Government of Nova Scotia

01/13/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/13/2021 08:25

Expert Panel to Make Recommendations on Teachers’ Pension Plan

The province and Nova Scotia Teachers Union (NSTU) have appointed an independent three-person expert panel to recommend ways to protect and strengthen the Teachers' Pension Plan.

The plan has an unfunded liability of $1.5 billion and a funded ratio of 78.2 per cent as of Dec. 31, 2019. While there is no immediate risk the plan will be unable to meet its ongoing pension obligations, NSTU and the province, as joint parties of the plan, have a shared obligation to address the plan's liability so teachers, like other public sector employees, have pension benefits that will provide financial stability during retirement.

NSTU and the province agreed to the panel process in October 2020. The panel will consult broadly with teachers and other plan members, conduct education sessions about the extent of the deficit and options for resolution, and bring forward non-binding recommendations to make the plan fully funded within a reasonable period of time and within its framework.

Panel members were jointly selected based on their knowledge and expertise of pensions, specifically public sector pension plans. They are:

  • Elizabeth Brown, a Toronto-based pension lawyer at Brown Mills Klinck Prezioso LLP. Ms. Brown has been involved in numerous high-profile pension restructure situations
  • Gale Rubenstein, a lawyer at Goodmans LLP in Toronto. Ms. Rubenstein has extensive experience with pensions arising from her practice as an insolvency lawyer. She is also currently the chair of the Ontario University's Pension Plan and was extensively involved in the restructuring of that plan
  • Conrad Ferguson, an actuary based in Fredericton, New Brunswick who had a distinguished career with Morneau Shepell before retirement. He maintains some direct involvement with the firm on a part-time basis

The panel will develop a work plan, timeline and budget for review and approval and will bring non-binding recommendations to the province and NSTU by Dec. 31, 2021. The province will approve and pay costs for the panel.

Quotes:

We value our teachers and want to ensure that the pensions they have contributed to over their careers are there for them when they retire. The plan deficit is a serious and complex issue. The panel process will allow teachers and other plan members to better understand the challenges and range of solutions and provide their input. The deficit must be resolved by the province and NSTU together, as the joint parties of the plan.Mark Furey, Minister of Labour Relations

Quick Facts:

  • the Nova Scotia Teachers' Pension Plan is one of the largest public sector pension plans in the province. The plan is a defined benefit registered pension plan that provides a lifetime pension benefit upon retirement
  • members of the Teachers' Pension Plan include active and retired teachers, as well as members of the Public School Administrators Association of Nova Scotia and Nova Scotia Community College Academic Union
  • as of Dec. 31, 2019, the plan had a total of 32,647 members, including 13,705 retirees and survivors, 12,979 active members, and 5,963 inactive members. The number of retirees is growing with a current ratio of 0.95 active member for one retiree

Additional Resources:

The Nova Scotia Teachers' Pension Plan 2019 Annual Report can be found at: https://www.nstpp.ca/

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