Re: Pension Update
Last week I updated you on the impending changes to our Public Service Pension Plan (PSPP). If you have not seen this message, you can review it now here: https://goo.gl/rGvguz. I realize that my message delivered upsetting news and created a number of questions for members.
As expected, we’ve been hearing from you on a number of those questions and what it means to our members. As stated previously, we are unable to answer detailed questions about a member’s unique pension situation. Those questions must be directed to the pension plan, at the contacts below:
One common question I can further respond to is: What is the Union doing about this?
As noted in my previous update, the union executive and the PSPP committee have been working extensively to understand, evaluate and respond to these changes to our plan. We’ve hired external legal counsel, who specializes in pension law, as well as a pension actuary. Both have been advocating on our local’s behalf since the outset. Their expert opinions are assisting us in ensuring we have all the needed information to make an informed assessment of the changes.
Additionally, the executive has been discussing the pension changes with other impacted unions, the pension board of trustees, the pension plan partners, the Employer and the provincial government. Those discussions are evolving as we learn more about the changes and their impact but I have personally impressed upon them how important this issue is for paramedics and dispatchers in BC.
Although the main changes to the plan have been calculated to result in a net gain to our members’ pension benefit, the unresolved issue of how to re-design the unreduced early retirement benefit for our full-time and regular part-time members is a significant issue. We do not take any potential change to this benefit lightly. We know that our members’ ability to retire early is an absolutely critical benefit for the healthy retirement of our members. In discussions with government and others, I have characterized the potential loss of the unreduced early retirement benefit as nothing short of catastrophic.
I have been assured by the pension plan that our special benefit will not disappear. What we must now do is reach agreement with the Employer, and the pension plan, on how to re-apply our special benefit under the new rules. I have already written to the Employer to request that we immediately commence those discussions.
Please be assured that during these discussions, we’ll be relying on our legal counsel and actuary to ensure that we fully evaluate any proposed changes and impacts on our membership. We are ready and willing to take such legal, political or other actions as are necessary to protect our members’ interests and needs.
Once again, if you have questions specific to your retirement situation, please contact the pension plan at the contact information listed above.
Please stay tuned for more updates as we process through these discussions.
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