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'Significant lack of trust': Reaction to UCP plan to transfer teacher pensions
EDMONTON -- The Alberta Teachers' Association is calling for an independent review of the UCP government's Bill 22, which would transfer teacher pension assets to the Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo).
"Show us the numbers and convince us it is in our interests, instead of unilaterally seizing our pension assets," ATA president Jason Schilling said in a written release. "If AIMCo actually provides better returns at lower costs, then why wouldn’t we want to use them to invest our money? But right now, there is conflicting data and a significant lack of trust.”
Bill 22, the Reform of Agencies, Boards and Commissions and Government Enterprises Act, will transfer investment management of the Alberta Teachers' Retirement Fund, Workers Compensation Board and Alberta Health Services to AIMCo, which is run by the government.
Finance Minister Travis Toews said Monday that it will improve efficiency and provide more value to taxpayers.
"The proposed changes are expected to increase AIMCo’s investment portfolio by $30 billion. This will enhance AIMCo’s economies of scale and allow it to deliver higher expected returns for lower investment management costs," Toews said while introducing Bill 22 in the legislature. "Strengthening AIMCo benefits all Albertans since it will increase the return on Alberta government funds and endowments, including the Alberta heritage trust fund."
One economics professor points out that AIMCo is a world-renowned pension fund manager, offers diversification and has grown by $60 billion in the last decade.
“To me it's a good move, whether it's a wise move that depends on the long-term performance of the Alberta economy too,” said Professor Rafat Alam, with MacEwan University.
The Alberta Federation of Labour called the bill an attack on the retirement security of more than 300,000 Albertans.
"Workers and pensioners in this province did not ask Kenney and the UCP to interfere in the administration of their pensions, nor do they have confidence that they will run those plans in a fair or responsible way," AFL president Gil McGowan said in a release. "This is a shocking, unjustified and indefensible power and money grab."
The bill will also dissolve several foundations, committees and funds:
- Campus Alberta Strategic Directions Committee
- Social Care Facilities Review Committee
- Alberta Sports Connection
- Alberta Historical Resources Foundation and Historic Resources Fund
- Alberta Competitiveness Council (will also repeal Alberta Competitiveness Act)
- Alberta Capital Finance Authority (government will manage the loan program directly)
Bill 22 has not yet passed in the legislature.