POLITICS

P.E.I. to introduce reforms to public sector pension plans next month

10/15/2013 06:12 EDT | Updated 12/15/2013 05:12 EST
CHARLOTTETOWN - The P.E.I. government says it will introduce a number of reforms to its public sector pension plans when the legislature resumes next month, including scrapping guaranteed cost-of-living increases.

Premier Robert Ghiz said in a statement Tuesday that changing demographics and the global economic downtown have placed strain on the plans.

He says it's hoped the overhaul will make the plans more sustainable and affordable.

The changes include calculating pensions earned by current employees using an average of their indexed annual earnings starting next year.

As well, the government says retiree pensions will remain at current levels, but it wants to make annual cost-of-living adjustments contingent on the fund's ability to pay beginning in 2017.

The government says it has been making special payments worth millions of dollars to its pension plans in addition to regular employee contributions for two decades, but it has been unable to offset growing costs.

"The average Canadian is living longer and retiring sooner than ever before," Ghiz said. "This has left a growing gap between how much people take out of the pension plans versus how much they pay into them."