moved for leave to introduce Bill C-223, an act to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (unpaid wages to have first priority in distribution).
Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague from Windsor West, who was good enough to second this bill, says, this bill is all about justice. In the event of a bankruptcy, the bill would put the wages of workers as a top priority in terms of those people who might get the shares of the assets of the bankrupt company. Currently, there are 10,000 bankruptcies per year. Over $2 billion is left owing to workers in back wages, pension contributions and benefits.
We believe there should be broad support for this idea. Even the owners of the bankrupt companies should be pleased to see that debts to their employees would be realized and made good upon after the fact, when the assets of the company are divided up. I believe unpaid wages should have first priority in distribution, not sixth, or seventh or eighth priority as is currently the case.
It is a matter of simple justice, and I encourage all members of Parliament to read the bill and hopefully see fit to vote with me to do something for Canadian workers who are left holding the bag when companies go bankrupt, as is so often the case.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)