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Eggen promises to remove pension cap

May 29, 2018 Cory Hare, ATA News Managing Editor

Education Minister David Eggen presents ATA president Greg Jeffery with a letter stating that the government intends to remove a cap on teachers’ pensions.

The government says that in the fall it will remove a cap on teachers’ pension earnings that has been costing some retirees thousands of dollars per year.

Education Minister David Eggen made the announcement at the Annual Representative Assembly (ARA) on May 19, in response to the issue that the Alberta Teachers’ Association has been trying to resolve for years.

“When I write my memoirs I’ll let you all know just how difficult it was to achieve,” Eggen said.

As part of his announcement, Eggen presented ATA president Greg Jeffery with a letter addressed to Jeffery and signed by Eggen and Finance Minister Joe Ceci.

“On behalf of the Government of Alberta, we are pleased to confirm that we intend to proceed with amendments to the defined benefit limit of the Teacher Pension Plan. We intend to implement these changes in the fall of 2018 as part of a broader review and alignment of public pension plans,” the letter states.

Part of the regulation accompanying the Teachers’ Pension Plan Act, the cap restricts the total amount of annual pension that can be paid out. Teachers retiring with a five-year average salary of approximately $103,000 are currently affected by the cap. Teachers earning this amount or higher end up paying into the plan based on that salary but receive smaller benefits than they paid for.

Following Eggen’s announcement, Jeffery agreed that the deal had been long and difficult to achieve, involving countless communications from himself and past president Mark Ramsankar to Eggen, Ceci and ministers from the previous PC government.

“If all our emails and text messages were compiled it would resemble a paperback novel,” he said in an interview with the ATA News.

While the pension cap affects a relatively small number of members now, that number would continue to grow rapidly if not for the regulation change that Eggen announced, Jeffery said.

Eggen also reminded ARA delegates of his government’s efforts to provide stable funding for education, build new schools and expand the school nutrition program. He also said that there was more work to do in addressing classroom complexity and equitable supports for rural schools. ❚

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