Alan Fedorchuk spent his career hauling wood across the province, expecting to end his career with a good pension that his employer had paid into for almost 20 years.
The Interior Lumberman’s Pension Plan was set up in the 1970s for employees of smaller, non-unionized forestry sector companies in the B.C. Interior.
Sources familiar with the situation have told Global News about 150 companies were involved in the plan, and several hundred of their former employees have seen their pension benefits cut.
“I turned 65 and it just blew up in my face and I’m sitting here with nothing,” Fedorchuk said in an interview. “I have yet to receive a nickel — not a nickel from them.”
Forestry towns try to adjust to industry downturn
Arlene Brown, a former forestry sector worker, said her family is in a kind of double jeopardy — her husband’s pension from the plan has been cut back, but they’re also on the hook to pay into it because of a previous ownership stake in one of the companies.
“We were thinking, well, our medical’s looked after, we’re gonna have a good pension, but it never came out that way,” Brown said. “They took all the employees’ pensions and cut them 40 per cent.”
Get the latest National news.
Sent to your email, every day.
The plan’s administrator told Global News on Thursday that, “Employees terminated from the plan have been asked to provide this top-up solvency deficit,” and that, “some members may be faced with a reduction in benefits.”
In B.C., pensions like this are regulated by the BC Financial Services Authority, which told Global News it’s “aware of the plan’s situation” and is “working with them to address their challenges.”
© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.