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You may recall that as part of our new collective agreement, CMG and management agreed to review the benefits plans offered to full-time permanent employees to see if changes were necessary to improve the cost or the coverage. We met with a Great West Life representative in the late fall to review our existing coverage.
The first issue is that the premiums for benefits and insurance are going up across the industry; ours are also going up this year. The second issue is that it would not make a difference to move to another provider. The only way to cut costs at this time would be to reduce coverage. In all but one case, we are not recommending that.
However, we do recommend reducing long-term disability (LTD) coverage in order to reduce those premiums, which are paid 100% by employees . Right now, anyone in the LTD plan would receive 65% of their salary tax-free if they were off work for an extended period with a medical condition that prevented them from working. The Great West Life rep pointed out that most organizations now provide 60% of salary. Because the LTD payments are tax free, you would see only a small change in your income if you had to go on LTD at the 60% rate. By reducing the coverage, premiums would go down and make up for the increase for 2016.
We encourage everyone to have their say. We will only recommend this change to management if a majority of employees are in favour.
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