Archive for August, 2012

Posted on 08-15-2012 under General Discussion

August 15, 2012

Kevin Flynn
MPP Oakville

Dear Mr. Flynn,

I have worked as a Support Staff employee at Sheridan College for almost 12 years and I am with the CAAT Pension Plan. The proposed changes being put forward by Premier McGuinty to public sector pensions are a bad idea. My pension plan is just fine, the way it is.

The government claims that there are a number of issues they wish to address by reforming my pension plan: a) moving to a 50/50 cost sharing, b) ensuring plans are fully funded, stable and viable, c) introduction of a dispute resolution process, d) pooling assets to lower costs, e) restricting governance by imposing that deficits can only be addressed by benefit reductions and not contribution increases and, f) changing governance from member trustees to professional trustees.

My plan already has a 50/50 cost sharing, put in place by my responsible member trustees from the inception of the plan.

My plan is fully funded and currently has a going concern surplus of 154 million dollars. My plan uses a prudent blend of realistic assumptions, a diversified asset mix, actuarial smoothing and other measures to manage intergenerational equity, and minimize volatility at the same time as securing pension benefits. The plan’s history shows it is stable and viable. The government has failed to prove that my plan is not.

My plan already has a dispute resolution process. It has rarely been used as all of the trustees and sponsors realize that the best plan is one where the parties work together in the best interest of plan members and plan sponsors.

My plan’s investment program is as sophisticated, assets as diversified and the operations as efficient as larger funds. This is in part because plan design, investments, risk tolerance, risk management, governance, communication and education – all of which are part of the pension plan value and efficiency equation – are aligned under one governance structure across the post-secondary education sector. I realize that pooling assets to make a larger fund may seem attractive, however, bigger is not always better. If pooling is to be considered then, thought must be given to aligning like minded stakeholders and not just done for the purpose of appearing to do something. My plan knows who it should align itself with, and is investigating this on their own. Forced pooling of assets would not be in the best interest of my plan.

My plan is part of an agreement I have with my employer, to defer wages so that I can retire with dignity. It is not a “get rich” scheme. It is however, a way for me to retire with enough to live on without sinking into poverty and finding it necessary to rely on social programs. It is not “gold-plated” by any means. The average support staff pension is $12,000.00 per year.

My plan does not need to be managed by the very people who manufactured our current economic environment. Having members involved with the plan is crucial. I want someone involved that has an interest in how well the plan is functioning as they have a vested interest in ensuring that the plan is prudent, sound, and maintains the promise to deliver a pension to members when they retire.

The proposed changes being put forward by Premier McGuinty to public sector pensions are a bad idea. My pension is just fine the way it is. It does not need the government’s interference.

These have been difficult economic times, especially for pension plans. With low interest rates, and markets that are not consistent, my plan has done exceptionally well. It is because of the forethought of the trustees and sponsors that it has matured into a plan that I know I can rely on.

As an MPP you were elected and took an oath to represent the people of your riding. I’m asking you to fulfill your oath and represent me and to oppose any legislation that threatens my pension. I am also asking you to deliver a message to our Premier and his government; Keep your hands off my pension plan!

I look forward to your response to this matter and your commitment to ensuring Premier McGuinty and this government keeps their hands off my pension plan. I would also like to offer you an invitation to come to Sheridan College and engage in a dialogue with your constittuints on this issue.

Sincerely,

Frederick Oliver
V.P. Communications, OPSEU Local 245