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Jul 6, 2017

‘Totally unacceptable’: Sears Canada looks to suspend employee retirement benefits in restructure

Shoppers outside a Sears store entrance at the Marlborough Mall in Calgary, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016

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Sears Canada Inc (SCC.TO) on Thursday sought court approval for its restructuring efforts, two weeks after the Canadian retailer filed for creditor protection.

The company also said it would suspend retirement benefits to its employees.

Sears Canada said it also sought court approval for a sale and investment solicitation process.

The company set Oct. 4 as the deadline to obtain court approval of successful bids, while the company's sale and investment solicitation process has an expected completion date of Oct. 25.

Sears Canada sought creditor protection on June 22 after suffering a steady decline in sales due to competition from big-box retailers and online merchants. 

The lawyer representing Sears Canada retirees called the company’s actions ‘totally unacceptable.”

“The process that Sears Canada is following offers no protection for the retirees' pension losses, and Sears Canada now also seeks to cut off retiree health and life insurance benefits,” said Andrew J. Hatnay, Partner at Koskie Minsky LLP. “This is a totally unacceptable situation for Sears retirees who earned their pensions and benefits during their employment service for the company.”

“Sears retirees have been raising the alarm about the financial collapse of Sears Canada with the company and the Ontario government for over five years. The company is now insolvent, the pension plan is underfunded and retirees are exposed to pension and benefit losses,” he said.

With files from BNN