Recent losses show need for more accountability, oversight of pensions
AUPE members who belong to the Local Authorities Penion Plan (LAPP) and Public Service Pension Plan (PSPP) are concerned about their pensions, and it's not hard to see why.
Both of these defined benefit pension plans are secure and safe for the long-term because members and employers continue to make significant investments for members’ retirement. Defined benefit pension plans are stable sources of income for retirees, especially during times of economic hardship like the pandemic we are going through now.
But mismanagement by AIMCo, the Alberta Investment Management Corporation, has meant the LAPP and PSPP have lost more money than other plans during the pandemic and recent crash in the price of oil.
One investment expert even said AIMCo’s recent $2.1 billion hit was “predictable and preventable.”
AUPE members want to hold AIMCo accountable. But how can we start? Here’s what members need to know and what we can do to fight for our pensions.
UCP government has taken control of pensions away from members
Last year, the UCP government passed Bill 22.
Bill 22 took away independence from the LAPP and corporate pension boards. This means the boards can no longer choose their service providers, like AIMCo, which currently manages pension plan investments.
Bill 22 also reduced the number of AUPE representatives appointed to the LAPP corporate and sponsor boards. That means there is now only one AUPE representative on each board. This is unacceptable given the significant number of AUPE members who participate in the LAPP.
The Bill isn’t just bad for AUPE members: Bill 22 also snatches up teachers’ pensions and will put them under AIMCo management as well. This is not a move teachers wanted. The Alberta Teachers Association even launched the Hands Off My Pension campaign to show opposition to Bill 22.
Take action! Take back our pensions
So how can AUPE members hold AIMCo accountable if it underperforms? Well, the UCP made doing that harder too.
Right now, there is no way for the plans to leave AIMCo, so we need to fight for that right.
AUPE members have been fighting for more control of our pensions for a long time. Many members have said pensions are their #1 issue. We need to keep making our voices heard.
Email your Member of Alberta’s Legislative Assembly. If you don’t know who your MLA is, you can find them here. Tell them you support AUPE members, support our teachers, and that we want control of our pensions.
You can also email the members of the Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members' Public Bills. They are considering a new Private Members’ Bill, Bill 203, the Pension Protection Act, which would repeal much of Bill 22. Tell them you support this Bill and that you want them to vote in favour of it.
Members of the Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members’ Public Bills:
Mr. Mike Ellis (Chair) MLA for Calgary-West
Mr. Joseph Schow (Deputy Chair) MLA for Cardston-Siksika
Ms. Michaela Glasgo MLA for Brooks-Medicine Hat
Mr. Nate Horner MLA for Drumheller-Stettler
Member Janis Irwin MLA for Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood
Mr. Nathan Neudorf MLA for Lethbridge-East
Mr. Chris Nielsen MLA for Edmonton-Decore
Mr. Jeremy Nixon MLA for Calgary-Klein
Ms. Rakhi Pancholi MLA for Edmonton-Whitemud
Ms. Lori Sigurdson MLA for Edmonton-Riverview
Mr. R.J. Sigurdson MLA for Highwood
Share this update
Spread the word about the UCP’s attacks on our pensions. Support our brothers, sisters, and fellow workers in the Alberta Teachers Association. We’re all in this together. Even if things don’t change right away, we can still have an impact with solidarity and a united voice.
If you are an AUPE member with questions about pensions, check out this member update or contact Liliana Cordeiro, AUPE Pensions Union Representative, at email@example.com.