Barrett Private Members Bill proposes public sector pension change

For immediate release:
May 22, 2012

QUEEN’S PARK — Haldimand-Norfolk’s MPP says his private members bill to control public sector compensation could mean changes to public sector pensions.

In detailing steps toward limiting compensation, Toby Barrett’s bill, Addressing Ontario’s Debt Through Alternatives to Public Sector Layoffs and Program Cuts Act, 2012, cites the option of converting any existing defined benefit pension plans to defined contribution.

“You know, nowadays, most workers – if lucky enough to have a pension – have this model of pension,” Barrett says. “Given that MPP’s are included in the bill’s compensation limit proposals, it is fair and equitable to take steps to bring pensions in line with the defined contribution model MPP’s changed over to during the Mike Harris government.”

The Harris government phased out lavish “gold-plated” MPP pensions in 1996. Under ‘defined contribution’, the income received at retirement is not pre-determined, but based on assets within individual retirement plan accounts built from agreed-upon contributions.

“Somewhere in the order of forty states have enacted significant changes to their public sector pension plans, either by way of increasing employee contributions, reducing benefits, or both,” noted Barrett. “Bottom line, Mr. McGuinty’s wasteful spending addiction has us staring down the barrel of a $411.4 debt, and public sector spending is a big part of that. We have to take significant steps, and we have to take them now if we are to escape the more painful actions that will be required if we do nothing now.”

With over one million public sector employees in Ontario – 70 per cent unionized compared to 15 per cent in the private sector – labour costs account for about half of all Ontario government program spending.

For more information, please contact MPP Toby Barrett at: (416) 325-8404,
(519) 428-0446 or 1-800-903-86