04/15/2014 09:04 EDT | Updated 06/15/2014 05:59 EDT

New Brunswick Teachers Federation agrees to pension deal with province

FREDERICTON - The New Brunswick Teachers' Federation has reached an agreement with the province on pensions that Finance Minister Blaine Higgs says meets the government's goal to make the plan affordable and sustainable.

The federation says its board of directors approved the agreement Saturday and regional meetings to explain details to its members will begin April 22.

Higgs has been pushing for changes to teachers' pensions, saying the government can't continue to make special payments that have averaged $83 million a year over the last decade.

The federation has said it was interested in negotiating pension reform but didn't want a shared-risk plan imposed on the teachers.

The federation has about 9,000 current members and about 7,000 retirees.

Higgs says special payment would no longer be necessary in the new model the two sides negotiated.

“We are pleased that teachers have been willing to work collaboratively to create a pension plan that is sustainable for plan members and affordable for taxpayers,” he said in a statement Tuesday.

Like other plans that have been changed, Higgs said the federation's plan will reach a 50-50 funding ratio between the province and the teachers.