Statement Regarding the Public Service Management (Closed Membership) Pension Plan

June 10, 2015

The Alberta Pensions Services Corporation (APS) Statement provided to CBC in response to their questions about an issue that is currently before the Courts

A story on CBC's Go Public today referenced the statement APS provided in response to their questions about an issue that is currently before the Courts. This APS statement was not well incorporated into the story.

While the legal proceedings are on-going and the Court has yet to hear and decide the matter, APS recognizes the significance of the matter to a small group of pensioners who have been affected and APS wishes to respond, as best it can in the circumstances, to the enquiries being made by the CBC.

In the interests of providing a balanced perspective to this situation, APS is publishing this statement:

    APS Statement

    Alberta Pensions Services Corporation (APS) guides the pension experience for seven public sector plans and two supplementary retirement plans, 494 employers and more than 330,000 members and pensioners.

    Specifically, APS is the administrator of the Public Service Management (Closed Membership) Pension Plan (known as the Closed Plan).

    As with all of the plans under its administration, APS is obligated to administer the pension entitlements provided for under the Closed Plan in accordance with governing legislation.

    The questions the CBC has asked concern a matter that has been brought before the Courts by a member of the Closed Plan seeking to challenge APS' interpretation of such governing legislation. APS is a party to those legal proceedings.

    While the legal proceedings are on-going and the Court has yet to hear and decide the matter, APS recognizes the significance of the matter to a small group of pensioners who have been affected and APS wishes to respond, as best it can in the circumstances, to the enquiries being made by the CBC.

    What happened?
    This is a unique situation that involved the closing of a pension plan.

    APS discovered that 25 members of the Closed Plan had been receiving pensions that had been miscalculated, resulting in overpayments to 22 of them.

    The miscalculations arose out of prior misinterpretation of the governing legislation. Only these 25 members of the Closed Plan were affected.

    Twenty-two of these members received pension overpayments. Three of these members received pension payments which had been underpaid. Those pensioners that were underpaid received a back payment to make up for the shortfall in the benefits they had received.

    No other members of the Closed Plan (or any other pension plan) were affected.

    What did APS do?
    APS is bound to administer the pensions of all the members in accordance with governing legislation. This is what led to the cessation of the overpayments that were being paid to the 22 affected pensioners. The governing legislation also provides for the recovery of overpayments.

    In June 2014, APS sent letters to the 22 affected pensioners advising them of the overpayments to their monthly pensions. APS President and CEO Karen Adams then offered to meet personally with each affected individual to discuss the situation.
    Further communication with the affected pensioners concerning their individual circumstances has and is taking place. APS is concerned that such individual circumstances be fairly and equitably addressed. This is a matter, however, that necessarily calls for confidentiality as between APS and such affected members.

    Does this save APS money?
    This is not a matter of APS saving money. APS has no authority or ability to change legislated pension entitlements in order to save money. This is about APS providing pension benefits in accordance with the terms of the Closed Plan as provided for in the governing legislation.

    Have any other pension plans been affected?
    No, APS has investigated the issue and can confirm that no other plans have been affected.

    What happens now?
    Given the on-going legal proceedings, APS is not in a position to provide further comment.

Media Contact:
Gail Gravelines, Director, Corporate Communications
gail.gravelines@apsc.ca
Direct line: (780) 391-2903