Government Pushes on with Pension Takeover despite Significant Teacher Opposition

Release Date 2019 11 18

The auditor general needs to be brought in, says Alberta Teachers’ Association president Jason Schilling after legislation was introduced today to transfer teacher pension assets to the government-run Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo).

Schilling says that numbers used by the Government of Alberta to justify the pension grab contradict those documented by the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund (ATRF). He is calling for a pause to the passage of Bill 22 until an independent review can be conducted by the auditor general’s office.

“Teachers are not convinced this move is in their interests. The ATRF board is also not convinced that this is in the best interest of plan members. We need to pause this legislation; otherwise, this move amounts to a hijacking.

Show us the numbers and convince us it is in our interests, instead of unilaterally seizing our pension assets. 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.”

- Jason Schilling, ATA president

Over 15,000 active and retired teachers have emailed their MLAs to express disapproval of the pension grab. Schilling is very concerned that the government continues to push forward without fully consulting teachers.

“This is teachers’ money. Teachers should have a say in how it is invested, and teachers must be consulted before a significant takeover like this is implemented. ATRF has successfully managed the fund for 80 years—so why the urgent need to change it now?”

- Jason Schilling, ATA president

Schilling says that Association lawyers are reviewing the relevant sections of Bill 22, the Reform of Agencies, Boards and Commissions and Government Enterprise Act, 2019, to determine legal avenues to pursue.

The Alberta Teachers’ Association, as the professional organization of teachers, promotes and advances public education, safeguards standards of professional practice and serves as the advocate for its 46,000 members.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with ATA president Jason Schilling, contact Mark Milne at 780-905-0014.