REGINA – Last November the city and employees under their pension plan reached an agreement to overcome a $213 million deficit, and now those changes are finally going to be put into action.
During Monday’s council meeting the new pension plan strategy was unanimously approved to a great deal of relief from council.
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“It must be paid off, said Mayor Michael Fougere after the vote. “You cannot have a deficit, but we have an orderly way to pay in what is usually the regulatory time frame. So it will affect the amount that’s paid by workers, but it’s worth it because now we have a sustainable pension.”
Employees will pay 9.8 per cent of their salary into the pension and the city will pay 10.9 per cent. This 60-40 split is being done to eliminate the deficit in 20 years. In order to finance this split to work employee groups agreed to give up certain benefits.
These benefits include cost of living allowance increases, having their pensionable income measured on a five year scale instead of three, and eliminating overtime from pensionable income.
“It feels very good, a big relief” said Kirby Benning, Chair of the Regina Civic Pension & Benefit Committee. “As an employee of the citizens of Regina, and being the spokesperson for all those employees that have been working so hard on this issue it’s good to finally be at the end where we know things will be good going forward.”
Benning is also an employee of Regina’s Fire & Protective Services.
More than just city employees are covered under the pension. Other organizations under the pension include school, health region, library, and Buffalo Pound employees.
Employees will be able to collect their pensions when they are at least 55 years old and their age plus years of experience equals 85 instead of 80.
The new pension plan structure takes effect on January 1, 2016.