Alberta Teachers’ Association planning legal challenge to pension order

The Alberta Teachers’ Association says it’s taking legal action against a ministerial order enacted on several pension plans in the province in late December.

In a press release, the association said its provincial executive council voted unanimously this week to file a lawsuit, acting on legal advice that identified an avenue for a challenge to the order enacted on the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund, which the association said reduces teacher control of pension investments. Jason Schilling, president of the ATA, described the order as “offensive and over-reaching” in the release.

The order was enacted in late December by Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews after 2020 deadlines for investment management agreements between several pensions and the Alberta Investment Management Corp. passed with no result.

In addition to the Alberta Teachers’, the order also affects the Local Authorities Pension Plan, Public Service Pension Plan and the Special Forces Pension Plan and allows the AIMCo to bypass a pension’s investment policy should it threaten to compromise AIMCo’s economies of scale or operational efficiencies. The order will remain in place until the pensions reach their respective investment agreements with the AIMCo.

According to statements from the involved pensions, the order doesn’t affect individual members’ pension benefits or security. In addition to the ATA’s lawsuit, the Alberta Federation of Labour said it will also take legal action.