FREDERICTON, NEW BRUNSWICK--(Marketwired - Oct. 31, 2013) - Gary Corbett, President of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, met today with New Brunswick's Finance Minister, the Honourable Blaine Higgs, to call attention to the Institute's opposition to the provincial government's plans to repeal the Public Service Superannuation Act (PSSA), and to replace the current plan with a Shared Risk Plan. He emphasized that outcomes such as the loss of acquired benefits, a steep increase in employee contributions and the need to work an extra five years, amongst others, are completely unacceptable to PIPSC members.
"Minister Higgs and his government's approach to pension reform will have serious negative consequences for the retirement security of past, present and future public service employees in New Brunswick as well as in other jurisdictions", said PIPSC President Gary Corbett.
Beginning last Fall, PIPSC and other unions whose members contribute to the current pension plan under the PSSA were invited to attend a series of meetings with the Task Force appointed by Minister Higgs, which is mandated to review provincial public-sector pension plans. The Institute was prepared to seriously consider any adjustments that would ensure the current plan's financial viability over the long term, but was told that "fixing the PSSA is not an option". The lack of evidence proving that the current plan cannot be adjusted to respond to new economic and demographic realities suggests that the introduction of the new Shared Risk Plan is a political, rather than evidence-based, decision. PIPSC has therefore refused to sign a Memorandum of Understanding that gives the government carte blanche to move forward with its plans.
"The Alward government has a problem to resolve, unfortunately the path it is on will not lead to a fair solution for thousands of New Brunswickers", continued Corbett. "There are a number of practical, fair and viable alternatives that the provincial government should explore. In the meantime, we urge Premier Alward to slow down the current pension reform process so that New Brunswick can get it right".
The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada represents some 60,000 professionals and scientists across Canada's public sector, including more than 400 provincial employees who proudly serve the citizens of New Brunswick as Crown Prosecutors, Crown Attorneys, Engineers, Land Surveyors, Architects, Veterinarians, Agrologists and Agronomists.