News & Updates - 2005

 

Our Pensions: Safe From Inflation or Not?

FPSE News - December 13, 2005

Will your pension be indexed to the cost of living?
The answer is: it depends.

When you retire you will have a number of things to think about - and one of the most important will be income security. We are all members of a defined benefits pension plan and as such, we probably think that income security is not an issue. Unfortunately, that perception is wrong for two reasons. Firstly, many people in our pension plan retire with less than 20 years of service and as such, their pension income will likely be less than 40 percent of their pre-retirement income. Secondly, even if our initial pension is reasonably good, the purchasing power of that pension may decline because of inflation.

This article will discuss the potential effects of inflation on our pensions. It will also discuss options and questions that you may want to raise with both Pension Trustees and your executive. More...

FPSE Analysis of the Ministry of Finance Multi-Year Bargaining Mandate for the Public Sector

December 1, 2005 - FPSE News

As part of her quarterly economic update, provincial Finance Minister Carole Taylor outlined a multi-year proposal for funding public sector compensation increases. As many expected, the quarterly economic update confirmed that the provincial government’s fiscal position continues to strengthen. The combination of higher natural resource prices, especially energy (natural gas) prices, along with low interest rates have helped fuel BC’s economic growth which, in turn, has helped propel provincial revenues well beyond initial forecasts.

The multi-year compensation increase certainly captured media headlines. The Minister outlined a proposal that would provide as much as $ 5.7 billion for public sector agreements during the period 05/06 to 09/10. As well, the proposal calls for additional “bonuses” for agreements that are settled before their expiry dates. As well, the Minister is offering additional incentives for longer term agreements. 

 

Carole Taylor's Bargaining Proposal: A Good Start

December 1, 2005 - FPSE News

As part of her latest economic update, BC's Finance Minster Carole Taylor announced that the provincial government is setting aside close to $6 billion over the next five years for settling collective agreements in BC's public sector. "The Minister's announcement is the first indication we have seen that the provincial government is prepared to bargain fairly with employees in the public sector," said Cindy Oliver, President of the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators. "But like any set of negotiations, the employer's opening position is never their final position. That said, it's still a good start," Oliver noted.

"While the anticipated set-asides for public sector settlements are significant, in relative terms they amount to approximately 1.5 - 2.0% increases per year over the term of this proposal. An interesting addition in this proposal is the willingness of the provincial government to address "policy issues" in addition to compensation items. In our sector, there are a wide range of policy changes-everything from Adult Basic Education funding to the redesign of entry level trades training-that have had a direct impact on declining enrolments and the viability of various programs in our public post-secondary institutions. The fact that the provincial government is prepared to include those issues at our bargaining table is a significant and positive development," Oliver added.  

 

Submission to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services

October 27, 2005

The following is an excerpt of a letter submitted in response to the 2006 Budget Consultation Paper by Kwantlen Faculty Association:

The 2006 BC Budget Consultations ask us to provide input on what we think should be government priorities for the next year. Therefore, the Kwantlen Faculty Association submits these for your consideration:

  • Increase funding for postsecondary education so that the operating budgets of institutions such as Kwantlen University College are significantly increased to provide more access to education without institutions raising tuition.
  • Ensure adequate wage increases are available for public sector workers. We must be able to address the retention and recruitment challenges facing the post secondary sector. Currently, Ontario college instructors at top step earn $7500 more per year than Kwantlen instructors. A significant proportion of our members are at top of scale and also due to retire in the next five years. We must become more competitive in our salaries in order to attract qualified faculty members for the future.
  •  Increase the funding for the Industry Training Authority so that the trades programs to be offered at Kwantlen’s new Cloverdale campus in Fall 2006 can train workers in sufficient numbers to address the growing skills shortages. The current Service Plan for the ITA projects the same level of funding from the Ministry for 2004/05, 2005/06, 2006/07. The currents levels of funding provided by ITA to the institutions are insufficient to meet the urgent demand for trades training. 
  •  Continue to invest in infrastructure projects such as the new Cloverdale campus and Surrey campus expansion and fully fund the capital costs so that institutions do not have to dip into their operating budgets, as they do now, to help pay for the capital expansion.

We note that the government is forecasting a considerable surplus for the coming year and we urge the government to restore funding to 2001 levels and ensure increased public programs and services for all British Columbians. We also will point out that any increase in wages and benefits for public sector workers is an increased investment in health and education.

For a copy of the entire submission to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services, click here.