Mr. Speaker, recently Yvette Spence and Peggy Pendergast, two retired Manitoba school teachers, came to me on a matter on behalf of their colleagues. They brought to my attention an issue that needs redressing. Many retired teachers in the province of Manitoba have not been permitted to buy back their maternity leave.
This benefit has been given to active teachers but retired teachers have not been accorded the same rights. This has resulted in them losing out on many potential years of pensionable service. For many Manitoban teachers it is of considerable value to buy back this benefit from the teacher's retirement allowance fund.
Changes needed to be made. I am pleased the federal government has made them and taken the lead in this matter. However the government of Manitoba has not been so quick to respond. Retired teachers who took maternity leave are still not able to buy back these years of service because of the inaction on the part of the provincial government.
It is time for fairness. It is important to urge the province of Manitoba to change this discriminatory practice and permit these women, retired teachers, the fairness and benefit that they and their families deserve.