Quebec planning pension plan overhaul for public employees
The provincial government is planning a public pension makeover for all employees of municipalities, universities, and hospitals in Quebec.
Under legislation to be tabled next year, public employees would be responsible for 50 percent of their pension plan contribution.
It's a recommendation that was made by the Amours committee on financing and retirement planning as a way to make up the shortfalls in pension funds for civil servants.
At the moment many institutions and municipalities contribute 70 percent toward retirement while employees make up the remaining 30 percent.
That costs the city of Montreal almost half a billion dollars a year -- because previous city governments were not contributing as much as they were supposed to.
Labour Minister Agnes Maltais said that shortfall is why the provincial government has to step in.
"Our pension plans are in danger," said Maltais.
To make up the shortfall Quebec is proposing that unions and management discuss issues and then begin negotiations.
If there's no agreement after six months the two sides would then meet with a mediator.
If after another six months there's no deal the labour relations board could impose a solution.
"I do think everybody was waiting for a move from the government," said Maltais.
However Denis Coderre, the mayor of Montreal, was hoping things would move faster.
"The process that they're proposing, you have a full two years? I mean it's way too long," Coderre said.
Unions are now worried that their members may wind up strapped for cash now in order to pay for retirement later.
Jean Lortie, Secretary General of the CSN, said it will be difficult for many to increase their retirement savings.
"Imagine in the place, municipality or in university, you pay only 20 percent for your defined benefit pension fund, and then suddenly you're being asked to pay 50 percent," said Lortie.
860 pension plans affecting 1.2 million people fall under the government's proposal.