Pension Plan Bill To Cover Universities:
Around the Corner
The meeting of the Fédération des professionnèles (FP), the Fédération nationale
des enseignantes et enseignants du Québec (FNEEQ), the Fédération des
employées et employés des services publics (FEESP) and the CSN with Minister
François Blais regarding pension plans in Quebec’s universities has given rise to
a lot of anxiety.

Indeed, during the meeting, the Minister implied that a bill covering the university
sector would be tabled soon (in November) and that it would pretty much follow in the
footsteps of Bill 3. Of course, he appears to be a bit more open-minded than Minister
Moreau and alluded to the possibility of setting up a task force to examine and deal with
the issue. One can nonetheless wonder why the Minister appears intent on proceeding
so swiftly and on revealing his intention to substantially reproduce the essence of Bill 3.
Current state of university pension plans
•• Out of 11 defined benefit pension plans,
only one plan appears to be in any kind of real difficulty.
•• Ironically, this plan is one where the unionized workers negotiated a 50-50 sharing
of past deficits (which is precisely what is set out in Bill 3). In good faith, the workers
accepted to pay, but probably did not fully gauge the risks of such an undertaking
that is difficult today to follow through on. In practical terms, it would appear this form
of sharing deficits just doesn’t work.
•• No university plan is capitalized under 82%.
•• Unfortunately, the Government is in no rush at all to act in such a way as to improve the
situation of university employees who are covered by defined contribution plans, as is
the case with sessional lecturers.
Our position
•• We cannot accept the administration of
the kind of harsh medicine embodied in Bill 3, because nothing justifies such a
coercive approach to our situation. Bill 3 unilaterally imposes draconian measures,
denies the parties the right to negotiate and tears up agreements that were reached in
good faith. It penalizes retirees and gives cities the possibility of unilaterally reducing
their employees’ remuneration and working conditions.
•• The Government should be working towards
developing measures that would give the parties a chance to negotiate in such a
way as to ensure the sustainability of their pension plans.
•• The Government should also ensure that
all the groups of workers present in the universities participate in the process.
September 20 march against Bill 3 Meanwhile, Bill 3 is merely a foretaste of what the Government has up its sleeve to
ransack the rights of Quebeckers, acquired over the past 30 years. You are all invited
to participate in a big march which will be taking place on Saturday, September 20,
to protest against the hostile and anti-worker approach of this bill. The rally will begin
at La Fontaine Park as of 11:00. We’re hoping and expecting to see you there!