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Pension Ponzi: How Public Sector Unions are Bankrupting Canada's Health Care, Education and Your Retirement



Once upon a time, working in the public sector in Canada meant that in exchange for a lesser salary, one would enjoy additional job security and a reasonable pension upon retirement—fair and just rewards for a life in public service. But somewhere along the way, the 20% of Canadians belonging to public sector unions managed to negotiate bulletproof job security, salaries that far outstrip anything comparable in the private sector, and incredibly generous pensions. The net effect? The way things are set up, many public sector workers will collect more income in retirement than they earned during their working careers.

And the 80% of taxpayers who don't belong to a public sector union—most of whom have no true pension at all—get the privilege of paying for it all. Nearly every one of those public sector union pension plans is underfunded to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars, and taxpayers are legally on the hook to make up the difference, as well as any investment losses, until death do us part. How is that fair to anyone?

This book will open your eyes to one of the greatest legal asset re-allocations in the history of the world. Some call it pension envy, some call it pension apartheid. We call it a Pension Ponzi plan, an unsustainable funneling of money from one group of Canadians to another. Canadians are being bilked out of their hard-earned money and cheated of secure retirements in order to gold-plate the pensions of those who have engineered the system in their favour.

Pension expert Bill Tufts and journalist Lee Fairbanks investigate the history, the present situation and the future repercussions of a system out of control.

Bill Tufts has been helping companies with their employee pension plans for 15 years and is one of Canada's leading experts on public sector pension reform. He speaks regularly on pension matters and has consulted for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. He was a participant of the Ontario Government Round Table on Retirement Security and testified at the House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources. Bill is regularly interviewed by the Globe and Mail, CBC, Toronto Star, Hamilton Spectator, Montreal Gazette and the Wall Street Journal.

Lee Fairbanks began his writing career with the Globe and Mail, first achieving notoriety by exposing the source of the bullets that killed Canadian peacekeepers in Cyprus in 1974. In 1980 he received the Walter Brebner Award for Best Editorial in Ontario as Editor of the Milton Tribune, for an editorial about ethics in journalism. He is an award-winning playwright and the author of seven plays and Keep Canada Slim, a book on healthy weight loss.

Foreword v

Introduction 1

Chapter 1: The Elephant in the Room 13

Chapter 2: The Devil is in the Details 31

Chapter 3: The Role of the Unions 47

Chapter 4: Politicians and Bureaucrats at the Trough 69

Chapter 5: Ontario Hydro: Power to the People 85

Chapter 6: Education: The New Sacred Cow 101

Chapter 7: Police Pensions 115

Chapter 8: How Much Do You Really Owe? 131

Chapter 9: A Ten-Step Plan for Pension Reform 145

Chapter 10: Steering the Titanic 157

Endnotes 177

Index 199