Update: Our CAAT Defined-Benefit Pension Plan: Going Strong!

UPDATE:  Our CAAT Defined-Benefit Pension Plan:  Going Strong!

Despite frequent politicians’ comments and media reports claiming that good pensions are unaffordable, all Durham College professors, counsellors, and librarians need to know that our pension is in excellent shape.  It is over-funded, and it is a top-quality, defined-benefit, pension plan – the kind that media often report is no longer affordable for Ontarians.  Our CAAT (Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology) plan earned 11.8% interest in 2012, with assets of 6.3 billion dollars, and is over-funded at the rate of 103% of required funds, or in dollar terms, $347 million over the full funding amount.

In 2012, the Ontario Minister of Finance appointed Bill Morneau, a pension investment advisor, to prepare a report on “pooling” investments.  This could have led to our plan being pooled or merged with other plans that do not have the same “demographic and liquidity needs.”  In fact, our plan (which includes college faculty, support, and administrators) is very well managed in its current form, with highly able leadership and low management fees – far lower than in most retail mutual funds or defined-contribution plans.  In 2012, the representatives of the plan (Ontario college employees who are delegated from faculty, support, and administration) successfully fought to get an exemption from any new Ontario “pooled fund” – which could have forced our pension plan to be absorbed into a larger pension plan for Ontario employees.

On the other hand, some Ontario university pension plans have expressed an interest in joining our plan due to its excellent management and similar client base.  Those conversations are on-going.  In addition, our CAAT pension is open to part time, partial load, and sessional teaching staff who have worked a continuous 24 month period, including 24 months of part time hours.

The efforts on behalf of our CAAT representatives to protect our pension should be recognized by all Ontario CAAT employees.  All Ontario CAAT college employees need to know that our plan may be attacked in the future as being unaffordable.  Or, as a well-funded plan, it might be tempting to merge our plan with other, less well-managed plans.

The most recent bulletins can be reached by clicking on these links: