Potential changes to pension plan

by Faculty Association | Filed under December 2012.

– By Anne Stalker, Faculty Association Past-President and  UAPP Sponsor Representative –

In the new year, you are going to get the opportunity to vote on potential changes to the UAPP – the Universities Academic Pension Plan. This is the plan that provides you with a pension once you retire, and into which both you and the University of Calgary contribute every month. This plan applies not only to the University of Calgary, but also to the University of Alberta, the University of Lethbridge, Athabasca University and the Banff Centre.

Over the last year and a half, the Sponsors (the Governors from those institutions and their faculty associations) have been working to put together a package of changes that they hope will better balance the benefits that our members get out of the plan. The idea of the package of changes is mostly to more fairly distribute the benefits of the plan, not to reduce contributions or to address any sustainability issues the plan may have. The Sponsors intend to look at those other issues only when this first decision has been made. The main point of the changes that will be proposed in the new year is to reduce the subsidies that are currently going to people who take early retirement, and move most of the savings from that to provide better cost of living coverage for all pensioners. Any changes would apply only from the date of implementation on, so would not affect the pension related to the service you have earned up to that point.

However, most importantly for you, you will have to vote on the changes before they can take effect. Therefore, we are planning to have significant communication about this proposal before you need to vote. The Sponsors are currently working on a common communications package that will explain the changes in as clear a manner as possible. In addition, TUCFA will have opportunities for you to meet with us and hear about the changes, and ask any questions that you have.

If TUCFA votes against the changes, they cannot be implemented. Therefore, our process will be to have the Board of Directors consider whether to send the package of changes out for ratification. Then there will be notification to the membership about the proposal, including the communications package already referred to and the dates of meetings to discuss it. This will include the opportunity to vote on the proposal, with a considerable voting window. In this way, you will have the opportunity to become fully informed about the issues.

Because the UAPP applies to five institutions in Alberta and we have been trying to ensure that there is some support before taking this forward, it has already been under discussion at all of the five institutions and you may have heard about it. Please be aware that no substantive changes that could affect your benefits can be implemented without your having the opportunity to vote on them. And please take the opportunity, when this comes to you next term, to think about your pension and what you want out of it.

Thank you, and you will hear more next term.


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