PROPOSALS TO THE 43RD GENERAL COUNCIL OF THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA
Inflation Affects Pensioners Too:
Adding Cost of Living Allowance to Retirees’ Pension as with Active Members’ Salary
Origin: __________________________ Congregation/Presbytery/Conference
Financial Implications if known: undertaking a member survey
Staffing Implications if known:
Source of Funding if known:
We propose that: Pension Plan Members and stakeholders be surveyed on the question of adding a permanent Cost of Living Allowance to the Plan, as of a date to be determined, giving retirees the same benefit as that currently in place for active members. If there is substantial agreement to such implementation, the Plan Administrator will initiate this extended benefit as of the soonest possible date.
- The Plan text and Goal currently states that protection against inflation erosion be made available when the Administrator believes it is possible.
- The Administrator has not felt it possible to undertake the traditional upgrade to pension benefits since 2009, thus eroding the benefits of retirees from that date, compared to active ministry personnel, by about 15%
- The policy for the minimum Remuneration for Ministry Personnel, as active members of the Plan, is to keep current with the Annual Inflation Rate.
- There is definitely a cost to employing units as well as plan members if the Cost of living Allowance was added to the Plan.
- This cost, in regards to employing units (Pastoral Charges), could be offset by grants from Church funds, such as one created through the use of a portion of the proceeds of the sale of church property.
- The cost could also borne by employing units (Pastoral Charges) as a way of offering justice to their Staff and Ministry Personnel, equal to that being granted now, to active Ministry Personnel.
- This cost, in regards to active members of the Plan could be defined by the Plan’s current actuarial advisors, at which point the membership, by survey or vote, could indicate their willingness to be protected against the inflation erosion currently being suffered by retired members for close to ten years.
- The Administrator alone should not be asked to bear the brunt of criticism. The choice to fund Cost of Living Allowances should come from those whom it will affect.
- Contributions to the plan since 2013 have already been increased with the effect of lowering the eventual pension benefits without the input of all parties. It is time to see if contributions may again be increased, but this time, with the effect of raising the eventual pension benefits.