Here are some highlights from the June meeting of the Consultative Committee on Staff Benefits (CCSB):
? LTD contribution rate to stay the same as the financial condition of the plan improves.
? Amount of sick leave continues to edge up.
? Group RRSP performs well in 2006
After a couple of poor years, the long-term disability plan showed a marked improvement through 2006 and during the first five months of 2007. The plan has moved from a deficit position to showing a modest surplus. With that improvement, the CCSB and Great West Life have agreed to renew the policy at the current rate of 1.7 per cent of regular pay. At the end of May, a total of 301 employees were on LTD, the lowest number since 2003. The numbers changed constantly so it’s too early to say there’s any significant trend developing.
While the LTD picture looks a bit better, the sick leave ? or short-term disability (STD) ? story isn’t showing an improvement. According to the CBC’s numbers, employees used more than 68,000 days of STD, an increase of more than 5,000 days over the previous year. The average number of sick days per full-time equivalent was 7.36 days, up from 7.26 days the year before. The CBC puts the cost of STD last year at $15.3 million, and that doesn’t include the cost of backfill (when it’s provided). This shows why it’s so important for the corporation to be much more active in the health promotion and wellness activities that we’ve been pushing for at the CCSB.
At the June CCSB, we were also briefed on the performance of the Group RRSP, which is sponsored by the CCSB and CBC. In 2006, the total rate of return on the basket of funds was 11.4%. That ranged from a low of 4.03%, at the conservative money market end, to a high of 29.02% for one of the foreign equity funds. We think the Group RRSP is an option that CBC employees should consider as they plan for their retirement. It’s worth noting that the investment management fees are lower than many of those for similar funds in the retail RRSP market.
As well, Debra Alves, the new CEO of the CBC pension plan, and retiring CEO Steve Cotsman, briefed us on the plan’s performance in 2006. The plan is now in a strong financial position, as witnessed by the surplus reported at the end of 2006. The CCSB and the CBC disagree on how that surplus should be used. We have demanded more information so that we can give constructive and prudent direction on the matter. We believe the surplus should not be monopolized by the corporation through a contribution holiday worth $77 million dollars.
This was also the last CCSB meeting for CMG representative Philippe Bourbeau. He’s retiring at the end of June, and his years of service to the Guild are deeply appreciated.
Marc Philippe Laurin