WINNIPEG — Proposed changes to the Winnipeg police pension plan could save taxpayers approximately $12 million annually.
The city is looking at ways to reduce its contributions to the plan, which it says is paying 2.3 times more into than the employees.
Among the changes are removing overtime from pensionable earnings. The change would save about $1.5 million annually, which would be reinvested into police operations.
The city also wants to increase employee contributions to the plan from eight percent to 11.5 percent of salary over a five-year time frame. The city would also reduce its contributions from 18.48 percent to 11.5 percent of salaries over the same five-year period.
The third change would be a reduction in pension if retirement occurs before age 55, or age 60 if service with the city is less than 20 years, and eliminating the bridge benefit for service.
“The proposed amendments would bring the police’s defined benefit plan more in line with other major Canadian police force pension plans and allow it to continue to provide a stable source of retirement income to the valued members of the Winnipeg Police Service,” the city said in a release.
The Winnipeg Police Association criticized the move, saying the benefits of the WPS pension plan are a negotiated element of the WPA collective agreement.
“In June of 2017, Mayor (Brian) Bowman voted for the collective agreement we had negotiated, calling it ‘the longest and most sustainable’ agreement in almost 20 years. Now he wants to turn around and rip-up that agreement,” said WPA president Maurice “Moe” Sabourin.
“Surprising behaviour from someone who used to be a lawyer, to say the least. That shows bad faith. And to do this at a time when Winnipeg is seeing an alarming spike in violent crime and is on track to set a new annual record for homicides shows the Mayor doesn’t have a real handle on what is going on in the city.”
The proposed amendments, which still require council approval, would take effect on January 1, 2020.