|FEDERAL GOVERNMENT INVOLVED IN AIR CANADA PENSION TALKS|
|The Canadian Press|
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says the government is involved in discussions with Air Canada to resolve its massive pension deficit.|
The finance minister was asked during a visit to Ireland whether he would consider extending the moratorium on the airline's pension payments, which runs out in 2014.
Flaherty did not respond directly, but said Ottawa has been in discussion with the union and Air Canada on the issue.
“There are negotiations going on now, discussions between the airline management and some of the unions, so we'll monitor that,” he added.
“Any solution on the pension issues will require the support not only of the management, the unions, the approval of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, the approval of the retired pensioners as well.”
Air Canada has been seeking an extension of the moratorium. Flaherty called Air Canada's pension liabilities “enormous,” saying resolving the issue would not be easy.
Air Canada's pension deficit is estimated to be over $4 billion.
Given the thousands of workers at Air Canada, the minister said “over the course of the next couple of years, there needs to be a resolution to the pension issues.”
Air Canada required a special regulation from the federal government allowing it to eliminate its pension deficit over a longer period than usual during its restructuring under court protection from creditors.