Teachers dismayed by passage of Bill 22

Release Date 2019 11 21

“Offended,” “irritated” and “frustrated” are the words used to describe teacher reaction to the passage of Bill 22, by Alberta Teachers’ Association president Jason Schilling.

Bill 22, the Reform of Agencies, Boards and Commissions and Government Enterprises Act, 2019, will force the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund (ATRF) to transfer control of pension assets to the Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo).

“The government never saw fit to consult with teachers before acting with unseemly haste. We are incensed by the aggressive use of closure three times in the past 16 hours to ram this legislation through all three stages of debate in less than a day.”

ATA president Jason Schilling

Schilling is very concerned that the justification used for the move does not stand up to scrutiny. Pleas to invite the auditor general to conduct a review of the decision have been completely ignored.

“The government has never adequately responded to data that shows the ATRF outperforms AIMCo, even after costs have been factored in. As a result, this decision could actually cost government and teachers more money through higher pension contributions.”

ATA president Jason Schilling

He is also concerned about the message sent by having the government move forward in the face of clear opposition from teachers.

“32,000 emails have been sent to MLAs in the past three weeks from more than 22,000 concerned citizens, but MLAs kept their earplugs in. MLAs Stephan, Walker and Turton will have to explain why they still voted for this bill despite receiving over 600 e-mails from their own constituents on this matter.”

ATA president Jason Schilling

With the passage of Bill 22, the Association will be working with the ATRF board to ensure that teachers will continue to have a high level of decision making and oversight of investments with AIMCo. The finance minister pledged responsiveness and accountability from AIMCo, and the Association plans to push hard for that.

Schilling says the ATA will be also be channelling the concern and energy of its members towards issues of funding, class size and supports for students.

“Across the province schools are losing teachers as a direct result of cuts to education funding. Students and parents are living the consequences of government underfunding while the minister blames school boards.”

ATA president Jason Schilling

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.