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Ad hoc pension increases put on hold in 2017

In November, the CSS Board of Directors suspended its ad hoc pension program for 2017 on the advice of the Plan’s actuarial consultant, AON Hewitt. CSS pensions are normally considered for ad hoc increases on their ninth, fifteenth and twentieth anniversaries.
As explained in the fall edition of our TimeWise magazine, falling interest rates and rising life expectancies have resulted in much lower ad hoc adjustments since 2007.

​In 2016, increases were only 0.45% for pensions reaching their ninth anniversary, 0.30% for pensions reaching their fifteenth anniversary and 0.25% for pensions reaching their twentieth anniversary. This would produce a total increase of 1% over 20 years. In 2016 dollars, the increase on a $500 monthly pension would therefore be $5 per month. If the program had continued in 2017, 575 pensions would have been considered for ad hoc adjustments averaging about $2.30 per month.

Pension program review

Based on computer modelling and a preliminary update to the Plan’s ongoing mortality study, the Board also approved a recommendation by AON and Plan management to conduct a detailed mortality study as the initial step in a review of the Plan’s fixed pension program. The objective of this review will be to determine whether any changes should be made to our pension program on a “go forward” basis.

As this review gets underway, members are reminded that the Pensions Fund has an estimated going concern surplus of more than 10%. Nevertheless the Board feels it prudent to consider whether changes to protect the security of new CSS pensions might be advisable.  

We will continue to keep the membership updated on the status of this review process, including any changes recommended to the fixed pension program.