Alberta’s public-sector pension plans reassuring members amid worry over ministerial order

Alberta’s public-sector pension plans are reassuring members that their pensions are safe, following a recent ministerial order enacted by the provincial government.

The order was enacted in late December by Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews after 2020 deadlines for investment management agreements between the pensions and the Alberta Investment Management Corp. passed with no result. It will remain in place until the pensions reach their respective investment agreements with the AIMCo.

In a message to members, the Local Authorities Pension Plan said there are no benefit changes being planned or discussed as a result of the order and that the LAPP’s $53.1-billion fund continues to be held in trust for members. The LAPP said it continues to negotiate an investment management agreement with the AIMCo to define their future business relationship.

A similar message was released by the Special Forces Pension Plan, which told members it continues to pursue an agreement with in which “funds are managed in the best interest of SFPP members” and cost-effective service and competitive returns are balanced.

In a statement earlier this month, the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund said it will also continue its negotiations with the AIMCo to achieve a mutually-beneficial agreement. While the two parties reached an agreement on several issues during the initial negotiations, the fund said “[the] AIMCo was not willing to agree to certain key terms that we felt appropriately protected [the] ATRF’s role and responsibility and the interests of our plans.”

The order allows the AIMCo to bypass a pension’s investment policy should it threaten to compromise AIMCo’s economies of scale or operational efficiencies, according to the ATRF, which also noted such decisions are not subject to appeal or arbitration. The Alberta Federation of Labour said it’s planning at least one court challenge to the order.