Action needed on pension legislation: Wilson
(December 7, 2011) Jim Wilson is renewing his call for government action to fill a void in existing pension regulations that affects thousands of public sector employees, including several paramedics in the County of Simcoe.
The Simcoe-Grey MPP has been working on the issue for years. By teaming
up with local paramedics affected, Wilson was successful in pushing the
government to enact enabling legislation that became law in 2010 that
fixes a barrier that forbids the transfer of pension assets. Despite
the legislative fix, the government has yet to introduce regulations to
make it happen.
The following is the text of Mr. Wilson’s remarks from Hansard:
Mr. Jim Wilson: My statement is directed to the Minister of Finance, and it concerns the transfer of pension assets for roughly 10,000 public sector employees affected by past divestments. Many of these employees are paramedics.
The Pension Benefits Amendment Act was supposed to fix the problem that arose when the government divested a wide array of services from one level of government to another in the mid-1990s. The government’s own Expert Commission on Pensions highlighted the fact that many of these 10,000 employees continued to do the same job and in the same place of employment, but they were told that their future pension accruals would be in a different pension plan. This meant that their pension benefits would be significantly lower than they would have been if all of their service credits and associated pension assets had been transferred to their new plan.
To fix this unfair practice, the commission recommended in 2008 that the government should “promptly address the pension arrangements for groups of public service employees affected by past divestments and transfers.”
Three years after being told to promptly address the matter and 17 months after this House passed enabling legislation; the government has yet to introduce the regulations to fix this problem. The Minister of Finance told me in question period on March 30: “Those regulations will be promulgated shortly.” It has now been over eight months since the minister made those comments.
This holdup is affecting real people, many of whom live in my riding and all of whom are desperately trying to make plans to support their families in retirement. They can’t wait any longer.