November 19, 2008 / 2:30 PM / 9 years ago

GM Canada faces pension crisis-report

TORONTO (Reuters) - General Motors of Canada’s pension funds had a C$4.5 billion ($3.64 billion) shortfall this time last year, and it has likely grown since the market collapse.

This raises more financial concerns for the Ontario government if it must backstop the funds should the company fall into bankruptcy protection.

The shortfall between the company’s union and salaried workers’ plans and their liabilities was unveiled during a meeting with company officials and the Globe and Mail newspaper.

The shortfalls are measured on a solvency basis, which would apply if the plans have to be closed in the event of bankruptcy, the newspaper said.

Officials are concerned that propping up GM’s pension fund would complicate moves by auto executives on both sides of the border who are seeking North America aid for the struggling industry.

Canadian Industry Minister Tony Clement will meet executives from the Big Three auto companies in Detroit on Wednesday and officials in Washington on Thursday to discuss requests for a bailout for the automobile industry.

Reporting by Scott Anderson, editing by Maureen Bavdek

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