CCAA UPDATE 10 – March 4, 2016

(SouceKoskie Minsky)

 

On February 29, 2016, Justice Wilton-Siegel released his decision following an eight day trial regarding claims submitted by U.S. Steel Corporation (USS). The trial follows a motion by USS for approval of a secured claim of approximately $122,471,525 and a unsecured claim of $1,975,745,038 in the claims process of USSC.

The claims were objected to by various stakeholders including the province of Ontario, the USW and Representative Counsel on behalf of non-USW retired and active employees. The main objection from the stakeholders was that the USS claims were equity claims rather than debt and should be treated with the lowest priority.

In its February 29th decision, the Court found that all the amounts were in fact debt. To view a copy of the decision please click here.

We are reviewing the court’s decision with our client committee and will be discussing next steps with the USW and the Province of Ontario.

We note that the decision is limited to the determination of whether the USS amounts at issue should be classified as either “debt” or “equity”. The issue of priorities and future distributions among creditors of USSC was not before the court. We have already asserted a first priority claim based on the statutory deemed trust on behalf of the USSC pension plan beneficiaries for all amounts that are owing, or will be owing, by USSC to the pension plans, and which is be paid to the pension plans ahead of any secured claims of USS.

We will provide updates as information becomes available.”

 

CCAA UPDATE 9 – January 30, 2016

(SouceKoskie Minsky)

 

We are pleased to report that the Ontario Court of Appeal has allowed the appeal we filed in respect of the decision of the CCAA Judge refusing to allow access to the Settlement Agreement entered into between US Steel, US Steel Canada and the federal government in 2011.

By way of background, US Steel in the United States purchased Stelco in 2007 and at the time gave the Canadian federal government undertakings (i.e., commitments) in order to obtain the federal government’s approval for the acquisition under the Investment Canada Act (“ICA”). Those undertaking included production commitments and pension contribution and employment promises. USS breached the Undertakings almost immediately after acquiring Stelco.

The federal government sued USS (the first time the federal government has done so under the ICA) and after a few years of litigation, USS, USSC and the federal government agreed to a settlement in 2011.

When US Steel Canada (as Stelco was renamed) filed for CCAA protection in September 2014 we as Representative Counsel to all non-USW employees and retirees and the USW requested production of the “Secret Settlement Agreement” from USS, USSC and the federal government, who refused to produce the Agreement and took the position that the Agreement was confidential under the provisions of the ICA.

We and the USW brought a motion before the CCAA Judge for an order requiring USS, USSC and the federal government to produce the Agreement. The CCAA Judge dismissed the motion on his interpretation of the provisions of the ICA which he held operated to keep the Agreement confidential. The CCAA Judge noted our additional argument that the Agreement should also be released to us under the law of “settlement privilege” but His Honour did not rule on that argument extensively since he found the Agreement was confidential under the ICA.  We filed and obtained leave to appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeal.

The Ontario Court of Appeal allowed our appeal holding that the Settlement Agreement was not confidential under provisions of the ICA. The Court of Appeal directed that the Agreement be released to the CCAA Judge by the Monitor for the judge to review, and also ordered that the CCAA Judge determine whether to release the Agreement to us only under the law of settlement privilege‎. We are following up with USS, USSC and the federal government about next steps and will report further with new developments.

To view a copy of the decision of the Court of Appeal dated January 26, 2016 please click here.

 

CCAA UPDATE 8 – December 28, 2016

(Source Koskie Minsky)

 

On December 22, 2015 U.S. Steel Canada Inc. (“USSC”) served and filed a motion seeking approval from the court to commence a sales and investment solicitation process (“SISP”). The SISP seeks to solicit interest in and opportunities for a sale or investment in all or part of the assets and business operations of USSC including, Hamilton Works and Lake Erie Works.

The motion is expected to be heard on January 12, 2016 and the motion material can be viewed by clicking here.

In addition, on December 22, 2015, USSC served and filed a motion seeking an extension of the CCAA stay until April 29, 2016 and certain amendments to the Engagement Letter of the Chief Restructuring Officer William Aziz. This motion is also expected to be heard on January 12, 2016 and the motion material can be viewed by clicking here.

 

CCAA UPDATE 7 – October 14, 2015

IMPORTANT NOTICE:  U. S. Steel Canada was granted approval by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, The Honorable Mr. Justice H. Wilton-Siegel presiding, to invoke an immediate “temporary” suspension of Health Benefits for all USSC Pensioners.  

Click Here for extremely important information regarding temporary changes to your USSC Health Benefits Plan.

Click Here to view the Honorable Mr. Justice H. Wilton-Siegel’s reasons for the Decision – dated October 14th.   We also direct your attention to paragraphs 83 & 107 ensuring the continuance of the payment of your life insurance premiums by USSC.

Click Here to view the September 18th USSC Notice mailed to Pensioners regarding a Motion filed with the court to temporarily suspend OPEB’s, etc.

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CCAA UPDATE 6 – October 8, 2015

Summary of Key Events reviewed by Mr. Andrew Hatnay during the October 8th Annual Membership Meeting.

A more detailed report of that presentation will be contained in the SSPO Annual Newsletter, currently being prepared for mailing to members in November.

Click here to view the document.

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CCAA UPDATE 5 – January 4, 2015

Legal Counsel Koskie Minsky Communications Update To All Clients

On December 23, a Privileged and Confidential update was mailed to all clients by Koskie Minsky.   Click Here to log into the Members Home Page, and use the CCAA Update link to view the document and additional important SSPO Board comments with respect to the documentation request referred to in the communication.

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­CCAA UPDATE 4 – November 6, 2014

NOW IS THE TIME TO JOIN THE POLITICAL CAMPAIGN

Federal and Provincial politicians can play a significant role in helping to shape the final outcome for Pensioners and Active Employees within the USS Canada CCAA Process.  For its part SSPO is lobbying all levels of government to demand they insist on the best possible outcome for pensioners and current employees.  Targeted local/area politicians will include, Municipal, Provincial MPP’s & Cabinet Ministers, Federal MPP’s & Cabinet Ministers, including the including the Premier of Ontario, and the Prime Minister of Canada.  SSPO will be looking for a firm commitment of support.

WHAT CAN YOU, OUR MEMBERS DO NOW??   We urge you to take a few minutes to personally contact, write to, or e-mail your politicians to express your personal concerns regarding the future security of your existing pension income, and non-pension benefits   (Medical,  Dental, Eye Care, Life Insurance. Etc).  It is important to    express just how a loss or reduction in pension income and/or benefits (or loss of income for an active employee) will have a serious impact on your personal situation.  Often the response you receive may fail to address the issue raised. So we believe that it is appropriate for you to continue to write until a proper response is obtained.

 

Past experience has shown that a personal letter expressing your concerns to a government representative is much more effective than merely signing your name to a form letter.  Politicians have confided that personal letters receive far greater attention in terms of a more personalized response. Politicians do generally respond to form letters, however, when they do so they simply respond in a similar fashion with a “canned response”. We would strongly urge those who are able to do so, craft their own letter. It is also important for you to get family members and friends involved in supporting your efforts by having them also write letters to these politicians.  We are very interested in the responses that you get from your politicians so please let us know, by email or regular mail.

 

Use the following URL web addresses to access contact information for Federal Members of Parliament:   http://www.parl.gc.ca/Parliamentarians/en/members

 

Use the following URL web address to access contact information for MPP’s Legislative Assembly of Ontario:  http://www.ontla.on.ca/lao/en/members/

 

The above links can be found on the Home Page of the SSPO Website www.sspo.ca by clicking on the link:   NOW IS THE TIME TO JOIN THE POLITICAL CAMPAIGN

 

 

 

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CCAA UPDATE 3 – October 8, 2014

The Representative Counsel Order for “Non USW” Active and Retiree Beneficiaries who receive pension and retirement and other post employment benefits (OPEB’s) from USS Canada Inc.” was not heard on October 6th as previously scheduled.  The hearing of Oct. 6th was immediately recessed to allow opponents (Province, Steelworkers Union, City of Hamilton) of the controversial DIP (debtor-in-possession) financing plan to meet with USS and attempt to resolve their differences.  SSPO shared many of the concerns of the Province and the Union and moved to lend supported to their efforts.  However, in the end little progress was made.  The hearing resumed at 3:00 pm today, and the opponents of the plan reported to the court that although they could not resolve most of their differences they would proceed with the companies controversial plan for the time being. 

The Representative Counsel Order for Retirees and Actives was approved.  Gary Dallin, George Hanson, Pat Mousseau, Paul Wendling, and Frank Dalimonte, were appointed as Representatives.   The law firm of Koskie Minsky (SSPO legal counsel) was appointed as legal counsel for the Representatives.  (Murray Gold and Andrew Hatnay).

Pursuant to the CCAA Order granted by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Ernst & Young Inc. was appointed Monitor of the Applicant. We suggest you click here frequently to visit the Ernst & Young Inc. website to view the public documents pertaining to these proceedings.

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CCAA UPDATE 2 – September 28, 2014

U. S. Steel Canada Inc. (the “Applicant) obtained an Order under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (“CCAA”) in Canada on September 16, 2014.

On September 17th, members of the Board authorized our legal counsel Koskie MInsky engage in discussion with legal counsel acting on behalf of USS Canada, for the purpose of negotiating a Representation Order. We are pleased to announce that an agreement was reached on September 26th, for a “Proposed Representative Counsel Order” which will be placed before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in the form of a motion for hearing on October 6, 2014. 

The Motion will include all “Non USW” Active and Retiree Beneficiaries who receive pension and retirement and other post employment benefits (OPEB’s) from USS Canada Inc.  Click here to view the document.

Pursuant to the CCAA Order granted by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Ernst & Young Inc. was appointed Monitor of the Applicant. We suggest you click here frequently to visit the Ernst & Young Inc. website to view the public documents pertaining to these proceedings.

For the time being, we would request that you refrain from forwarding us any questions you may have regarding these proceedings.  The Board remains extremely busy, and our resources are best focused on the Representation Order, the upcoming hearing on October 6th, and preparations for the Annual Meeting on October 9th.

IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT THAT ALL SALARIED RETIREE AND SALARIED ACTIVE EMPLOYEES MAKE AN EFFORT TO ATTEND SSPO’s ANNUAL MEETING, BEING HELD OCTOBER 9th, 7 p.m., Hamilton Convention Centre.  Doors open at 6 p.m.  Our expert legal counsel, Andrew Hatnay from the law firm of Koskie Minsky will be in attendance to answer questions.

Please continue to visit the SSPO website to check for further updates. 

Thank you.

SSPO Board of Directors

 

 

CCAA UPDATE 1 – September 18, 2014

IMPORTANT NOTICE - U. S. STEEL CREDITOR PROTECTION FILING – SEPTEMBER 16, 2014

On September 16, 2014, U. S. Steel Canada Inc. (“USSC”) commenced court-supervised restructuring proceedings under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (the “CCAA”). Ernst & Young Inc. has been appointed by the court as monitor in USSC’s CCAA proceedings (“Monitor”) pursuant to the Order of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Commercial List) (the “Court”) made on September 16, 2014 (the “Initial Order”). 

It is our understanding that within the next few days Pensioners will be receiving notices of such action in the mail from USS Canada. 

Please be advised that the SSPO Board is in consultation with our legal counsel Koskie Minsky.   The situation will be reviewed with the membership at our upcoming Annual Meeting scheduled for Thursday, October 9, 2014, Hamilton Convention Centre, 7pm.

In the meantime we would request that members refrain from e-mailing us with comments and questions with respect to the situation.   At this time it is important that we focus our resources in dealing with the situation.   You will have the opportunity to ask questions at the Annual Meeting   In light of the CCAA filing, this will be an extremely important meeting and members are urged to encourage all Salaried Pension Plan Members to attend.