided services to unions and give firms seeking to undercut a union supplier a gold mine of previously confidential information.

"I want to be absolutely sure that we will be voting with our eyes wide open on this private member's bill," Cowan concluded, thanking fellow legislators for their patience.

The speech was an oratorical tour de force. To Yalnizyan, it represented "an important moment in our political and parliamentary history." She emailed the text to all her contacts and asked them to circulate it widely. It has now spread through the women's movement, the academic community, the anti-poverty network and social media.

It is unlikely Bill C-377 will go down in the Senate. The Conservatives hold 63 of its 105 seats. But it will be debated thoroughly and it may be amended extensively. All the while, the clock will be ticking down to an election.

Cowan knew one senator couldn't turn the tide. But for 85 minutes on a Tuesday afternoon, he made the "chamber of sober second thought" matter.


Link to full Speech: Link to Speech



Auto manufacturing in Canada in long-term decline, report warns

The Canadian auto industry is attracting less investment, creating fewer jobs, and comprises a shrinking share of North American output, the report by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants found. REUTERS

Canada's share of North American auto
manufacturing in decline, report shows.

By: Dana Flavelle Economy
Apr 20, 2013

Despite nearly record high sales of autos in the U.S. and Canada last year, Canada's share of North American auto production continued to slide, a new report shows.

The Canadian industry is attracting less investment, creating fewer jobs, and comprises a shrinking share of North American output, the report by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants found.

By almost every measure, the state of auto manufacturing in Canada is "dismal" and shows few signs of improving, the report released Thursday concludes.

The report looked at all manufacturers, not just the Detroit Three, and defines North America to include Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

The most worrisome trend is the declining investment in Canadian plants, the author, Dennis DesRosiers, said in an interview. "If they're not investing, it's not going to get better."

Since auto industry sales began recovering in earnest from the last recession, auto makers have invested $42.3 billion (U.S.) in North American plants, according to data supplied by the Centre for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich.

But only $2.3 billion (U.S.) went to Canada, the research centre found. The rest was spent in the U.S. and Mexico.

One of the issues facing government is the use of subsidies to compete for auto industry investment, the research centre's Kim Hill said in a telephone interview.

"From our research, the incentives -- whether it's future tax abatements or cash or free land or low interest loans -- just to be at the table you have to be willing to talk about that," Hill said.

In the latest example, a Kentucky state finance authority said Thursday it had approved $146.5 million (U.S.) in tax incentives to induce Toyota Motor Corp. to expand its plant in Georgetown.

Already the company's largest plant in North America, Toyota would have to invest $531.2 million (U.S.) and create 570 full-time jobs to receive the full value of the credits, the authority said.

Toyota may add the Lexus ES to the line-up of vehicles built in the Kentucky plant, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal. The company is scheduled to make a production announcement Friday in New York.

Canadian auto industry manufacturers now account for just 15.6 per cent of North American product, down from 17 per cent in 2010, the report by DesRosiers found. Meanwhile, Mexico's share has risen to 19 per cent.

Automotive industry employment is also suffering.

Employment peaked in Canada in 2000 at 153,000 workers. By 2009, it had fallen to 98,000. Since then, even with the robust recovery in sales, the auto industry has added just 4,000 jobs.

"This is an employment-less recovery," DesRosiers said.

During contract negotiations with the Canadian Auto Workers last fall, the Detroit Three auto-makers said Canada is no longer cost competitive with other jurisdictions, citing higher wages and a rising Canadian dollar.

The union agreed in contract talks with the Detroit Three last fall to lower wages and benefits for new hires. It has also called on the federal government to develop a national auto strategy.

Canada also lost a cost advantage on health care – worth $2,000 to $3,000 per vehicle -- after the U.S. began moving toward a more Canadian-style health care system and the United Auto Workers assumed the cost of the Detroit Three auto makers health care program, DesRosiers said.

The federal government has been "attentive" to the industry's problem and is addressing it in a variety of ways, including renewing a five-year $250 million auto industry investment fund, DesRosiers said. But the Ontario government is "nowhere on this issue," he said.

Ontario recently shared a $34 million investment with the federal government in a Toyota plant in Ingersoll.

Ford of Canada says it produces about 10 per cent of North American cars in Canada, and also accounts for 10 per cent of North American sales. It also buys $3.6 billion U.S. worth of goods from Canadian suppliers each year.

Chrysler Canada said its two plants in Canada account for 25 per cent of its global production. Production at its Brampton and Windsor assembly plants last year was up 23 per cent and 15 per cent respectively, the company also noted.

While some Canadian auto makers' absolute numbers are higher, DesRosiers said, their share of the North American market has declined.

 

Ford's final offer

Dianne Craig, CEO of Ford of Canada

Craig dangles jobs.

April 2013
Tim Shufelt
Canadian Business

Ford has something big planned for Canada. But to make it happen, the company needs the government's assistance, says Dianne Craig, CEO of Ford of Canada. The company is reportedly considering a $1.2-billion expansion of its Oakville plant—contingent on government subsidizing one-third of the cost. The Big Three automakers contend it still costs too much to build vehicles in Canada, despite wage and pension concessions made by the Canadian Auto Workers union last fall. In response to the carmakers' concerns, the federal government recently ponied up $250 million by extending the recession-era Automotive Innovation Fund. The money was welcomed by the industry as necessary, but not necessarily sufficient.

Four years ago, the financial crisis and ensuing collapse of the auto industry meant the only consideration for most companies was self-preservation. Unlike its Detroit counterparts, Ford averted bankruptcy and survived the recession without being bailed out by taxpayers, by virtue of a timely $23.5-billion loan and a last-ditch restructuring.

Ford now leads Canadian auto sales, having displaced General Motors from its near-permanent perch atop the rankings. Craig, who became CEO in November 2011, spoke to Canadian Business staff writer Tim Shufelt about Ford's brush with death, its path to predominance and the future of vehicle manufacturing in Canada.

Canadian Business: As the industry began to crumble in 2008, when did you realize that Ford faced more than just a downturn, that this was an existential crisis?

Dianne Craig: This was very different. I started in 1986, and the first real downturn was in 1992 to 1994. That was nothing. The U.S. industry was around 14 million vehicles, and we thought that was catastrophic. In 2009, it dropped below 10 million. We let go of 67,000 employees in North America. We closed 17 plants. A lot of my good friends lost their jobs at Ford. It would have been all for naught if we hadn't got through it.

CB: How close did the company come to bankruptcy?

DC: It was very close. Even when we took out the loan, we didn't anticipate the industry dropping that far. But we stuck to it, and we were very pleased we didn't have to take precious taxpayer money. And even through the depths of the recession, we never stopped investing in our products. Whether that meant selling the furniture and sitting on the floor, it was all about making sure we kept investing in the product.

CB: Is there still a perception that Ford is just a truck company?

DC: I think we've changed that perception. You can't be the market leader and be perceived as just a truck company. In the past, we were. We were a truck company and a Mustang company. That's changed over the last five years. We have a lineup of cars that we didn't have four years ago: the Fiesta, a new Focus, a new Fusion, which is drop-dead gorgeous, and of course we still have the Mustang. There were segments we didn't play in and now we're a player.

CB: Did the crisis, in a way, give Ford an advantage over the other Detroit automakers?

DC: We were certainly better positioned to weather the storm. And no one has estimated what impact the bankruptcies had on the other companies in terms of their brand image. We have so many customers, even today, that tell our dealers they're really grateful Ford did it on their own. We're really proud of that.

CB: Ford has claimed the Canadian sales crown for the first time in decades.

DC: For three years in a row.

CB: Right. Do you see that happening without the financial crisis?

DC: It all comes back to working the plan.

CB: Do you see the industry opening new plants in the near future?

DC: When we went through the restructuring, it was about optimizing the capacity we had. We don't see, at this point, adding any other plants in Canada. But we have a very stable footprint with the plants we have in Windsor and Oakville.

CB: What can you tell me about the Oakville project?

DC: I'll just say that we have the opportunity to create a global platform here in Oakville that will ship all around the world. We already ship today to Brazil, we ship to China. But there could be an opportunity to ship to Europe. It would be one of five we have around the world. To have it in Canada could be really exciting.

CB: Before the market recovered, the company said the project couldn't go ahead without government support. Is that still the case?

DC: There are a number of ingredients that go into it, whether it's the labour agreement, whether it's working with governments. They're all key ingredients.

CB: Without the project, is there a risk the Oakville plant could close?

DC: There are all the ingredients that have to go into it, then we make a business decision. So that's what we're going to do.

CB: How do Ford's labour costs in Canada compare to other jurisdictions?

DC: Certainly the Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW) negotiations reduced the gap significantly. We felt very good about the negotiations. We got a very good competitive agreement. It narrows the gap. Is it down below the U.S.? No, but does it allow us to compete in Canada despite a high dollar? Yes. Over the next four to five years as new workers come in at a lower wage, we'll continue to reduce that gap. But the most important point is that the labour agreement gives us the opportunity to continue to manufacture in Canada. Also, the prime minister came to Oakville to announce the Automotive Innovation Fund. That's critical, because there is investment all around the world attracting that business to their countries, the U.S. included. The announcement of that fund was really important. It's really important to work with labour and government, both Ontario and federal, to make sure we attract that investment in Canada and keep it here.

CB: Is Canada one of the most expensive places in the world for Ford to build vehicles?

DC: I'll say this: we believe we can be competitive in Canada. The CAW agreement was critical. Without it, it could have been a different story. We would not be having a conversation about the potential of Oakville.

CB: Do you still need much more in government subsidies for this industry to be competitive in Canada?

DC: All I would say is that it's a very encouraging step in the right direction. South of the border, U.S. and state governments are contributing upwards of 50% of the investment to attract manufacturing. In South America, in Brazil, they're looking at up to 50% of the investment, because they know to have a vibrant economy, manufacturing is critical. Especially with the spinoff of jobs. The prime minister understands that. They've been great partners. In 2005, in Oakville, they were partners in terms of investing in flexible manufacturing. We wouldn't even be having the conversation about the global platform if we didn't make that investment. Essex, thanks to the Ontario government and federal government, was the only plant we reopened. The commitment was for 400 jobs; today it's 750.

CB: Is it only through subsidies that Canada can compete with those lower-cost jurisdictions?

DC: It's a key ingredient. There are a lot of pieces that go into it, but in the absence of that, it becomes very problematic.

 

Former Ontario MPP Peter Kormos has died

Former Ontario NDP politician has died at the age of 60. In this 2002 photo, he’s pictured at Queen’s Park, where he was the NDP’s house leader. (Kevin Frayer/The Canadian Press)

ADRIAN MORROW
The Globe and Mail
March 30, 2013

Peter Kormos, the charismatic and outspoken long-time former Niagara Region NDP MPP, has died. He was 60.

Police were called to his home in Welland, Ont. Saturday and he was pronounced dead.

Mr. Kormos, a jovial figure around Queen's Park, was first elected in a 1988 by-election. Appointed to cabinet in 1990, he ultimately broke with then-premier Bob Rae over the latter's refusal to implement public auto insurance.

A staunch leftist, he also opposed his own party's austere social contract legislation.

He unsuccessfully sought his party's leadership in 1996, after Mr. Rae's departure.

Mr. Kormos was re-elected five times before choosing not to stand again in 2011.

He was elected to Niagara Regional Council last year and co-hosted a radio program on CKTB.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath described Mr. Kormos as a "legend in politics," and recalled his integrity, eloquence and colourful persona.

"New Democrats, and Ontarians across the province, have lost a giant today and I've lost a mentor and friend," she said in a statement. "Peter earned the respect of everyone he met regardless of political stripe. He never minced words and he never put on airs. Peter treated everyone equally whether he was speaking with eloquence on the floor of the Legislature, or shooting the breeze with his friends at the Welland market. Peter Kormos was the genuine article and truly one of a kind. He made a difference in people's lives and left behind a pair of cowboy boots that will never be filled."

Premier Kathleen Wynne recalled Mr. Kormos's friendship and encyclopedic knowledge of legislative procedure.

"Peter Kormos was a supportive friend, and I will miss his presence and his profound understanding of parliamentary procedure," she wrote on Twitter. "My thoughts are with Peter Kormos' loved ones, his friends and community, and his extended NDP family."

Opposition Leader Tim Hudak said that, while he and Mr.Kormos hailed from opposite sides of the political spectrum, the pair shared Slovak roots and came from adjoining ridings.

Mr. Kormos, he said, had a rare ability to set partisanship aside at the end of the day and described him as "friendly, funny, compassionate and thoughtful."

"But Peter was also a tenacious fighter for the things he believed in. Eloquent, informed, by turns fiery and analytical. He was an iconic figure in the New Democratic Party, and beyond. Peter represented true democratic representation at its best," Mr. Hudak said in a statement. "It's rarely said – and in the best sense of the phrase – by politicians these days when speaking of someone so diametrically opposed in beliefs and convictions, but I can say with sad confidence on this day, 'We shall not see his like again'."

Peter Kormos, long-time Ontario MPP, remembered
as outspoken and popular politician

Lanky and lean in his trademark cowboy boots, Peter Kormos's physical appearance matched his personality: plain-spoken, gregarious, a maverick.

A popular former NDP MPP and cabinet minister, he was an idealist and a populist, a beloved man-of-the-people to his constituents and a thorn in the side of several premiers, from his own party and others. He was also possessed of a sharp intellect, an encyclopedic knowledge of parliamentary procedure and a rare ability to set partisanship aside and befriend even his ideological opposites.

Mr. Kormos was found dead in his Welland, Ont., home Saturday morning. He was 60 years old. He had suffered a pair of minor ailments in recent years – a case of Bell's Palsy and a bad back – but his death took friends and colleagues by surprise. The cause is still under investigation and a post-mortem is scheduled for Sunday.

"He was a fighter for the underdog and he maintained that commitment to the people who are struggling every day," NDP Leader Andrea Horwath recalled in an interview with The Globe and Mail. "No matter how smart he was, no matter how strategic he was, he would have people flocking to him at the market and the firehall and the drycleaner when he went out in his riding."

Born Oct. 7, 1952, to a working class family in Welland, Mr. Kormos's political activism began as a high school student during the height of the 1960s counterculture: he was expelled for leading a student strike to protest the principal's veto power over the student council.

Living on his own from age 16, he put himself through Osgoode Hall Law School by working nights at a bookstore on Yonge Street. Degree in hand, he returned to Welland to as a criminal defence lawyer, where he tussled with local police he accused of assaulting one of his clients.

He joined the legislature in a 1988 by-election to replace popular MPP Mel Swart. Then-NDP Leader Bob Rae campaigned closely with him that year and saw his charisma first-hand.

"He was a terrific natural politician. He was very good with people in his constituency. He understood the old adage that all politics is local – he understood that better than anybody," Mr. Rae, now a federal Liberal MP, recalled in an interview. "Whatever factory we walked through or a couple of local restaurants, he was just extremely, extremely popular, very personable. He knew everybody, was very engaged with people and people liked him a lot."

When the party won the 1990 election, Mr. Rae appointed Mr. Kormos to cabinet as Minister of Consumer and Business Services. But the two men soon had a falling out after Mr. Rae reneged on a party pledge to set up a public auto insurance company. Mr. Kormos also appeared – fully clothed – as a "sunshine boy" in the Toronto Sun, to the consternation of many colleagues.

Dropped from cabinet, Mr. Kormos became a left-wing critic of his own party as it tacked to the centre. He voted against Mr. Rae's Social Contract package of legislation designed to rein in government spending.

"Peter was an old-school fundamentalist when it came to the NDP and to politics. He was very much somebody who saw good guys and bad guys," Mr. Rae said. "He was somebody who was instinctively happier in opposition to authority than being subject to it."

Back on the opposition benches after Mike Harris's Progressive Conservatives came to power in 1995, Mr. Kormos put his parliamentary skills to good use. Not only was he razor-sharp questioner and gifted orator, but his effective communication and knowledge of parliamentary procedure helped keep the party and its reduced caucus afloat during its hardest days.

Mr. Kormos helped organize a 10-day filibuster when Mr. Harris merged several suburbs into the City of Toronto. And after the NDP lost official party status following the 1999 election, colleagues say it was Mr. Kormos who pressured Mr. Harris to restore it.

His legislative know-how saw him take on the role of house leader.

Ms. Horwath also credits Mr. Kormos with ensuring André Marin – Ontario's dogged, outspoken and oft-critical ombudsman – was re-appointed.

Mr. Kormos ran unsuccessfully for the NDP leadership in 1996, placing third. In 2009, he supported Ms. Horwath's bid for the leadership.

"For me [his support] was more than just a political boost in the course of the campaign, because Peter was a legend in the NDP even then. He was top-notch in his intellect and his strategy," Ms. Horwath said.

NDP House Leader Gilles Bisson, who served as chief whip under Mr. Kormos, recalled both his tough commitment to principle and his warm friendship.

"If he saw something and he didn't like it, he would tell you. He was pretty straight up. And if he liked something, it was the same. He was a guy who did things according to what he thought was right," Mr. Bisson said.

On one occasion, Mr. Bisson recalled, a Liberal MPP took umbrage with Mr. Kormos's attire – an open-necked shirt with the sleeves rolled up and no tie – and moved to have the legislature adopt a suit-and-tie dress code. In protest, Mr. Kormos organized a caucus protest: his fellow NDP MPPs showed up in the House one day all dressed like him, while Mr. Kormos wore a tuxedo.

"He was making a point about who he was – and he wasn't about to change it for anybody," Mr. Bisson said.

Outside work, Mr. Bisson recalled, Mr. Kormos liked to collect fountain pens and books of photography, and loved to shoot pictures himself. One time, Mr. Bisson took him out fishing in Northern Ontario, where Mr. Kormos enthusiastically photographed a moose and a cougar. When, at one point, the boat had to be hauled around some rapids, Mr. Bisson had to jump out and do the work so Mr. Kormos wouldn't ruin his cowboy boots, Mr. Bisson laughed.

Mr. Kormos decided not to seek another term in 2011, but returned in politics last year when he won a seat on Niagara Regional Council.

He was also excited about returning to practice criminal defence law, Mr. Bisson said.

Premier Kathleen Wynne said Mr. Kormos was "the person to watch" on representing constituents with "passion, intelligence and dedication."

"He was a supportive friend, and I will miss his presence and his profound understanding of parliamentary procedure," she said in a statement. "Peter was a man who never stopped fighting for what he believed in, and he firmly stood his ground within his party and in the face of any opposition. He was a passionate advocate of equality, and an important ally of the working class."

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak said that, while he and Mr. Kormos came from opposite ends of the political spectrum, they bonded over their shared Slovak roots.

"Eloquent, informed, by turns fiery and analytical, he was an iconic figure in the New Democratic Party, and beyond. Peter represented true democratic representation at its best," Mr. Hudak said in a statement. "It's rarely said – and in the best sense of the phrase – by politicians these days when speaking of someone so diametrically opposed in beliefs and convictions, but I can say with sad confidence on this day, 'We shall not see his like again'."

 

 

EcoBoost engine threatens Essex Engine plant: Expert

The Ford Essex Engine Plant is seen in this 2010 file photo. (Dan Janisse / The Windsor Star)

Windsor Star
Grace Macaluso
Feb 28, 2013

Ford Motor Company's plan to make its line of EcoBoost engines available throughout most of its product line threatens the three-shift operation at the automaker's Essex Engine Plant, an industry expert warned Tuesday.

"We don't think the plant is in danger of shutting down, but production volumes will decrease over time," said Michael Omotoso, senior manager of global power train for LMC Automotive in Troy, Mich. "I would expect it to move to two shifts over the next two years."

Essex Engine employs about 800 workers who assemble the 5.0-litre V-8 engine on three shifts. The engine powers the popular F-150 pickup as well as the Ford Mustang muscle car.

EcoBoost engines will be offered on more than 90 per cent of Ford's North American product lineup this year, and 95 per cent by 2015, Ford said. Omotoso said the plan could also include the 2015 Mustang, although Ford would not comment on future product plans.

As Ford moves the Mustang onto a global platform, it would make sense to offer a 3.5-litre, four-cylinder EcoBoost engine as an entry-level option, especially in places such as Europe where gas is more expensive, said Omotoso. "People could get 365 h.p. which is similar to the power of a V-8 engine, but with much better fuel economy — about two to three miles per gallon, depending on the application."

When asked whether the expansion of EcoBoost engines throughout Ford's lineup could affect the Essex Engine plant, company spokeswoman Lauren More said there would be "no impact on Windsor. There are no production changes planned for the Windsor operations at this time."

Chris Taylor President CAW Local 200Chris Taylor, president of CAW Local 200, said the plant assembled 309,000 5.0-litre engines in 2012. Ford has yet to finalize volumes for 2013, but "we are not seeing any decreases."

The vast majority of the engines produced at Essex Engine go into the F-150 series pickup, said Taylor, who expressed optimism about the future of the V-8 engine.

While the EcoBoost engine has "eaten into the number of engines we could have produced, the V-8 is still prevalent," he said, noting that the V-8 F-150 outsells the EcoBoost version.

"There's always new technology down the road, but the reality is V-8s are not going away." The horsepower and torque of a V-8 are in demand especially for heavy duty trucks and motorhomes, Taylor added.

"Even the motorheads out there want the V-8s."

Ford and other automakers are under pressure to produce more fuel-efficient vehicles in the wake of stricter fuel economy standards in both Canada and the United States.

 

Florida not expected to enforce international driver's permit rule

Momin Qureshi,
The Canadian Press,
680 News
Feb 15, 2013

The Florida Highway Patrol will not enforce a state law that required Canadian and non-U.S. resident drivers to carry an international driver's permit.

Officials in the Sunshine State said the law requires further review because it may violate an international treaty and enforcement was being deferred.

According to the rules introduced quietly Jan. 1, all visitors with foreign licences must have an international permit issued by their country of residence as well as a valid licence from home.

Many Canadians were caught off guard by the regulations, which also apply to any vehicle, including rentals.

Pete Karageorgos of the Insurance Bureau of Canada told 680News that Canadians should expect to be covered by insurance as usual.

"We've asked insurance companies to operate on the status quo that if you do have a client in the United States or in Florida specifically that your insurer does in fact cover your claim."

However, he advises that to err on the side of caution to obtain the permit until the law is clarified.

"To be on the safe side, get the International Driving Permit," he said.

"They're not that difficult to get. Although I understand that there is a great deal of interest and large line-ups to get them."

"They're fairly inexpensive, fairly easy to get, it's good to have."

Officials said the law was passed so police officers do not encounter foreign licence documents in languages they cannot read.

The IDP translates existing driver licence information in 10 languages, is valid for one year and accompanies a valid driver's licence.

In a statement issued Thursday afternoon, however, the department said it learned its new requirement might violate the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic, an international treaty to which the U.S. is a signatory.

"The Florida Highway Patrol will defer enforcement of violations of the amended statutory section until a final determination of the alignment of the amendment with the treaty can be made," the department said.

"Non-resident visitors to Florida who wish to drive while here will be required to have in their immediate possession a valid driver license issued in his or her name from another state or territory of the U.S. or from their country of residence. However, the FHP will not take enforcement action based solely on the lack of an International Driving Permit."

The Canadian Automobile Association — which issues international driving permits — called on Florida to amend the law to exempt Canadians.

"No North American jurisdiction has ever asked for an IDP before from another North American jurisdiction. This is a first," CAA spokesman Ian Jack told The Canadian Press.

"They've subsequently told us that they've recognized that it was a mistake to include Canada and that they will be moving to exempt Canada, but on the other hand, because it's legislation and their legislature doesn't sit till mid-March, it's going to take some time for that to happen."

How to obtain a permit
•The permits can be obtained through CAA offices
•Canadians currently in Florida can apply for one through via mail
•The IDP costs $25
•Applicants must be 18 years of age and have a valid Canadian driver's licence
•Applicants need two passport-sized photographs

•Interview: Pete Karageorgos, Insurance Bureau of Canada

 

Canadians now require
International Driving
Permit in Florida

Florida

680 News
John Stall
Feb 14, 2013

A new law in effect in Florida requires Canadians to have an International Driving Permit to drive in that state, in addition to a regular driver's licence.

The state legislature passed a law requiring all non-resident drivers in Florida to carry such a permit as of Jan. 1, 2013.

The new law applies to drivers renting cars as well.

This is not something a driver has to test for, since he or she can buy such a permit from the Canadian Automobile Association for $25.

It's a standardized document that translates your licence details into 10 different languages.

There are up to three-million Canadian snowbirds in Florida; however the CAA told the Toronto Star it is trying to get the state of Florida to modify or wave the law for Canadians.

The next legislative session doesn't take place until March, and the Star reported the soonest any change could take place would be July.

The CAA is urging drivers to get the permit if they are heading to Florida for the March Break.

For Audio Interview click below

Interview: CAA's Ian Jack on Florida's new International Driving Permit

 

 

Elections Results

ALTERNATE HEALTH AND SAFETY

 

Tammy Dempsey    59

Greg Barnard      99      Elected


Spoiled Ballots: 3

Total Ballots Cast: 161

********************************

Elections Results

February 12, 2013

LABOUR COUNCIL DELEGATE

Chris Brookbanks           Acclaimed

                  Michelle Harwood           Declined

 

 

Retiree Stephen Barnicke
Passes away
February 9, 2013

Steve Barnicke

Retired August 1, 1983
14 Years of Service

Our condolences go out to his son retiree
Rick Barnicke, his wife Chris, his Mom
and the entire Barnicke Family

BARNICKE, Stephen - Peacefully at Beeton Manor, Beeton on Saturday, February 9, 2013, Stephen Barnicke, Nobleton, in his 96th year, beloved husband of Margaret. Dear father of Jane and Hazen Golder, Tottenham; Rick and Chris Barnicke, Vancouver; Ron and Carol Lynn Barnicke, Calgary.

Loving grandfather of Kathy Golder and Alex Hamer, Ricky Golder and Joyce, Steven Barnicke, and Kevin Barnicke. Fondly remembered by 3 great-grandchildren. Dear brother of Joseph Barnicke, Toronto.

The family will receive their friends at the Egan Funeral Home, 203 Queen Street S. (Hwy. 50), Bolton (905-857-2213) Tuesday afternoon 2 - 4 and evening 7 - 9 o'clock. Funeral service will be held in the chapel on Wednesday morning, February 13 at 11 o'clock. Interment St. Patrick's Cemetery, Schomberg.

If desired, memorial donations may be made to the charity of your choice.


Condolences for the family may be offered at www.EganFuneralHome.com

 

NORTEL PENSIONERS
THE FINAL STRAW

Brampton Guardian
Feb 4, 2013
Terry Miller

Nortel pensioners are a determined lot even in the face of challenges from avaricious foes. In January 2013, Nortel pensioners were part of bankruptcy mediation talks in Toronto. These talks were supposed to settle about $9 billion dollars in Nortel assets. Two previous attempts to settle these assets were unsuccessful. This last attempt led by Ontario Chief Justice Warren Winkler just went south… Justice Winkler declaring that further efforts at mediation were 'no longer worthwhile'. The costs, associated with and underwritten by the Nortel bankruptcy to date, is estimated at $838 million dollars and coupled with bondholders claim, for an additional billion dollars in interest charges, ensure that the $ 9 Billion asset may be considerably reduced before any disposition is made.

Aside from interest charges, bondholders now claim anywhere from $20 to $36 billion dollars of the $ 9 billion Nortel asset. That claim doesn't leave much room for pensioners many of whom are suffering from diminished pensions and effectively few benefits. Pensioners view bondholders as vultures scraping the bones of Nortel without any consideration about workers and managers who made the company work every day.

When Justice Hinkler threw in the towel, the chances of Nortel pensioners cashing in on the $ 9 Billion dollars asset fund went adrift. The only option left appears to be litigation. It is estimated that that process will take years to resolve and by that time, if costs keep going up, little of the $9 billion will be left. In the meantime, things don't get easier for Nortel pensioners many of whom are in their seventies.

So at the end of the day, Nortel pensioners are mired in bankruptcy proceedings over $9 billion dollars of Nortel assets. The chance of federal government intervention is zero. Opposition parties are on record on making changes to the bankruptcy act to ensure protection of workers but there is no champion for pensioners in the federal government.

Prior to 2009, Nortel and its employees contributed to the pension plan. When the company filed for bankruptcy in 2009, many pensioners hoped their pensions and benefits would be protected. Pensioners paid on time but Nortel deferred its payments and when they filed for bankruptcy, the pension plan came under attack.

In 2010, Bill S216 was introduced in the Canadian Senate. S216 would have protected employees on long term disability by granting them preferred status in Nortel's and other company's bankruptcies. A companion piece Bill C501, introduced in the House of Commons would have protected Nortel pensioners and other company pensioners by granting them preferred status as well. S216 was talked out of the Senate and C 501 died on the order paper.

At the end of 2010, 375 Nortel employees on LTD lost their benefits. Tony Clement, the Minister of Industry at the time, said that to proceed with the type of protection included in S216 & C501 would have caused litigation difficulties because of the court approved Nortel settlement agreement. In that bankruptcy agreement, secured creditors, bondholders, preferred shareholders, common shareholders were first with their clams and workers and managers got whatever is left. Effectively, the federal government shied away from getting involved in the Nortel bankruptcy and by so doing left pensioners to fight it out with the bondholders.

Nortel pensioners refuse to lie down and fade away. Some of disabled pensioners are suing the two trust companies in charge of the Nortel's health fund. The Nortel disabled pensioners say that the two trust companies knowingly allowed Nortel to significantly underfund the health and welfare trust. The two trust companies say that they will vigorously defend that accusation… another battle in this on-going pension war. Nortel pensioners are organized and with the help of the CAW are continuing to seek their fair share of the $ 9 Billion dollars. That may take some doing and with litigation may take some time as well… but it may also be the final straw.

 

Harper renews $250M
auto innovation fund

Automotive Innovation Fund established
in 2008 to support auto industry

By Leslie MacKinnon, CBC News
January 7, 2012

Prime Minister Stephen Harper was at the Ford Motor Co. plant in Oakville, Ont. on Friday to announce the renewal of a fund to stimulate research and innovation in Canada's automotive industry.

The fund was first established in 2008 as part of efforts to bail out Canada's struggling automotive industry early in the last recession.

The five-year Automotive Innovation Fund required manufacturers to put up some of their own money before applying for funding targeted at specific research and development projects. The subsidy program was touted as an incentive for automakers to keep their Canadian plants open and protect jobs here.

Harper described the government's renewal of the fund as an investment.

"Any analysis of this fund is what we have invested from taxpayer dollars has been paid back many, many times to the taxpayer and will be continued to be paid many, many times to the taxpayer in terms of direct repayments but also economic activity," he said.

The government says its original outlay stimulated some $1.6 billion in innovative projects across the industry, and resulted in half a million spin-off jobs. Harper said Friday that the payoff been six times the amount the government put in the fund.

The announcement Friday commits another $250 million to the fund over five more years.

Under the original fund, the federal government contributed repayable loans to four companies, providing up to:
$80 million to Ford to establish a flexible engine assembly plant and an advanced powertrain research centre in Windsor, Ont.
$54.8 million to Linamar Corporation, to develop advanced components for transmissions, engines and drivelines.
$70.8 million to Toyota Canada to develop more fuel-efficient vehicles, including electric vehicles.
$21.7 million to Magna International to develop energy-efficient components for vehicles and powertrain components for next-generation vehicles.

Industry on rebound from recession

Despite the government's embrace of austerity and deficit reduction in its spring budget, the renewal of the fund signals the government is still willing to commit to the automotive industry.

In 2009, the government made a huge investment in the car business by bailing out the recession-battered General Motors to the tune of $9.5 billion. Since then, GM has repaid the loan part of the deal, but the government is now a part owner of the automaker.

The Ford plant, where Harper made the announcement, has said recently that it would be starting a third line at its body, paint and pre-trim sector in Oakville, creating 300 jobs which are promised first to laid-off GM workers. Ford said that the third shift was necessary due to a high demand for its products.

According to auto industry analyst Dennis Desrosiers, the new vehicle market in Canada is rapidly recovering. On his website, Desrosiers notes that light vehicle sales in November were 125,000, the second-best number on record. In October, Canada saw the highest number of vehicle sales ever.

Desrosiers has predicted that by the middle of this decade, automotive sales in North America will be back to record numbers.

Resource boom fueling domestic sales: Harper

Friday Harper pointed out that while the Ford plant in Oakville has sold 6,000 of its Edge crossovers to China, and 4,000 to Brazil, the record sales within Canada are coming in large part from resource-producing Saskachewan and Alberta.

"So let us have no doubts about this, friends: a strong resource sector in the West means high-quality manufacturing jobs in the East," Harper said, attacking the idea that a high dollar due to oil revenues hurts manufacturing in eastern regions.

Chris Taylor, president of CAW Local 200, which represents approximately 800 hourly employees at the Ford Essex Engine Plant in Windsor, called the announcement "fantastic" and "quite substantial."

"We obviously want investment," Taylor said. "It's a hell of a lot better than plant closures. This tells me the government realizes the importance of the auto industry to Canada and wants to partner with us."

While this is good news for the Canadian market, Canada still faces competition from Mexico and from some U.S. states that benefit from generous government subsidies.

A sore point with the government is that General Motors announced in late December that it will move production of the Chevrolet Camaro from Oshawa to a plant in Michigan in 2015.

Ken Lewenza, head of the Canadian Auto Workers union, suggested that the government should pressure GM to make up the loss of 100,000 units it plans to outsource to Michigan in some other way in Canada, given the fact that the government's bailout helped rescue the Canadian plant.

But Lewenza also stressd that the government must play an investor role in the auto industry, because other countries such as China and India are doing so. "If there's no partnership with government whatsoever, there would be no auto industry in Canada," he said.

 

Retiree Edward Davis Passes Away


Ed DavisPassed away peacefully on Monday January 7, 2013. A gentle and kind soul who loved to laugh; bringing a smile to those around him. Living a full and spirited life he cherished family, friends and a "good pint". He is survived by sons James, Ian, Edward and wife Francy. Grandfather "Papa" to Nicole, Natalie, Sarah,Olivia and Madeleine. Predeceased by wife Sadie in December 2000. They will now be together again.

Donations to Alzheimer's Society graciously accepted in lieu of flowers

In Memory of
Edward Davis

October 17, 1921 to January 7, 2013
Retired November 1, 1988
16 Years Service

 

 

Government Benefits 2013

Government Benefits 2013

 

EI premiums lead list
of price hikes for 2013

Toronto Star
Joanna Smith
Ottawa Bureau

January 1, 2013

OTTAWA—Prepare for higher payroll taxes and pricier passports after ringing in the new year, but if you have any money left over then you can put some more of it into your tax-free savings account.

Canadians will see more money taken off their paycheques in 2013, with the federal government increasing Employment Insurance rates for both employees and their bosses.

That means the maximum annual EI premium you'll pay will increase to $891.12 this year, up from $839.97 in 2012.

As a small consolation, the maximum weekly EI benefit will rise to $501 in 2013 from last year's $485.

Meanwhile, the maximum annual EI premium for employers will rise to $1,247.57 in 2013 from $1,175.96 in 2012.

The bad news, as many will see it, is that the rules are getting stricter.

The Conservative government announced controversial changes to the employment insurance regime this spring that are coming into effect on Jan. 6.

The new rules, which redefine what constitutes a "reasonable job search" and "suitable employment," are meant to discourage claimants from turning down job opportunities while receiving benefits and to ensure that Canadians receiving EI benefits fill vacant positions before they are offered to foreign workers.

The changes will also divide claimants into three categories: long-tenured workers, occasional claimants and frequent claimants.

Frequent claimants will be required to accept any job they are qualified to perform and wages starting at 70 per cent of their previous hourly earnings after having received benefits for seven weeks.

Meanwhile, it will cost more to get a new Canadian passport this summer.

Other increases scheduled for 2013 include:

• Passport Canada says the cost of a new five-year passport for adults will increase to $120 from $87 beginning July 1, while the cost of a child's passport will increase to $57 from $37.

At the same time, the agency will also begin offering a new 10-year passport for $160.

Passport Canada says it has been in deficit since the 2008-09 fiscal year — losing about $4.59 per passport over the past four years — and has been making up the difference with previous surpluses that run out next year.

"The current fee structure hinders Passport Canada's ability to cover costs and expenditures while maintaining existing security and service standards. It also makes implementing enhancements such as the electronic passport (ePassport), one of the Government of Canada's commitments, financially impossible," the agency said in a statement posted to the Canada Gazette website on Nov. 30.

• Canada Pension Plan benefits will increase by 1.8 per cent for those retired people already receiving them. The maximum benefit for new recipients will now by $1,012.50 per month, an increase of $25.83.

• Old Age Security benefits will also increase by 0.2 per cent. This increase will affect the basic OAS pension, the Guaranteed Income Supplement and the Allowances.

The maximum basic OAS monthly pension someone can receive will increase from $544.98 to $546.07. These new benefit rates will remain in effect until Dec. 31, 2013.

• The cost of stamps is also going up, with the price of mailing a regular letter within Canada will rise 2 cents to 63 cents on Jan. 14.

• The amount of money Canadians can contribute to the Tax Free Savings Account per year will increase by $500 to $5,500 in 2013.

Gregory Thomas, the federal director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, sees that as the silver lining to a year that will otherwise bring increased payroll taxes, but notes the new contribution limit remains far below what Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised during the 2011 election is on the horizon.