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5/11/2017

2017 Annual meeting highlights

​The Co-operative Superannuation Society's delegates met in Saskatoon on April 5 and 6, 2017 for the delegate seminar and annual meeting. Along with reflecting on the past year's successes and challenges, the expected low-return environment topped the agenda.

Delegate seminar

An information session for the delegates was held the evening prior to the annual meeting. Brent Godson, the Plan’s Investment Manager, delivered a presentation about the anticipation of a low-return environment in the capital markets, which has existed within the investment community for some time. 

Since 2012, we’ve been making changes to the Balanced Fund (BF) - our default investment fund - in anticipation of future lower returns. But the question remains: do we need to consider further changes? A number of potential options were discussed:

  • ‘Do nothing / wait and see’ approach - This approach would avoid the risk of potentially making a wrong decision and overreacting. However, it would add the risk of getting left behind if returns are lower going forward.

  • ‘Take on more risk’ approach - Selling off bonds and investing more in equities may increase the BF’s potential return. Adding more risk, however, increases volatility and may not be appropriate for members invested entirely in the BF and are nearing retirement.

  • ‘Alternative assets’ approach - Investing in alternative asset classes such as real estate, infrastructure emerging debt, global bonds, etc. can offer a higher potential return, but are typically more complex, not as liquid, and come with higher investment management costs compared with typical asset classes such and equities and bonds.

Table-top discussions on the approaches presented revealed that generally all the delegates felt that taking a “wait and see” approach would not be appropriate, but the Plan should investigate options to increase the potential return of the BF. Delegates also felt that in light of an anticipated lower return environment, perhaps members will need to also contribute more towards their retirement and work longer.



Director elections

Four director elections were held at the annual meeting: two employee director elections and two employer director elections. At the Board re-organization meeting held after the annual meeting, Al Meyer was re-elected President and Jeff Ambrose was re-elected Vice-President. 


Employee director elections

  • Jeff Ambrose, Calgary Co-op, Calgary, AB
    • Re-elected to the Board by acclamation
    • Three-year term
  • Jason Sentes, 1st Choice Savings and Credit Union, Lethbridge, AB
    • Elected to the Board by acclamation
    • One-year term (Jason fulfills the remainder of Celeste Labrecque’s three-year term following her retirement)

Employer director elections

  • Brad Bauml, Federated Co-operatives Limited, Saskatoon, SK
    • Elected to the Board by acclamation
    • Three-year term
  • Shannan Corey, Federated Co-operatives Limited, Saskatoon, SK
    • Elected to the Board by acclamation
    • Two-year term (Shannan fulfills the remainder of Randy Boyer’s three-year term following his retirement)


Employee delegates

Back row from left: Jim Huggard (Retired), Rand Smale (Non-contributors), Jason Sentes (1st Choice Savings and Credit Union), Mike Moon (Central Plains Co-op), Greg Sarvis (Riverbend Co-op), Audrey Wilkinson (Concentra), Darren Heide (Access Credit Union), Jason Schenn (Borderland Co-op), Michael McCann (FCL Saskatoon), Jeff Ambrose (Calgary Co-op), Guy Martin (Accent Credit Union), Ron Inkster (Goodsoil Credit Union)

Front row from left: Anthony Zulyniak (FCL Winnipeg), Murray Dehn (Red River Co-op), C.A. Hatlelid (CUDG SK), Carol Rollheiser (Wild Rose Co-op), Mike Gartner (Retired)


​Employer delegates

Back row from left: Barrie Davidson (CUC MB), Patty Gifford (CUC MB), Barry Engele (FCL), Angela Pomazon (FCL), Dave Dyck (FCL), Duane DeRosier (FCL), Ryan Anderson (FCL Board), Randy Graham (FCL Board), Brian Guillemin (Concentra), Terry Wallin (FCL), Al Meyer (CUC SK), Corvyn Neufeld (CUC SK)

Front row from left: Brad Bauml (FCL), Jim Wightman (FCL), Jennifer Stallard (CUC SK), Shannan Corey (FCL), Laurie Munro (CUC AB)


Service awards

Five-year service awards
  • Dave Dyck, employer delegate
  • Rand Smale, employee delegate
  • Alex Hoffman, CSS staff (Programmer Analyst)
10-year service award
  • Al Meyer, employer delegate
20-year service awards
  • Coleen Berge, CSS staff (Pension Plan Consultant)
  • Brent Godson, CSS staff (Investment Manager)

Co-operative Superannuation Society Vice-President Jeff Ambrose (left), President Al Meyer (middle) and the CSS Pension Plan’s Executive Director Martin McInnis (right) stop for a quick photo while presenting Al with his 10-year service award.


Delegate Q&A

The CSS Pension Plan is unique in the pension industry, because we’re democratically governed (by the Co-operative Superannuation Society). This means that through the Society’s delegates, employer and employee members have a voice to help shape our future.

We asked our delegates why they considered becoming a delegate and what the experience has been like. As a Plan member, you too could consider becoming a delegate!


​Darren Heide, Access Credit Union
Employee delegate

Q: You’ve been an employee delegate for four years. What inspired you to take on the role?

A: “I work in HR, and I have a passion for people and seeing them succeed. I love the reputation the CSS Pension Plan has and wanted to make a positive impact. Educating millennials is something that is important to me, and I want to try and help them realize the value of the CSS Pension Plan.”


​Rand Smale
Delegate for inactive members


Q: As our inactive member delegate, you represent over 17,000 CSS members who no longer work for an employer member but still hold funds in the Plan. What made you decide to stay in the CSS Pension Plan, even though you could have moved your money elsewhere?

A: “I left the co-op system in 1999. I looked around and couldn’t find another option that offered the investment choice and management of the CSS Pension Plan. I couldn’t find a better place to put it. I eventually put my name forward to represent the ‘silent’ portion of our membership.”

​Audrey Wilkinson, Concentra
Employee delegate


Q: You are one of our longest-serving delegates with over 13 years experience. What has the experience of being a delegate been like for you?

A: “I really enjoy representing the CSS Pension Plan to my colleagues throughout the co-operative system in Manitoba and am equally proud to represent the voice of Manitoba/Eastern Canada Plan members at the delegate table. Our Plan members hold the CSS in the highest esteem, and it is an honour to be associated with an entity that is so highly respected.”


Article from the spring 2017 issue of TimeWise