Government gives green light for Regina Civic Pension Plan

The Regina Civic Employees’ Pension and Benefit Committee (PBC) is satisfied that the provincial government has announced it will amend pension regulations for the Regina Civic Pension Plan to facilitate implementation of the agreement negotiated between the PBC and plan employers in November 2014.

This would not have been possible without the hard work of plan members like you. Together we sent City Council and the Superintendent of Pensions hundreds of letters, emails and phone calls.

This decision has been a long time coming, but now plan members can finally have peace of mind regarding their retirement security.

In December of 2014, the City of Regina and the PBC reached a negotiated agreement on the Civic Employees’ Benefit and Superannuation Plan, which protects the defined benefit nature of the plan and honours the original signed letter of intent.

Though both parties had signed off on the plan, we still needed government approval and amendments to pension regulations.

The government’s proposed amendments to the regulations will include:

  • a longer period of time over which the unfunded liability in the plan can be paid off;
  • a removal of the requirement that solvency deficiencies in the plan have to be funded; and
  • a provision that contribution rates in the plan can’t be reduced until the unfunded liability established in the next actuarial valuation report is paid off or eliminated.

The province has provided similar regulatory relief for a number of other defined benefit plans.

We are thankful that the government is moving forward quickly with the recommendations of the Superintendent. We will continue to work closely with the city and other plan employers to implement the terms of our agreement.

Pension Town Hall

Monday night over 150 people attended a town hall to learn about the recently submitted joint proposal to amend the Regina Civic Employee’s Superannuation and Benefit Plan (the plan).  The presentation is available here, if you would like to view the presentation.

http://www.honourourdeal.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/RCPP-Town-Hall-Presentation-Dec-15-2014-Dec.-16-2014.pdf

During the evening, one point was discussed repeatedly: the need for you to continue to participate in our campaign to save our defined benefit plan.  Though the Employee and the Employer Sponsors believe we have amended the plan to address all of the Superintendent’s concerns and bring the plan into compliance with the Pension and Benefits Act, we still need the approval of Cabinet in order to implement the amendments. We need to ensure that we have the government’s support, and your help is needed to achieve this.

Please take a moment to visit http://www.honourourdeal.ca/take-action/ and send a letter to the Minister of Justice (responsible for pensions), Regina MLAs and the Superintendent.  This letter will be posted on the FCAA website and will help to gain the support of our government.

We also ask that you contact your MLA to discuss the request we have made for permanent solvency exemption and an extension to the amortization period for our going concern deficit.  Solvency exemptions have been provided to all other defined benefit plans in the province.  Other plans have been listed as “specified plans,” and we need Cabinet’s approval to add our plan to this list.  Cabinet’s approval for an extension to our going concern deficit is also needed in order for us to pay our current deficit over a 20 year period rather than a 15 year period.   Once we receive Cabinet’s approval, we will be able to implement the amendments to the plan, and the plan will be in compliance with the Act.

http://www.honourourdeal.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Understanding-the-Pension-Deal-Handout-Dec.-15-2014.pdf

Joint proposal submitted to Superintendent

The City of Regina and the Pension & Benefits Committee have reached a negotiated agreement on the Civic Employees’ Benefit and Superannuation Plan.

The amended deal protects the defined benefit nature of the plan and honours the original signed letter of intent.

Both sides signed off on a joint proposal, which was submitted to the Superintendent of Pensions on December 10, 2014.

You can read the full submission here:

December 5 2014 Letter to Superintendent 

Submission December 10 2014 Letter to Superintendent

 

 

Pension Town Hall, December 15

Pension Town Hall Meeting
7:00 pm, December 15, 2014
Queensbury Convention Centre
1700 Elphinstone Street, Regina, Saskatchewan

Do you have questions about the new pension deal?
We have answers!

Please attend this town hall meeting, featuring pension specialists, legal experts and reps from the bargaining team. It is an important opportunity to learn more about the pension plan and the next steps for protecting our pension plan. 

Hope to see you therepension deal town hall mtg poster

Understanding the Pension Deal: The Basics

The City of Regina and the Pension & Benefits Committee have reached a negotiated agreement on the Civic Employees’ Benefit and Superannuation Plan.

The amended deal protects the defined benefit nature of the plan and honours the original signed letter of intent.

We will need the support of the Superintendent of Pensions and approval of Cabinet to receive the solvency and deficit relief that we need to be in compliance with the Pension and Benefits Act. The Pension and Benefits Committee and the City requested that the Superintendent extend the deadline for filing submissions until December 5, so they can submit a joint proposal to the Superintendent.  The Superintendent has granted the request for an extension, and the joint proposal will be submitted this week.

You may have questions about the deal. Here are some frequently asked questions:

How will the deficit get paid off?

In order to pay off the deficit, both employees and employers will make special contributions. Payments will be made with a 60/40 split, with the employer contributing 60% of the deficit, and employees making up the remaining 40%.

What will the contribution rates be?

Beginning July 1, 2015, contributions will include special payments to reduce the deficit.

The deficit will be paid by both employers (60%) and employees (40%).

According to the current valuation figures, employers will pay contribution rates of 10.9% of salary, and employees will pay 9.8% of salary. Current rates are 10.35% of salary for both employers and employees.

What if there is another deficit while we are paying off this one?

In the unlikely event there is a new deficit while we are paying off the current deficit, contribution rates will increase equally until they reach 12.1% for the employers and 11% for the employees.

If the combined required contributions, due to a future deficit, reach a total combined contribution rate between 23.1% and 24.1%, it will be paid 67% by temporary contribution increases and 33% by temporary benefit reductions, to be determined by the Sponsors Board.

  • Temporary benefit reductions shall be reinstated at the earliest date that does not require rates to go beyond 23.1%.

If the combined required contributions, due to a new deficit, reach a total combined rate above 24.1%, it will be paid 50% through temporary contribution increases and 50% through temporary benefit reductions.

  • Temporary benefit reductions will be restored at the earliest date that does not require rates to go beyond 24.1%.

I hear there are benefit reductions as part of this deal. How will this impact me?

As with the original letter of intent, the amended deal includes a 25% reduction in benefits.

It permanently eliminates existing guarantees of inflation protection for future service.

It permanently discontinues the inclusion of overtime pay as pensionable earnings.

It adjusts the earnings upon which future base benefits are calculated; a change from best three years to best five years.

It increases the age and service levels needed (on future pensionable service) to gain eligibility for unreduced early retirement pension, changing the rule of 80 to 85.

  • There will be a grandfathering period of three years from implementation. Persons who retire or qualify for an unreduced pension in this period will not have the amendments apply to any post 2014 service.

*For further clarity, past service will not be affected by these benefit reductions.

Will we get back any of the benefits we lost?

The agreement allows the Sponsors Board to determine any benefit improvements, once there is a surplus. The Sponsors Board may consider restoring benefits retroactively.

What will happen in the case of future deficits?

In the event of another deficit once our current deficit is paid off, there is a plan in place to ensure timely decision making, which includes temporary contribution increases and temporary benefit reductions.

Contributions would increase to 10.5% for the employers and 10.5 % for the employees.

If contributions were required to exceed a combined total rate of more than 21%, then any further deficit would be paid 66% by temporary contribution increases and 33% through temporary benefit reductions.

  • Temporary benefit reductions would be restored on the earliest date that combined contributions would not exceed 21%.

If contributions were required to exceed a combined rate above 22%, they would be paid through temporary contribution increases of 50% of the excess rate and temporary benefit reductions of 50% of the excess rate.

  • Temporary benefit reductions would be restored on the earliest date that combined contributions do not exceed 22%.

What is our governance structure?

The new governance structure repeals the bylaw and removes decision making from the City and the Pension and Benefits Committee (PBC).

A new Sponsors Board is created. It, along with the administrative board, will govern the plan.

The new Sponsors Board will be made up of seven employee representatives and seven employer representatives. Permanent representation will be reflective of plan membership.

The new Sponsors Board will be responsible for amendments to the plan; if there is a deadlock a, fifteenth member will resolve the dispute.

What can I do now?

Please contact your MLA and ask him or her to ensure that the plan is not cancelled and receives solvency relief.

Regina Coronation Park   Hon. Mark Docherty               mdocherty@mla.legassembly.sk.ca

Regina Northeast              Hon. Kevin Doherty                kdoherty@mla.legassembly.sk.ca

Regina South                     Hon. Bill Hutchinson               bhutchinson@mla.legassembly.sk.ca

Regina Dewdney               Mr. Gene Makowsky               gmakowsky@mla.legassembly.sk.ca

Regina Douglas Park        Mr. Russ Marchuk                   rmarchuk@mla.legassembly.sk.ca

Regina Elphinstone

Centre                                Mr. Warren McCall                   wmccall@mla.legassembly.sk.ca

Regina Lakeview               Mr. John Nilson                        jnilson@mla.legassembly.sk.ca

Regina Qu’Appelle

Valley                                  Ms. Laura Ross                         lross@mla.legassembly.sk.ca

Regina Walsh Acres          Mr. Warren Steinley                wsteinley@mla.legassembly.sk.ca

Regina Wascana Plains    Hon. Christine Tell                   ctell@mla.legassembly.sk.ca

Regina Rosemont             Mr. Trent Wotherspoon          twotherspoon@mla.legassembly.sk.ca

Regina Composite Map Constituencies

Pension deal another step closer to the finish line

REGINA: Members of the Regina Civic Pension Plan are one step closer to having a secure pension deal.

The Pension and Benefits Committee, which represents the 21 employee groups, voted unanimously on Wednesday evening to support the pension agreement reached with the City of Regina. The City of Regina has also voted unanimously to support the amended pension deal.

“Plan members are pleased to see a negotiated solution that completes the LOI and addresses the governance concerns,” said Kirby Benning, chair of the Pension and Benefits Committee. “Now we turn our attention to the Superintendent of Pensions and hope that he does the right thing and signs off on this deal.”

A request has been made to the Superintendent of Pensions to extend the deadline for filing submissions until December 5 so that the Pension and Benefits Committee and the city can submit a joint proposal to the Superintendent.

City and Civic Employees Reach Negotiated Settlement on Pensions

The City of Regina and the Pension & Benefits Committee have reached a negotiated agreement on the Civic Pension Plan.

Both the employer and employee negotiators have agreed to a deal that ensures secure retirement into the future, a modest defined benefits framework, as well as a dispute resolution process to govern deficits and contributions.

In the situation of a deficit for the pension plan, there will be provisions for temporary benefit reductions as well as mechanisms for contribution increases.

The agreement also breaks down contributions to a 60/40 split with the employer contributing 60% of the deficit, and employees making up the remaining 40%.

The Memorandum of Understanding also expands on the governance issue regarding the resolution of disputes, which will help clarify process around potential future deficits.

The parties will now file a joint submission, which upon City Council approval goes to the Superintendant of Pensions.

To view the Memorandum Of Understanding, click here.

To support the MOU and take action, click here.

Honour Our Deal Day of Action: October 29    

The Regina Civic Employees’ Superannuation and Benefit Plan is facing serious threats. We need your help to protect the retirement security of 7,000 workers in Regina

On October 29, join us for a day of action to phone, text or email the Regina City Council to ask them to honour the pension deal they signed with workers last year.

The City has proposed a fixed contribution rate, which means there is no guarantee for an adequate pension. Instead, the pension income would fluctuate as the market fluctuates. Workers may think they will be getting $1,500 a month for their retirement (which is the average monthly income for workers in this plan), but there is no guarantee.

Protecting the defined benefit nature of the pension is an important fight for all workers. The most important thing each of us can do is stand up and take political action.

We need to inform city councillors about the importance of pensions, and show them the strong support for keeping the defined benefit plan.

On October 29th, hundreds of workers will be phoning City Councillors. Join us!

Find the list of contact info here.

Don’t know what to say?

Here are some points to consider.

Here are some questions you can ask.

Thank you for your time,

Debbie Mihial, Member Organizer

Regina Civic Employees’ Superannuation and Benefit Plan

Back to the Bargaining Table: Send us a message of support!

This week, the Pension and Benefit Committee and the City of Regina are heading back to the table to discuss the Regina Civic Employees’ Superannuation and Benefit Plan. We are hopeful we can reach a negotiated deal that honours the original deal civic workers signed with the City.

Each side has submitted individual proposals to the Superintendent of Pensions. Both proposals have elements in common that could lead to a negotiated agreement.

A major sticking point is the City’s insistence on implementing a fixed contribution rate, which means workers no longer have a pension guarantee. The Superintendent of Pensions has approved solvency relief for other plans in the province that keeps the defined benefit nature of the plan. We can make the deal we signed work, if the City stands by it.

Please help us send a message to City Councillors encouraging the City to bargain in good faith and to move away from a hard cap on contributions.

You can find the contact information for the whole Regina Civic Council here:
http://www.honourourdeal.ca/contact-you-city-councillor/

You can send your own message, or submit a template letter here:
http://www.honourourdeal.ca/take-action/

Employee Groups submit proposal to Superintendent of Pensions

In response to the City of Regina’s unilateral decision to submit their own proposal to the Superintendent of Pension, 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 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,” added 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.

Read the full proposal here:

Cover Letter (Sept. 22, 2014)

Executive Summary and Comparison of Proposals (Sept 22, 2014)

Exhibit 1A PBC Submissions Re Amendments to Regina Civic Plan Sept. 22, 2014

Exhibit 1B Letter of Intent May 22, 2013

Exhibit 1C Funding Policy

Exhibit 2 Regina Civic Pension Plan (RCPP) – Letter to PBC – May 7, 2014

Exhibit 3A Letter from Sjoberg to Fichter May 23 2013

Exhibit 3B Letter from Sjoberg to Linner May 23, 2013

Exhibit 4 City of Regina Pension Plan Amendments