Archive for the 'Pensions' Category



The election of a Conservative majority government should be cause for concern for public service workers and all Canadians who believe in the role of government in providing quality public services.

Stephen Harper has been given the responsibility of government for the coming four years. Given his actions while in a minority government, we are very concerned about his plans now that he has achieved a majority. PSAC celebrates the election of progressive candidates who will need to hold the government to account for its policies, particularly with regards to public services.

The New Democratic Party, with its historic win and official opposition status, must keep Harper to his word that he will not cut public services to Canadians or turn the clock back on equality. Newly elected MPs from the labour movement such as Nycole Turmel, the former National President of PSAC and MP-elect in Hull-Aylmer, bode well for a strong, principled opposition in the next Parliament.

Throughout the election campaign, PSAC reached out to its membership across the country and received very positive feedback on our priority issues. PSAC members will have to redouble our efforts and come together to confront attacks on the public service and the rights of our members.

The Conservative platform promised to reduce program spending by a significant amount but did little to explain where these savings would come from. Continued strategic reviews of departments and the proposed operational review of government program spending will no doubt have a significant impact on the quality and accessibility of public services enjoyed by all Canadians.

The reliance on attrition and efficiencies in the public sector to balance the budget will reduce the quality of the services provided by public service workers as they are called upon to provide the same service with less resources and staff.

PSAC will use all means at its disposal to enforce collective agreements and to protect its members from an erosion of their rights. We must all work together to ensure our quality public services and the workers that provide them remain an integral part of Canadian society and government.

CLC Leadership Assemblies on Pensions

  • Location: Burnaby Firefighter’s Hall, 6515 Bonsor Avenue, Burnaby
  • Date: March 1, 2011
  • Time: 5:30PM – 8:30PM
  • Location: Ambrosia Theatre, 638 Fisgard Street, Victoria
  • Date: March 3, 2011
  • Time: 5:30PM – 8:30PM

Meetings like these, organized by the Canadian Labour Congress, will be taking place across the country. The aim is to bring together union stewards and activists to develop a strategy to pressure the Harper Conservative Government to protect defined benefit pensions and improve public pensions such as CPP in the lead up to the provincial/federal Finance Ministers’ meeting.

The Conservatives have backtracked on initial comments in support of improving CPP and instead now plan to bring in a voluntary defined contribution plan to which employers would not contribute. Business groups such as the Canadian Federation of Independent Business continue to attack defined benefit pension plans including the Public Service Superannuation Plan.

It is vital we build on the momentum created last year and continue to pressure the Government to protect and improve pensions for all people in Canada. In recognition of the importance of PSAC participation at these Assemblies on Pensions we have a special one-time offer(!) – Stewards or Local Executive members who attend will receive one of the new PSAC Steward bags/kits via mail.

Please attend these very important meetings being sponsored by the CLC. We will develop a strategy on how to get the Conservative government to protect pensions and expand CPP leading up to the provincial/federal finance ministers’ meeting.

  • DATE: Tuesday, March 1, 2011
  • TIME: 5:30 to 8:30 pm
  • LOCATION: Burnaby Firefighter’s Hall, 6515 Bonsor Avenue, Burnaby, BC
  • DATE: Thursday, March 3, 2011
  • TIME: 5:30 to 8:30 pm
  • LOCATION: Ambrosia Theatre, 638 Fisgard Street, Victoria, BC

For more information please contact Iris Taylor at the CLC Pacific Regional office at 604-430-6766 or via email at itaylor@clc-ct.ca.

Download a poster (pdf):

Canada’s Finance Ministers agree.

The best way to help today’s workers save enough for retirement is by increasing what everybody gets from the Canada Pension Plan (and the Quebec Pension Plan). The Canadian Labour Congress is proposing a gradual doubling of future CPP benefits. A modest increase in contributions today will produce thousands of dollars a year in extra benefits for workers when they retire.

But our plan has come under attack from special interest groups who are scare mongering and spreading lies about our proposal. Some have even said that the CPP won’t be there for today’s young workers when it comes time for them to retire.

This is not true. The reality is that experts have found the CPP to be actuarially sound for the next 75 years. This means it is guaranteed to deliver as promised.

Young workers have nothing to worry about, nor do their kids. What is worrying is that one-third of Canadian workers aged 24-64 have no personal retirement savings at all. The best way to help them save enough for retirement is by increasing what everybody gets from the CPP.

Move the campaign forward!

More than three quarters of Canadians support increasing Canada Pension Plan benefits, according to a new national survey released today. Eighty percent of Canadians also support increasing federal payments to senior citizens and half of the survey respondents believe the government is moving too slow in reforming Canada’s pension system.

The Future of Pensions poll was completed by Environics Research Group in late August for the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Public Service Alliance of Canada. It surveyed 2,020 Canadians and has a margin of error of +/-2.2 per cent 19 times out of 20.

“From coast to coast, Canadians support higher CPP benefits,” said CUPE National president Paul Moist. “They’re sending a clear message to federal and provincial politicians who are currently studying ways to improve the CPP.”

Continue reading – and download the poll results – at the national website.

PSAC will go to arbitration over a Treasury Board directive to managers aimed at silencing the union’s pension campaign.

  • Did your employer take down PSAC petitions or otherwise interfere in the pension campaign? Let us know.

The Feb. 26, 2010 directive told managers:

  • all requests to post petition sheets should be denied;
  • all requests to distribute petitions via the Employer’s electronic networks should be denied;
  • other than the actual petition, requests to post literature, such as general information on pensions, should not be unreasonably denied;
  • the wearing of stickers should be permitted as long as the employee is not directly serving the public;
  • the placing of stickers on the Employer’s property or equipment should not be permitted.

On March 10, 2010 the PSAC filed a policy grievance against the directive.

Continue reading at the national website.

National Vice-President Patty Ducharme and REVP Atlantic Jeannie Baldwin were in Charlottetown this weekend to present our pension petition to Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. Here’s some video …

Visit the national website for some photos and more information.

The next chapter in the Federal Superannuation Surplus dispute begins at the Ontario Court of Appeal, April 19, 20 and 21, 2010 in Toronto.

PSAC and other federal public service unions took the then-Liberal government to court over 1999 changes to the Public Sector Investment Board Act which allowed it to expropriate $30 billion from the federal superannuation fund.

Read more at the national website.

OTTAWA –The head of the largest union representing federal public sector workers is urging the Harper government not to cut public services or attack federal pension plans in order to pay off the deficit.

“If the recession has shown us anything, it is that Canadians need and expect more services from their national government, not less,” said the national president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, John Gordon, today during a press conference on Parliament Hill. “They expect safe food and drugs, their environment protected, their military and veterans supported and their human rights enforced.”

(more…)

Please read the message from John Gordon regarding the PSAC Hands Off Our Pension campaign. It is important that we continue to put pressure on the Government by signing the petition, lobbying MPs, and attending meetings. Despite some media reports, our fight is not over – on Friday the Canadian Taxpayers Federation said “There are too many programs, employing too many people who, generally, get paid too well (when you include pay and lavish pensions)” – read the piece here at the Vancouver Sun – and the Financial Post called for the Harper government to put public service pensions “on the chopping block”.

So far in BC members have mailed back over 2000 signatures on the Hands Off Our Pension petition, and over 25,000 people have signed the national petition on-line. If you have a hard copy of the petition, please don’t forget to return it to the Vancouver Regional Office as soon as possible and if you haven’t signed the on-line petition, please take a moment to do so here.

We’ve also had very successful membership meetings in Vancouver, Kelowna, Comox and Abbotsford – over 400 members in total attended – and we have more scheduled for next week. PSAC members across the province have also been plant-gating their worksites and phoning, emailing, and visiting their MPs in person. If you would like more information regarding holding a meeting, or information on how to get involved in the campaign, please contact Garry Fraser in the Vancouver Regional Office, by phone (604) 430 5631 or by email fraserg@psac.com.

We must continue to tell the government to protect our pension and improve pensions for all Canadians.

Speculation about what will be in the March 4 federal budget is rampant in the media. Some reports would lead us to believe that the Harper Conservatives will leave the federal pension plans alone.

So far, nothing PSAC has heard from Treasury Board President Stockwell Day would lead us to believe that we won’t have to continue to fight to protect the pension benefits our members in the federal public sector pay for.

Minister Day has made repeated references to the pension plan funds. At no time has he guaranteed federal public sector unions that the Conservative government will not reduce pension benefits and/or increase contribution rates.

Our pension campaign is in full swing and we are not letting rumours slow us down. I urge you to continue your hard work gathering signatures on our petitions to Stephen Harper. The willingness of our members to send a strong message to the government is critical if we are to succeed in getting the Conservatives to keep their hands off our pensions.

In solidarity, John Gordon, PSAC National President

source: Vancouver Sun, Feb 23

Re: Government pensions fair game, Feb. 18

In her column, Barbara Yaffe is critical of the federal public service pension plan and the level of employee contributions to it.

Federal public sector workers make significant contributions to their pensions in the form of deferred wages. By 2013, these contributions will make up about 40 per cent of the total cost of providing pension benefits. The real pension crisis in Canada is that most workers and pensioners are covered by inadequate defined-contribution pension plans or no workplace pension plan at all. In a defined-contribution plan, pension benefits are dependent on a number of things, such as the performance of markets and interest rates at retirement. All of the risk is put on the workers.

Defined-benefit plans collectivize risk and resources and ensure a decent, stable retirement income for seniors.

Our union believes defined-benefit pension plans in Canada should be supported by governments. We are also calling for significant improvements to public pensions in Canada: CPP benefits should be doubled by gradually increasing employer and employee contributions by three per cent and the Guaranteed Income Supplement of Old Age Security should be immediately increased by 15 per cent.

We can have a society in which no retired person is living in poverty through achievable, forward-thinking pension policies.

Kay Sinclair – B.C. Regional Executive Vice-President, Public Service Alliance of Canada

hands-off

  • Tuesday March 2nd between 11AM and 3PM (briefings will be staggered on the 1/2 hour)
  • Welch 1 & 2 Rooms, YWCA, 535 Hornby Street, Vancouver

Come to a lunch and learn meeting, Tuesday March 2nd, between 11AM and 3PM (briefings will be staggered on the 1/2 hour) to find out what you can do to safeguard pensions for federal government workers and all Canadians.

Please RSVP to the Vancouver RO at (604) 430-5631 as pizza and refreshments will be provided.

Spread the word! Download a poster (pdf).

hands-off

Come to a pension meeting, Thursday February 25th, anytime between 3PM and 7PM to what you can do to safeguard pensions for federal government workers and all Canadians.

Please RSVP to the Vancouver RO at 1 800 663-1655 as pizza and soft drinks will be provided.

  • Thursday February 25th 3PM – 7PM
  • Abbotsford Ramada Inn, 36035 North Parallel Road, Pinnacle room

Spread the word! Download a poster here (pdf).

hands-off

Come to a lunch and learn meeting, Wednesday February 17th, anytime between 11AM and 3PM to find out what you can do to safeguard pensions for federal government workers and all Canadians. Please RSVP to Garry Fraser at (604) 430-5631 as lunch and drinks will be provided.

  • Wednesday February 17th 11AM – 3PM
  • Vancouver Public Library, 300 W Georgia, Alma Vandusen room

Spread the word! Download a poster here (pdf).

Powerful business interests, some corporate media, and corporate think-tanks such as the C.D. Howe Institute and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, are pressuring the Harper government to attack our pensions under the guise of reducing the deficit.

The PSAC is launching a campaign to stop the attack on our pension and to ensure that all Canadians have a safe and secure public pension when they retire.

hands-off our pension!

Here are some of the campaign materials (all pdf):

Please give these wide circulation in your worksites. All of these materials, as well as an on-line petition, are available at the national website which will continue to be updated as the campaign progresses.

In B.C. we are organizing an M.P. lobby on the issue. Meetings of union officers and members will be held to ensure members are well-equipped to lobby their M.P.s; write letters to the editor; gather petitions; talk to co-workers, friends, and neighbours etc. Staff from the PSAC Regional Offices will contact you soon regarding these activities.

The Conservative Government will table a new budget on March 4th. Please join with me and PSAC members from coast-to-coast-to-coast-to-coast to let them know that we are against using federal public sector workers as scapegoats and attacking pension plans and the important public services we deliver.

We need you to be involved in this crucial campaign.

In Solidarity, Kay Sinclair, Regional Executive Vice-President, BC

Sign on to protect your pension

Lobby groups with the Harper government’s ear are making much of the federal public service’s pension. They’re calling for cutbacks spreading misinformation and distortions to make their case for funding tax cuts and investment loopholes that would benefit their constituents.

We need to make sure Harper knows he’s in for a fight if he wants to pilfer our deferred wages or weaken our pension plan.

Take action to protect your pension:

  • Sign our online petition calling for retirement security for all and to preserve federal public service pension plans.
  • Follow us on Twitter: PSAC BC | PSAC National
  • Join our Facebook Fan page: PSAC BC | PSAC National
  • Forward this URL via email to co-workers, friends and family who share your concerns about federal public service pensions and retirement security.




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