Calgary mayor says Alberta’s pension reform needs more time, consultation

Calgary’s mayor says the Alberta government’s proposed public-sector pension reform needs more time and a closer look.

CALGARY — Calgary’s mayor says the Alberta government’s proposed public-sector pension reform needs more time and a closer look.

Naheed Nenshi is urging the province to consult with municipalities and unions before going ahead with any changes.

Nenshi has sent a letter to Premier Dave Hancock about the proposed legislation, which has generated a lot of controversy.

Especially contentious has been a plan to raise the age at which public workers could retire on a full pension.

The government has said the overhaul is needed to keep the plans of more than 200,000 public-sector workers viable.

Nenshi says he’s concerned the reforms as they stand could have a crippling effect on the labour force.

“It’s clear that this is a pretty flawed piece of legislation,” Nenshi said. “The city of Calgary is not opposed to public-sector pension reform. In fact, we probably need some public-sector pension reform.

“But both the province and the unions admit that the largest pension plan doesn’t have an unfunded problem, that it’s being paid off nicely, so there’s no rush.

“And this bill is if nothing rushed.”

Bill 9 passed second reading late last month and is expected to be debated later this week.

It’s a bill opponents and unions say is unfair, unnecessary and could result in sharply reduced benefits.

The changes would kick in starting in 2016.

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