FREDERICTION (CNB) – The provincial government has launched a review to ensure that public sector pension plans are affordable, sustainable and have secure benefits.

Finance Minister Blaine Higgs announced the review today.

"As a government we need to ensure that public-sector pension plans are managed as efficiently and transparently as possible and are reasonable for both the public service employees and New Brunswick taxpayers," said Higgs. "This review will include consultation with the public, including employees, contributing employers, union representatives and pensioners. The objective is to ensure the long-term financial viability of the plans and also to ensure we are following the best possible governance and management practices."   

Among the issues to be considered during the review are:

●    the differences between provincial public service pension benefits and retirement provisions and those offered by private sector employers, in the context of overall employee compensation;
●    the needs of the provincial public service to recruit and retain qualified employees with consideration given to competing employers;
●    the need to ensure that future pension benefits are reasonable throughout the public service; and
●    how risk should be shared between the government and employees.

The review will be completed by the task force which is currently examining private sector pensions for the Department of Justice and Consumer Affairs.

"The fact that these experts have already been studying various pension plans and regulations in a New Brunswick context means they have already accumulated significant information and established key relationships with stakeholders," said Higgs. "This will allow them to conduct this review more efficiently than a newly appointed group. Ultimately, this will mean savings for the taxpayers, which is important in a time of fiscal restraint."

While no date has been set for the conclusion of the review, the provincial government has committed to completing the review as quickly as possible. Progress updates will be provided as the information becomes available.

Anyone wishing to send questions or comments to the task force are invited to do so at

Biographies of task force members

Susan Rowland

A graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School, Rowland has focused her career on pension and benefits law, with particular expertise in the restructuring and funding of pension plans. Appointed as representative counsel by the Superintendent of Financial institutions for Ontario, she has assisted in resolving the under-funding of several high-profile pension plans, including: Algoma Steel, Ivaco Inc., General Motors of Canada and Chrysler Inc. Rowland has published numerous papers in professional journals and has been frequently invited to speak before groups interested in pension and insolvency issues.   

Paul McCrossan

Throughout his career as a consultant and actuary, McCrossan has held various positions with the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, the Society of Actuaries and the International Actuarial Association. He has written and lectured extensively on the topic of finances and pensions. Serving twice as a Member of Parliament, he was involved in the reform of a number of key pieces of pension-related legislation, including the Pension Benefits Standards Act and the Canada Pension Plan Act.  

Pierre-Marcel Desjardins

Desjardins has a PhD in economics and has been teaching economics at the Université de Moncton since 1990. He is also researcher at that Canadian Institute for Research on Public Policy and Public Administration. He is vice-president of the Fédération des caisses populaires acadiennes, the executive director of the Canadian Regional Science Association, a member of the board of directors of the Caisse populaire Kent-Sud, and a member of the advisory committee for the Sainte-Marie-de-Kent local service district.