Pension report shows resilience of well-managed defined-benefit plans

LAPP’s 97 per cent funding level repudiates Tory fearmongering about impending financial collapse

Edmonton – Alberta’s Local Authorities Pension Plan has hit 97 per cent funding just two years after Conservatives tried to gut it over fears that the plan was unsustainable.

Earlier today, Alberta’s largest pension plan – the Local Authorities Pension Plan (LAPP), which provides pension coverage to almost 250,000 working and retired Albertans – released figures showing that it is now close to being fully funded.

According to the LAPP’s latest 2015 Audited Financial Statements, the plan now has 97 per cent of the funds necessary to cover its long-term obligations – up dramatically from 85 per cent three years ago.

“Just two years ago, the Conservative government of Alberta tried to convince Albertans that this plan – among others – was doomed. They argued that defined-benefit pension plans were unsustainable,” Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan said. “They even brought forward legislation that would have slashed benefits and would have undermined the retirement security of thousands of Albertans. We said at the time that the legislation was unnecessary. And this report has proved us right.”

Former premier Jim Prentice eventually backed away from his predecessor’s attack on public-sector pensions in the face of unprecedented public protest and after being presented with evidence from a coalition of unions that the plans were, in fact, well on the way to recovery without cuts to benefits.

“The next time right-wing fear mongers try to panic Albertans into making unjustified concessions and swallowing unnecessary cuts, I hope we all remember how wrong they were when they claimed our pensions were insolvent,” McGowan – who led a union coalition that opposed cuts to pension plans – said. “This also makes it abundantly clear that Alberta’s public-sector pensions need to have independent joint governance – like the pension plans in every other province in Canada – so that governments can’t make unilateral decisions that affect workers’ retirement savings.”

The LAPP is the second pension plan in recent weeks to show that Conservative attempts to undermine pensions in Alberta were ill-founded. The Public Sector Pension Plan (PSPP) – which had also been targeted by the Redford government – released an audited annual report in June showing that it was 99 per cent funded.

Link to LAPP Annual Report 2015

MEDIA CONTACT: Olav Rokne, Communications Director, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.218.4351 (cell) or via e-mail orokne@afl.org.


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  • commented 2016-07-13 18:10:33 -0600
    One also may forget why the two plans, or at least the PSPP at least, has some problems. The Social Credit began the Public service pension plan. The plan is legislated, with the government setting the plan up through legislation and it continues under the legislation. Early funds were added to the provincial budget and spent it. When enough was being withdrawn because of the increasing retirees taking their pensions, I think it was Lougheed who put one billion dollars into the fund from the provincial coffers and intended to add a second billion. When Trudeau’s Petroleum plan went into effect, keeping our income from petroleum revenues down, well the second billion was never paid, except by a unilateral legislated increase in our contributions. This has been how the plan has been funded, with some input from the unions, but only if the politicians wanted to let it affect their plans.