Wednesday, October 28

Retirement plans | Police demand 5 million from the City

The organization that manages the Montreal police retirement plan is turning to the courts. He is demanding no less than 5 million from the City, arguing that it has failed in its duties by failing to pay employer contributions to a pension fund.

Henri Ouellette-Vézina
Henri Ouellette-Vézina

In an introductory judgment filed a few days ago in Superior Court, that Press obtained, the Association de bienfaisance et de retirement des policemen (ABR) affirms that the City “granted itself, as it saw fit, without rights and in violation of its contractual obligations, an additional contribution holiday totaling 5,820,114, $ 31 ”.

Between the months of May and June 2019, the municipal administration would have “failed” to pay contributions on three occasions, according to the grouping. The latter said he had notified the City, in May 2019, that it “had to end the period of contribution holiday” totaling $ 83,661,000 under an agreement signed between the two parties in 2017.

Assistant to the Director of Labor Relations of Montreal, Me Jean Rochette would then have replied in a letter that the city-center “would not pay any contribution” before the exhaustion of these 5 million dollars “in the form of an additional contribution holiday”.

However, the ABR maintains that this position is “contrary to the agreement”, and says that it has no other choice but “to require the City to pay as soon as possible” the sums due to its members. . Joined by The Press, the Fraternité des police de Montréal, which is only “implicated” by the legal proceedings, says it will not comment. Same story on the side of the City and the ABR, who both say they want to respect the independence of the courts and the “judicial file” in progress.

First “political” question

Expert in metropolitan and municipal management at UQAM, Professor Danielle Pilette recalls that the stakes in this dispute are “very political”, in the sense that the debate stems above all from the An Act to promote the financial health and sustainability of defined benefit pension plans in the municipal sector, in force since 2014.

“At the time this law was adopted, the pension plan for Montreal police officers was not in deficit. What had been pleaded was that it was not a municipal regime, and that it was therefore not concerned, ”underlines the specialist.

She recalls that in 2017, the law was amended to cover Montreal police officers. “The City pleads that it paid contributions in advance, and it therefore wants a leave. It is also a form of pressure to show solidarity with other municipalities and pension plans which are in a worse financial situation ”, adds Mme Pilette.

However, it is categorical: Montreal has every interest in settling this conflict amicably during the summer of 2021, before the next election. “I expect this to be done before the municipal elections, a bit like Denis Coderre had done for collective agreements a few years ago,” illustrates the professor. “Your police officers can make you look very bad, and can do quite significant political damage. It is one of the trademarks of a city, which has no interest in generating social conflicts, ”she concludes.

– With Louis-Samuel Perron, Press

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