Winnipeg Public Service recommending reversal of police pension bylaw changes

The Winnipeg Public Service is recommending the reversal of amendments to the City of Winnipeg’s police pension bylaw.

The amendments, which took effect April 1, 2020, were the subject of a grievance filed by the Winnipeg Police Association and the Winnipeg Police Senior Officer’s Association in November 2019 after the City of Winnipeg attempted to make alterations to the defined benefit pension plan.

The changes included increasing employee contributions from eight per cent to 11.5 per cent and reducing employer contributions from 18.48 per cent to 11.5 per cent, both over a five-year time frame. They also included plans to eliminate police overtime from pensionable income and to require police officers to work longer before receiving their pension benefits, according to an email sent to city councillors in August 2019.

Read: Winnipeg Police Association wins pension grievance against City

At the end of March, the arbitrator released his decision in the matter, allowing the grievance and stating that the City had breached the collective agreement by passing a bylaw amending the pension benefits of the members and, in particular, excluding overtime from pensionable earnings. The arbitrator further ordered the City from making modifications to the pension plan, except as negotiated by the parties.

“The City isn’t challenging the arbitrator’s decision by seeking judicial review,” stated a report shared at an executive policy committee meeting on Friday. “The bylaw will comply with the order of the arbitrator by repealing the amending bylaw retroactively and ratifying any decisions made and actions taken.”

The recommendations include that the council retroactively repeal the bylaw that amended the police pension plan, as well as ratifying any decisions made or actions taken since April 1, 2020, which were based on the bylaw. The recommendations will be before council at its meeting on May 29, 2020.

Read: Winnipeg eliminating police overtime from pensionable income by 2020