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If you’re a member of CUPE Local 46, there’s a good chance that, when you started your position in Medicine Hat and area, you spoke with someone in Human Resources. Part of that conversation focused on the Local Authorities Pension Plan (LAPP). Specifically, you would’ve been told that you were now a contributing member of LAPP.
In the United Conservative Party’s election platform document, Getting Alberta Back to Work, the only mention of pension changes is found on page 99 where the UCP states that they will “End Alberta’s agreement to increase the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) payroll tax by $1,624 per family”. Additionally, when the Honourable Travis Toews, President of Treasury Board and UCP Minister of Finance, delivered the Budget Address: A plan for jobs and the economy on October 24, 2019, there was no mention of changes to Albertans pensions, something that the 2019-23 Government of Alberta strategic plan similarly avoids.
While the Budget 2019 Highlights document contains one mention of pensions in reference to “consolidating investment funds managed in the public sector . . . [to] protect the funds and returns to pensioners” (p. 10; bolding mine), the 2019-23 fiscal plan contains forty-eight. This includes references to reversing “changes by the previous government . . . to enhance governance provisions for public sector pension plans” (p. 113; bolding mine) and how the UCP “government intends to reverse the option of public sector pension plans leaving AIMCo as a fund manager” (p. 120; bolding mine).
In December 2018, the former Alberta government passed legislation that would “transition public sector pension plans to a joint governance structure and give more control to employer and employee groups” (Joint governance of public sector pension plans; bolding mine). This was an important change… a positive advance for public sector employees because, as former CUPE Alberta Division President Marle Roberts quipped, “In the past, when the government wanted to change our plan, usually for the worst, they could do it with the stroke of a pen. No more.” (Pension reform introduced by NDP government; bolding mine)
Bill 22: Reform of Agencies, Boards and Commissions and Government Enterprises Act, 2019 ($), was introduced on November 18th and received Royal Assent on November 22nd, effectively reversing the changes mentioned above. During this time, a jointly-penned opinion piece (signed by the presidents of the Alberta Federation of Labour, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, the United Nurses of Alberta, the Health Sciences Association of Alberta, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE Alberta Divisions), and the Alberta Teachers’ Association) was published by several major newspapers and other media agencies. The opinion piece can be found at the following links:
Opinion: Hands off our retirement funds, say Alberta union leaders (November 21; Calgary Herald)
Opinion: Albertans’ retirement funds don’t belong to Kenney gov’t (November 22; Edmonton Journal)
For the most accurate information on what’s happening with your LAPP pension, we suggest getting in touch with LAPP directly, either by phone (1-877-649-5277) or by sending them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have concerns about the changes, please consider contacting your local Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA):
Mr. Drew Barnes (United Conservative Party), MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat
Trans Canada Place #5
1299 Trans Canada Way
Medicine Hat, AB
Canada T1B 1H9
Phone:403.528.2191 Fax:403.528.2278 Email: Cypress.MedicineHat@assembly.ab.ca
Ms. Michaela Glasgo (United Conservative Party), MLA for Brooks-Medicine Hat
537 – 4th Street SE
Medicine Hat, AB
Canada T1A 0K7
Other Websites and Documents that were accessed:
Government of Alberta – Budget Documents (accessed 4 December 2019)
Government of Alberta – Budget 2019 : a plan for jobs and the economy (accessed 4 December 2019)