Four of British Columbia’s public sector pension plans are educating trustees with a new plan-specific curriculum.

The curriculum — a collaboration between the College Pension Plan, the Municipal Pension Plan, the Public Service Pension Plan and the Teachers’ Pension Plan — was developed in response to a lack of plan-specific information provided in external education courses, says Helen McArthur, executive director of the Public Service Pension Plan and the Teachers’ Pension Plan.

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“[The information in the external courses] was relevant to Canadian pension plans, but not the plans they’re trustees of,” she says. “We have a unique governance structure here within the B.C. plans and we wanted to spend more time at the outset educating them on that structure. . . . It’s a big effort [to educate trustees] and there’s turnover, but they all need education, whether it’s just learning the ropes or development into leadership roles.”

The curriculum, which is delivered through a mix of online courses and in-person sessions, covers a range of topics such as the legal aspects of pensions, funding risks, pension administration and governance, as well as how to prepare for meetings and discussions, says McArthur, noting trustee feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

“[The trustees] want to understand their role as a fiduciary and what that means. They also want to understand our pension ecosystem and who does what, as well as their roles and responsibilities.”

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