Elk Falls Workers

Campbell River B.C.

Arbitrator rules on who gets retiree benefits…

A few months ago we won an arbitration in which it was ruled that people who were 55 or older when they were severed from Catalyst, qualified for retiree benefits as well. The Union took the position that everyone 55 or older should qualify, and the Company contended that only those individuals who retired immediately after being severed would get the retiree benefits. We were back in front of the Arbitrator on Monday, asking him to clarify who was eligible to receive retiree benefits.
He issued his award today, and unfortunately we were not successful in our bid to have everyone get all retiree benefits.
The award essentially divides people effected into 3 categories.

1) Anyone who retired within the first 8 months following getting their severance would qualify for all retiree benefits (MSP, Extended Health, and Pop-up Bridging).

2) People who retired later than 8 months after receiving severance, but before the initial award was released (May 3, 2012) will receive retiree medical benefits only (MSP, Extended Health, but not Pop-up Bridging)

3) People that didn’t retire before the initial award was released do not qualify for any retiree benefits.

Because Catalyst has just emerged from CCAA, there will be no retro-activity for retiree benefits, they will be implemented as soon as possible on a going forward basis.

Because the award is full of personal details I will not be posting it, but will be contacting effected people to let them know their status.

October 24, 2012 - Posted by | General


  1. Hi Ian

    Obviously I agreed with the union’s position on this issue. When Eurocan shutdown I had just turned 55 a few months previous. We had the option to take both retirement and severance. However, if I only had the either or option I don’t think I would have retired. I knew at the time I would have to keep working and the $85,0000 severance that I would have received would have been more enticing to me than the severely reduced pension, the approximate $42,000 bridging I would have received and the annual $2,400 per year health benefit coverage. The principle of the arbitration process, that is, if you win the arbitration you are restored to the position you would have been previous to the grievance, should mean that you have all of the options returned as well. To me, everyone who was 55 on the date of severance should now be given the opportunity to decide which options/benefits they want – do they want to retire and take the severance, etc. That is the only true interpretation of the principle. What a frustrating ruling the arbitrator has given you.

    My condolences, but good for you guys for keeping up the fight.

    Don Klie
    CEP 298

    Comment by Don Klie | October 29, 2012 | Reply

  2. I severed March 2010, at 54 yrs old…. took my pension the following year (April 1st 2011), at 55 yrs old.
    Do I qualify for benefits under #2 scenario?? Sorry Ray, You needed to be 55 or older at the time you severed, even a couple of days short of you birthday would disqualify you. – Ian

    Comment by Ray Watson | October 27, 2012 | Reply

  3. Hello Ian . What is the best way to get in touch with you ? Leave a message at (250) 286-6239, and I will call you – Ian

    Comment by Keith | October 26, 2012 | Reply

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