As at many other Ontario universities, our pension plan, a component of the overall compensation budget, is our single biggest financial risk. We have an unfunded deficit.
The 2010-11 Budget Report shows an estimate of the special payments the university would have to make, based on certain assumptions about the future, amounting to a $38 million hit on the operating budget by 2012-13. This would be over 9% of our revenues - a serious cause for concern.
The provincial government has responded with a new plan. There is no direct financial assistance, but the government is giving universities time to come up with clearly articulated plans to ensure their pension programs achieve long-term sustainability before the special payments kick in.
The province has yet to issue new regulations on the precise details of the relief program. In the meantime, Queen's is preparing to re-engage employee groups to discuss go-forward options. Employees will most likely see their contributions increase, their benefits decrease, or possibly a mix of both.