The National Association of Federal Retirees’ advocacy around the 2015 election focused on honouring pension promises.
A pension is a promise and a commitment, and it is unfair to cut pensions for retired employees. Employees provide their service and employers compensate them – and that includes pensions. Pensioners trust their employers to keep their side of the agreement and to honour their promise.
We looked to the main national party leaders for their support to make sure employers do not cut the benefits of retirees, now and in the future. This goes directly to the heart of Federal Retirees advocacy commitment to members: to protect their retirement pensions and benefits.
Liberal party leader – and now Prime Minister – Justin Trudeau sent a letter to Federal Retirees’ president in Spring 2015 that stated: "I continue to believe that while [target benefit plans] may make sense in certain circumstances, any changes to existing Defined Benefit Pensions (DBP) should be made on a going-forward basis. DBPs, which have already [been] paid for by employees and pensioners, should not be retroactively be changed into TBPs."
At an Economic Club luncheon, the NDP's Thomas Mulcair announced that, "a deal is a deal [...], nobody should be ever allowed retroactively to change your pension deal. That’s what you bought, that’s what paid for and that should be respected.”
And finally, Stephen Harper announced in an open letter that the Conservatives “will not be moving away from the current defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan, target benefit plan, or any other shared-risk model. [...] The public service pension plan is solid and fully-funded, and there is no need to make any such changes. These are the facts.”
Each of the main federal parties indicated their support of Federal Retirees’ position: that earned pensions must be protected and that employer must honour their promises.
Ultimately, these are promises – often easily made, but harder to keep.