Government trims benefits for retired public servants
Hands off our benefits!
That’s the rallying cry being heard among retired public servants worried that the federal government is going to make good on its threat to reduce some of their retirement benefits.
In its last budget, the government did announce that it intended to review retirees’ benefits, including pensions, health and dental care, and life insurance. And it's making good on its promise.
At issue right now is Treasury Board’s proposal to double the premiums that retired public servants pay for the public service health care plan while also limiting their eligibility to join the plan.
The government wants retirees to pick up half of the cost of contributions to the heavily subsidized health plan rather than the 25% they pay now. It also wants that the minimum years of service required to join to be extended to 10 years from the current two.
Advocacy groups representing retired civil servants think this is unfair. They're also worried that extending the vesting period for the health plan this way might lead to other changes, like how long it would take public servants to qualify for a pension.
And that would be just fine, maintains the Canadian Federation of Independent Business in a recent report called Canada’s Two-tier Retirement. It's time to level the playing field, the CFIB argues.
Two-thirds of Canadians working in the private sector, or 80% of the country’s employees, don't have a company pension plan. In contrast, 87% of public servants, who make up 20% of the country’s workforce, have a workplace pension plan, which, in most cases, guarantees the benefit no matter what.
The whole set up, including retiree benefits, is simply unsustainable, argue Bill Tufts and Lee Fairbanks, co-authors of Pension Ponzi: How Public Sector Unions are Bankrupting Canada’s Health Care, Education and Your Retirement.
Government-sponsored pension plans across the country are facing deficits as a result of lacklustre stock market returns, historically low interest rates and changing demographics.
Realizing this, provinces like Alberta are already taking action by actively discouraging early retirement and cutting cost-of-living increases although tyhe changes won't affect those who've already retired.
Shoulds retired civil servants pay a greater share of their retirement benefits? Or is a deal a deal, regardless of the ongoing costs?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money
Posted by: Birds | Sep 19, 2021 7:22:51 AM
Increase capitol gains tax by 7%, reduce tax loopholes at the corporate level to none, set better regulations for the cost of services within the medical field.
Then, you can all have your gold plated pensions okay?
Posted by: bootsbreeches | Sep 19, 2021 10:21:24 AM
I'm a 28yr retired veteran of the RCMP and spent all of my time in uniform work. I worked at all hours of the day to make sure the people I was serving were safe. That's the job I chose and am proud of the work I did. So I believe I deserve the benefits that the Gov't of Canada stated I was obliged to get. I believe that anyone in the public sector especially RCMP and Armed Forces should be entitled to these benefits for the sacrifice that they have given to their country. Easy for the Harper Gov't to say that this is not fair as 80% of the workforce don't get this but how many of these people had to get out of bed at 3 A.M. and go arrest a drunk who is terrorizing his family and the community.
I'm sure the Gov't won't be included in this cutback and will enjoy full benefits upon retiring including the inflated pensions that they will receive at that time as well. Get rid of the Senate as this is just am "old boys/girls club" that really don't do much or if they want to keep the Senate, make it volunteer work as all of the Senator's have come from cushy private sector jobs and already have more money than they know what to do with.
Posted by: scott | Sep 19, 2021 11:15:34 AM
I'm in agreement with bootsbreeches, memebers of the RCMP and the Canadian Forces deserve the pensions and benefits they are getting. I am physically banged up and disabled after serving Canada for 20yrs. I have to fight tooth and nail for any benefits as it is, I think Mr Harper (asshole) should be looking at other areas to make up for the short fall in cash.
Posted by: Crucked Banks !!!! | Sep 19, 2021 11:15:50 AM
Receiving for 37 years work in Canada $ 1200 total in retirement - please compare. Person worked full time overseas 13 years and continue working after 50 years in Canada as self employed for contract with no benefits. Person is continue working to have some life after 70 - Compare what people - other than Government workers have to do without of benefits. All Canadian Citizens should have same benefits as Mr. above. Mr. above you deserve your benefits so as we.
Posted by: Mr Conscience | Sep 19, 2021 11:22:24 AM
It's time Governments did the job we voted them to do, PROTECTING OUR TAX DOLLARS with that being their highest priority and STOP stuffing their own damn pockets. When our benefits must be subjected to cuts, their benefits and salaries should be cut first. They should be adept enough to prove they can secure a "PROMISE" to provide a given benefit to us before they even make that promise. If they break it, they should be removed from office. It's OUR MONEY NOT THEIRS. Fear of losing THEIR job is the only secure deterrent for ALL POLITICIANS. The private sector should be fighting to get similar benefits to present public service levels rather than making life harder for ALL TAXPAYING WORKERS. TOO much Corporate welfare happening with our tax dollars.
Posted by: Jeannie | Sep 19, 2021 11:26:41 AM
My husband taught school for 30 years. We pay our own health benefits premiums. I think it only fair that civil servants pay 1/2 of theirs. Why should we (Canadian taxpayers) pay so much for retired civil servants.
Posted by: Lou Garou | Sep 19, 2021 11:47:00 AM
I am a public servant that has 15 years in, and let me tell you this; after seeing all the cutbacks going around ( and still is) I decided 3 years ago to open my own business just in case the worst were to happen to me. I am now at a cross road; my business is making almost as much as my yearly salary and I am certain that if I went full time, then I would surpass it. One of main reasons that I staying put were the benefits that I was receiving......now that these are being erroded away by the government......I am not so sure about staying. Plus the fact that we are always told to do more with less.....the public service is starting to become a not so great place to work at.
Posted by: Arnold | Sep 19, 2021 12:44:53 PM
Retired after 37 years in public service in Alberta and the the only benefits that we get is our pension plan which we make significant contributions towards (50:50 shared contributions by employee and employer). Alberta retired civil servants do not get any health, dental or life insurance benifits as indicated in this report. The majority of civil servants would get a pension of 50 to 60 percent of their last 5 years of employment income (pro-rated down if they did not work the full 35 years). A single employee could choose the 60% option however most married couples would likely choose an option closer to 50% (unless spouse had her own pension plan). Note that upper management get a 70% pension and would get maximum benifits after 30 years (on a much higher salary base). I can not speak for the contributions made and/or benifits retired upper management may or may not get.
Posted by: Dreamers | Sep 19, 2021 12:46:13 PM
a little trimming is fine, but while the politicians are at it they should be looking at the gold spoon that they give themselves
Posted by: Daniel | Sep 19, 2021 1:35:57 PM
The government should get out of pensions all together save ones that are for every Canadian, like the CPP.
How many Canadians do not get a pension at all? What makes some one think they are entitled to a pension just because they work for the government? Tax payers all end up paying their salaries and it is tax payers who end up contributing the other 75% of contributions to their pensions.
Public employees have the public against them since the majority of us get no pension at all. Sorry that times have changed drastically that our government can not afford promised made so many years ago. Everyone is right...It's not fair, but then life is not fair.
Public employees who are going to be effected by these changes should do what the rest of us have to do...contribute as much as you can to an RRSP and invest wisely. My wife is a teacher and should be getting a pension one day, but like responsible adults we save and live as if she were not going to get any pension at all and make our decisions accordingly.
Maybe the rest of the public sector should do the same as we do in the private.
Posted by: Debi | Sep 19, 2021 1:43:55 PM
Not one of us out there would not be ecstatic to have a great pension plan!
However, country and business cannot afford this excess anymore- where is
the money to come from? Can't logically expect lower taxes but bigger benefits
- we already live in one of the best countries in the world, let's be grateful for the
wonderful things we do have provided for us. I personally am living "freedom 75"
but absolutely refuse to complain. Let's give credit where credit due, people, and
live realistically, not in a dream world. There will always be those better off financially!
Posted by: Crucked Banks !!!! | Sep 19, 2021 1:48:39 PM
I have problem to read what Arnold wrote about his Pension Plan and benefits after 37 years of working in public service. People working in Private sector have no Pension Plan and no benefits at all.
In private sector people don't have permanent job and it is more temporary kind of hire and work how long ?? Be happy man you leave in this country where you have all and the most of people not. Something is wrong in this Canadian system obviously.
Posted by: Pat | Sep 19, 2021 1:58:02 PM
As usual Gordon Powers is way off base if he's suggesting most plans are like this. I've worked for many years contributing to the LAPP. The contributions are roughly 50/50 from me and employer which is the norm. Also OUR contributions have been INCREASED to ensure the plan is fully sustainable and because the Alberta government virtually stole our pension money once in the past - spending it instead of investing. Horner and the plan board has admitted the pension is in good shape. If a citizen took money already invested out of a plan, they would be arrested for embezzlement and thrown in jail. Maybe the government should look at their bullying legislation or criminal code. Just because you think you can get away with forcing it (not negotiating) does not make it right or democratic. Federal MP plans have them only giving 1 share for every 24 shares that the taxpayer directly pays. Alberta government MLA plans similar. Take from your own severe excesses and leave honest people alone. Increase corporate tax rates to previous and stop the gross loopholes. Properly collect on revenue royalties and Alberta would have $37 BILLION more by their own reports. Go after gross overspending like AHS executives expense accounts that were just announced they are NOT pursuing - that's taxpayers money!
Posted by: Bob | Sep 19, 2021 2:09:50 PM
It is one thing to change the plans as they exist for new employees entering the Federal work force. It gives them the opportunity to prepare for their retirement knowing what they will be paying for benefits. I worked for the Federal Govt for 36 years and my benefits were in place upon my retirement and should not change for those who had the benefits in place when they retired. The added cost to pensioners that they had not counted on will effect them in a very negative way.
Posted by: G Arrowsmith | Sep 19, 2021 2:42:02 PM
Government wastefull spending needs to be trimmed up not the benefits of retired public servants.
That is that.
Posted by: Mike | Sep 19, 2021 3:16:26 PM
I agree with Bob's comment above. And to those who think our benefits are too high they should look at how their labour contracts were negotiated when they were in the work forces, did they accept higher wages in lieu of better benefits? Labour contracts normally include wages and benefits therefore when we accepted our labour contracts we accepted the whole package. Why is the government allowed, years later, to change labour contracts that were signed in good faith. What's next, are they gonna come back and say some wages were to high and we have to pay back?
Posted by: Mr Conscience | Sep 19, 2021 3:32:20 PM
Mike, don't be giving politicians any new more dangerous ideas please re your last line.
Posted by: Luc | Sep 19, 2021 4:09:24 PM
Bob you forgot to mention that your pension is 75% of your best 5 years salary at the government, plus all your benefits..............and you got a huge pay out of cash when you left for retirement ( what you guys call termination pay). A little trimming won't hurt you. I am tired of paying taxes for all these huge pensions.
Posted by: Roberto | Sep 19, 2021 4:11:12 PM
Shouldn't government officials cut their gold plated pensions and reduce their exorbitant salaries first? If they're reducing pensions and changing contracts its the least they can do.The gov't breaking their word...seems like a pattern to me. Shame.
Posted by: Lynne | Sep 19, 2021 4:37:16 PM
Public servants' pensions are not as gold-plated as the general public thinks they are. Most salaries were relatively fairly modest. And the severance pay was decent, not rich. I was a civil servant for 35 years so retired with full pension and full severance. It's still very modest money. No vacations for me, despite the fact that I have paid my mortgage off. (It takes two civil service salaries to make a really comfortable life.)
The federal civil service is where the bar should be set so that Canadians can enjoy a reasonable and decent living. Private industry just wants low-paid drones. Their bar should not be the standard or we'll all be living at subsistence (...and you'd still need two salaries...even more so). What Big Business needs to understand is that, if people don't earn a decent living, they can't buy Business's products and services...that ends up bringing Business down.
Posted by: Tom Muir | Sep 19, 2021 4:42:53 PM
I agree with Bob and Mike above. The benefits were part of the employment package negotiated over the years. Pension benefits and associated health plans were negotiated in the same way, as part of the package, sometimes traded off for wages higher or lower. Changes for new employees can be put into the negotiations of the future. It's not right for Harper to take back what was legally due at retirement, and that includes health plan benefits.
Posted by: john lalonde | Sep 19, 2021 4:52:17 PM
As a retired Armed Forces member of 33 years standing I wish only to say: I upheld my end of my career in an honourable fashion. Uphold your end by living up to your side of the agreement. If changes must be made do so going forward not against those of us who are on the books at present.
Posted by: Tommy Boy | Sep 19, 2021 5:11:48 PM
The Federal government took 32 billion dollars out of the plan in early 2000 as it was in surplus at that time. Now that the tides have turned, they want to have it both ways. I propose that the Members of Parliament get the same plan as its employees. That should settle the issue once and for all.
Posted by: Crucked Banks !!!! | Sep 19, 2021 6:00:07 PM
Members of Parliament get the same Plan as its Employees Tommy Boy ? Where from the money come from Tommy Boy ? I hope you don't want the money to pay your already exorbitant pension from pockets of people with no " Company pension Plan and any Benefits " You deserve your benefits, but not from 80% of people working for Private Companies. You must be kidding Tommy Boy.
Posted by: Greg | Sep 19, 2021 6:52:47 PM
When the politicians pay the same/ recieve the same. they can "consider" reductions/increases.
Until then a deal is a deal.
Remember we still get to vote and there is always a coming election!
Posted by: K EVANS | Sep 19, 2021 7:20:11 PM
politicians should cut there own benefits first before telling other people that they have to cut theirs. I think their pension and expences is a crime.
Posted by: Trim the Fat at the Top | Sep 19, 2021 7:47:11 PM
Hey Canadian Government and Taxpayers... want to start saving some money ?
1. Get rid of the Senate and all it's rich benchwarmers (x108) = 14 Million per yr... minimum
2. Get rid of Senate pensions = 10 Million per year... minimum
3. Get rid of retired Senators pensions = 27 Million per year... minimum
4. Get rid of the Governor General = 135K per year + staff salaries + free house
That's a minimum of 50 M per year saved right there... not including their health and dental benefits
Posted by: tom | Sep 19, 2021 7:53:31 PM
bootsbreeches - is that screeching I hear from the worlds smallest violin? you don't get out of bed at 3am because every police force has officers on staff 24/7, also the sacrifices you make could me said for many professions like a lot of trades people who work on heights, thousands of volts, massive boilers etc, etc, these are all dangers jobs yet many of these professions don't get the cushy benefits and pension you do even though I'm sure you did very little in you field as Canada is a pretty safe country to begin with, you're not patrolling the mean streets of LA, Chicago or Detroit. Get a grip and some perspective
Posted by: Trim the Fat at the Top | Sep 19, 2021 7:57:58 PM
Next on the trim list...
Members of Parliament, 308 of them ... are paid 158 K per year (basic salary) = 48 M miminum
After only SIX (6) years on the job, they become "entitled" to full pension (70%) at age 55.
How many retired MPs do you think there are... collecting 110 K per year to do NOTHING ?
And that doesn't include their own health and dental benefits.
While collecting their 110 K per year... they get "appointed" to various perky positions... not including being on various Board of Directors for many private sector companies, for which they certainly get paid to get their "little brains" picked. That's called Double Dipping !!
Let's see the Government trim their own fat... reduce MP pensions down to 50% after 20+ years "on the job"... and cut their "benefits" completely. Scrooge Harper certainly won't do that will he ?
Posted by: Trim the Fat at the Top | Sep 19, 2021 8:13:07 PM
As for all you private sector workers beeatchin' and crying because you don't have a pension plan... organize yourselves and get unionized. Why not ? Too scared to lose your jobs ? Then you deserve what you get for doing nothing about it !! Your private sector Lords aren't any better than the Government. Actually, they've been in bed with the government for the past 100 years. Ask our former Prime Minister and shipping magnate... Mr. Paul Martin. He must've saved a ton of $$$ by having his ships fly under the Liberian flag. Ask Belinda Stronach, Magna CEO ? Ask SNC Lavalin CEO's. Ask all the Italian Mafia contractors across Canada about their government contracts ? They've padded their pockets with government contracts and subsidies for a long time... off the taxpayers back. Too bad none of that goes intotheir own employees' wallet.