Retirees' Association

Retirees Association of Queen's

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Pension & Benefits Update

By the beginning of April, all RAQ members receiving a Queen’s pension should have received in the mail a package containing a brochure entitled, “Proposed Transition to the University Pension Plan Ontario” for former members,  retired persons & other persons who are non-employee members of the Queen’s Pension Plan (QPP), and three  Schedules (numbered 4, 5 and 6) (Schedules 1 – 3 were for Queen’s employees). The brochure and Schedules 4 and 5 offer detailed explanations of what joining the University Pension Plan (UPP) would mean for us.

Here we can offer three answers to the question we are most often asked:

WOULD JOINING THE UPP AFFECT MY PENSION?

Short answer:    NO.

Longer answer (courtesy of Bill Forbes):  There is NO IMPACT on your pension. You will continue to get increases based on the excess interest approach in the QPP.  Further, being part of a larger ($10 billion) pool of assets should result in additional investment opportunities not available to smaller plans. (Emphasis added)

Still longer answer (courtesy of Steve Millan, Associate Vice-Principal, Human Resources): One of the central pillars of this process is the government’s requirement that the past service benefits for pensioners (QPP) must be the same as in the new plan (UPP).  This corresponds to the Pension Benefits Act generally which provides that accrued benefits can’t be reduced once earned.  In other words, past service benefits (including indexing) for pensioners under the QPP are required to be replicated following conversion.  (Emphasis added)

For employees paying into the QPP at the time of conversion to the UPP, only future contributions into the UPP (as invested) will be administered under UPP rules; their pre-conversion assets in the QPP will be invested by the UPP but will continue to be administered according to QPP rules.

Based on everything we have seen about the UPP and its impact on us, the RAQ Pension & Benefits Committee sees no reason for our members and other retirees to object to joining the UPP.  We recommend that you DO NOT MAIL BACK  Schedule 6 (the “I object…” form).  If we do nothing, we are assumed to be voting to accept the proposed change.

QPP NEWS

Bob Weisnagel reports that the March investment return for the QPP was + 1.5%, bringing the cumulative results for the seven months of the current pension year into positive territory (+ 0.39%).  Bob notes “returns for April look solidly positive” but details will not be available until late May/early June.  As of publication, May’s markets are volatile. March results are posted at  http://www.queensu.ca/humanresources/news/monthly-pension-update-20190510.

BENEFITS NEWS

Queen’s Human Resources Department has sent out a Request for Proposals to insurance providers who might administer the Queen’s benefit package (including retiree benefits).  When those proposals are received, HR will share the relevant details with us for our views.

As always, the Committee welcomes questions, comments, and information about problems from members of RAQ, which we will bring to our meetings with senior administrators of Queen’s. 

RAQ P & B Committee: George Brandie (Chair), Chris Chapler,

Bill Forbes, Bruce Hutchinson, Sue Miklas & Joyce Zakos