The report of the Auditor General released today supports the argument that changes to public employee pension plans are premature and have not been properly analyzed.
The approach taken by the Redford government has lacked consultation and testing of outcomes as recommended by the Office of the Auditor General in its report.
The Labour Coalition on Pensions, made up of public sector unions with members and retirees in Alberta public sector pension plans, urges Finance Minister Doug Horner to consider today's recommendations by the Auditor General and ensure that proper consultation and outcomes testing has taken place before major changes to the plans are introduced.
Unions have consistently recommended changes to governance of the plans that would improve stakeholder involvement in plan design changes to manage risks, as recommended by the Auditor General's report, and that these changes have not been implemented by the government.
The Coalition notes specifically that the Auditor General concluded on page 31 of today's report that it is "unclear whether the proposed reforms significantly increase the likelihood of the plans' sustainability."
Among the points made by the Auditor General's report are the following:
• The Government of Alberta has not properly engaged plan stakeholders - the employees and employers who pay for the plans
• The government has not fully considered effects of the changes they are pushing through
• The government has not planned how any changes would actually be implemented
• The "hard cap" on pension contributions proposed by the government can in fact harm the plans' sustainability
The Auditor General's report provides clear evidence the government's rushed process to major pension plan changes needs to be halted until appropriate consultation with stakeholders and rigorous analysis of the impacts of the government's proposals has been completed, a process that cannot happen in a few weeks.
Backgrounder: Coalition Response to AG's Report
780-218-9888 – Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour and Chair, Labour Coalition on Pensions
780-991-1274 – Elisabeth Ballermann, President, Health Sciences Association of Alberta
780-918-3061 – Marle Roberts, President, Canadian Union of Public Employees-Alberta
780-265-2294 – Guy Smith, President, Alberta Union of Provincial Employees
780-425-1025 – Heather Smith, President, United Nurses of Alberta
Olav Rokne, Communications Director, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.289.6528 (cell)
or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org