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PUBLIC SERVICE UNIONS TAKE GOVERNMENT TO COURT ON PENSION SURPLUS GRAB
The Association, along with other federal public service unions have filed a claim in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice regarding the government’s appropriation of the pension fund surplus.
In addition to the Association, the plaintiffs are the Professional Institute of the Public Service, the Canadian Merchant Service Guild, the Federal Government Dockyard Trades & Labour Council (East), the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the Federal Government Dockyard Chargehands Association, the Research Council Employees’ Association, the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers, the Social Sciences Employees Assocciation, the Canadian Union of Professional and Technical Employees and the Federal Government Dockyard Trades & Labour Council (West). The Public Service Alliance of Canada has filed a similar, separate claim.
The plaintiffs are seeking a declaration that sub-sections 95(1), (2) and (3) of the Public Sector Pension Investment Board Act, S.C. 1999, c.34 violates section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Bill of Rights.
The claim further states that the debit of any amount from the Superannuation Account by the President of the Treasury Board without compensation to the plaintiffs and other contributors, constitutes an unlawful conversion of the interest of the plaintiffs, and other contributors in the Superannuation Account.
The claim is also seeking a declaration that the debit of any amount from the Superannuation Account by the President of the Treasury Board constitutes a breach of the terms and conditions of employment of the plaintiffs and other employees. This debit also constitutes a breach of the fiduciary obligations owed by the Government of Canada as administrator of the Public Service Superannuation Plan.
The unions named above are also seeking a declaration that the Defendant has unlawfully confiscated and expropriated the interest of the plaintiffs and other employees in the surplus that existed in the Superannuation Account, prior to the coming into force of the Public Sector Pension Investment Board Act. In addition, the statement of claim is seeking costs and such other relief as the Court deems just.
Echoing the sentiments of the majority of the unions, Steve Hindle, President of the Professional Institute stated “Negotiations on the pension plan failed last year. But we were very close to reaching an agreement. Treasury Board turned around and legislated this pension surplus grab that it could not obtain through negotiations. We fought every step of the legislative process. Now, they have left us no choice but to pursue this fight in the courts.”
“Our union members are in a uniquely disadvantaged position compared to other employees in Canadian society because their employer, the Government of Canada, consistently and repeatedly resorts to using its legislative muscle to amend or revoke their terms and conditions of employment.”