Online calculator at TruthAboutAlbertaPensions.ca
shows impact of destructive pension proposals
Edmonton – Public-sector workers all over Alberta are learning how much the Redford government's pension proposals could cost them.
In one week since the Alberta Labour Coalition on Pensions launched a web-based pension calculator, 3,375 members of the Local Authorities Pension Plan and the Public Sector Pension Plan have found out how much they stand to lose if early retirement provisions are eliminated and Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) are reduced or suspended as the Redford Government has proposed. The calculator, which was created with the help of actuarial firm Brendan & George, can be found at www.TruthAboutAlbertaPensions.ca
"This pension calculator takes a complicated policy debate and makes the changes tangible and personal to the people who will be affected by the changes," Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan said. "These workers have earned their pensions, they've paid for their pensions, and now the government is cutting these pensions with no justification."
As an example, the calculator shows that someone born in 1980 who retires with 30 years of service at the age of 65 with a salary of $65,000 will see her retirement income reduced by as much as $794 per month in inflation-adjusted dollars by the time she's 75. Someone born a decade earlier, in 1970, who retired with only 20 years service with the same salary of $65,000, might see his pension cheques reduced by $364 each month.
"If you know anyone who is retired, and on a fixed income, you know that losing $364 a month would cause problems. Losses of $700, $800 or more each month could be disastrous," McGowan said. "For most Alberta voters, there's a difference between hearing that their pension will fall behind inflation. It's another thing to know that it will mean a specific number of dollars fewer in their pocket every month after their retirement. It's information that they need to know when they follow this debate."
In the fall, the government announced major changes would be made to Alberta's four public-sector pension plans, including the two biggest, the Local Authorities Pension Plan (LAPP) and the Public Service Pension Plan (PSPP). Taken together, these proposed changes would slash the value of pensions earned by Alberta public-sector workers by 25 per cent or more on benefits earned after January 1, 2016.
The Pension Calculator was commissioned by a coalition of unions and associations that have members in LAPP and PSPP. The coalition includes: the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL), the Alberta Fire Fighters Association (AFFA), the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE), the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA), the United Nurses of Alberta (UNA) and a number of smaller unions.
Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.218.9888 (cell)
Olav Rokne, Communications Director, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.289.6528 (cell) or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org