REGINA: In response to the City of Regina’s unilateral decision to submit its own proposal to the Superintendent of Pensions, the Pension and Benefits Committee has submitted its own pension proposal– one that stands by the original Letter of Intent.
“Our proposal protects the defined benefit nature of the plan, while offering stable rates for employees, and guarantees a modest retirement income for plan members,” said Kirby Benning, Chair of the Pension and Benefits Committee.
Under this proposal, the cost of the plan is reduced by 25 per cent through future benefit reductions, which reduces the risk of future deficits. The employee proposal also splits the cost of all future deficits equally.
In addition, the submission proposes changes that modernize the governance of the plan by creating a Sponsors Board and dissolving the City of Regina bylaw. The proposal gives decision making power to the Sponsors Board and strips both the Pension and Benefits Committee and the City of Regina of their ability to make changes to the plan. The proposal also includes two non-voting retiree representatives to ensure that their voices are heard at the table.
“This proposal creates a clear governance model that limits future deadlocks and ensures a timely decision making process,” stated Benning. “This addresses the major concern of the Superintendent, which is avoiding the situation we are in now in the future.”
Both proposals have elements in common that could lead to a future negotiated agreement. A major sticking point is the City’s insistence of implementing a fixed contribution rate, which means workers no longer have a pension guarantee.
“We made concessions at the table to keep the defined benefit plan in place,” added Benning. “The Superintendent of Pensions has approved solvency relief for other plans in the province that keep the defined benefit nature of the plan.”
“If the City is serious about a negotiated solution, they will back away from their hard cap on contributions and their insistence on a target benefit plan, and honour the spirit of the deal they signed,” said Benning.