On Tuesday, November 20 the Alberta Government proposed a new piece of legislation aiming to increase the control and accessibility that public sector workers and their employers have over their pensions.
The Joint Governance of Public Sector Pension Plans Act proposes a joint governance structure for three of the largest pension plans in Alberta, including the Public Service Pension Plan (PSPP), the Local Authorities Pension Plan (LAPP) and the Special Forces Pension Plan (SFPP).
Under the newly proposed structure, a sponsor board of representatives from each employer organization would be responsible for planning the utilization of benefits, funding and eligibility.
In addition, LAPP, PSPP and SFPP would see new corporations under this legislation, responsible for overseeing the overall operations of the plans and receiving and implementing the policies with feedback from employers and employees.
Beyond these calls for reforming existing structures, the proposed Bill does not seek to alter existing funding or included benefits.
Alberta's Finance Minister Joe Ceci says the implementation of this joint structure is long overdue in the field of public sector pensions.
"For almost three decades, successive progressive conservative governments made promises to bring in reforms to change that[public sector pension policies], promise after promise, commitment after commitment, nearly 30 years of promises, with almost no follow through."
Ceci says the proposed structural change has already been successfully implemented in other provinces.
"It's happening in Ontario and it's happening in B.C. among multiple pension plans and frankly, those are all doing really well. I have every belief this will be in the direction that improves these pension plans because they will have a direct say in the governance. They'll be more nimble and more tuned in with what their employers need and want."
The event featured speakers from a variety of public sector services, all reverberating Ceci's hopes to bring improvement with the proposed joint governance.
"It just doesn't make sense under the current structure, for the minister to have to sign off on decisions employers and employees have already agreed to."
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