An example of a Surrey Police cruiser, showcased at Mayor Doug McCallum’s State of the City Address at Civic Hotel on May 7. (Photo: Amy Reid)

An example of a Surrey Police cruiser, showcased at Mayor Doug McCallum’s State of the City Address at Civic Hotel on May 7. (Photo: Amy Reid)

City of Surrey says pension benefits ‘guaranteed’ for police recruits

A National Police Federation representative says it may not be enough incentive

The City of Surrey says it now has a “guaranteed” Group 5 pension benefits for police recruits.

That means Surrey police officers, if the transition is approved, will qualify for the same pension benefits that exist in other municipal departments,” according to the city.

However, a National Police Federation representative says that may not be enough to incentivize all officers who may be considering a transfer.

The Municipal Pension Plan (MPP) board of trustees approved the city’s application for Group 5 pension benefits on Nov. 20, according to a release Thursday (Dec. 12).

“Members in Group 5 have higher benefit accrual rate allowing their pension benefit to accumulate faster which provides for earlier retirement options for police officers than those in other MPP group plans,” the release states. “This decision also provides RCMP members with assurance they will receive full pension benefits provided to all Group 5 member police departments.”

According to the release, this builds on the approved pension transfer agreement for the current members of the RCMP announced in September.

However, National Police Federation co-director Brian Sauvé said that while it’s “good” that a defined benefit plan has been established, he said recruitment would still depend on each individual member’s financial situation.

“If you’re going to be attracting police officers from an existing municipal force in B.C., like New West or West Vancouver or Delta or Nelson or Port Moody, or even Vancouver, then for them it’s an easier calculation,” Sauvé said.

But Sauvé said, “you really get into the weeds on the accounting side.

“I do know if it’s the Vancouver model, their one year of service for them is greater in pension value than one year of service for us (RCMP),” Sauvé said.

In Vancouver, he said, officers contribute more while they serve.

“That’s one stark difference between the RCMP and Vancouver is the high contribution rates by the employees,” Sauvé said.

“As a member of the RCMP with 20 years of RCMP service, that does not equal 20 years of Vancouver’s service because I have not contributed enough to the RCMP pension to equal what a 20-year member of Vancouver would have contributed to their pension.”

Sauvé said a 10-year member of the RCMP might have $300,000 in pension, but a 10-year Vancouver Police Department member might have $450,000 in their pension plan.

“So for me to go over to Vancouver and maintain my 10 years of service, I would actually have to make up that shortfall of $150,000,” he said.

Sauvé said Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum has said officers can transfer their pension “dollar-for-dollar, which is not quite accurate.”

“Every individual member from any police service, or from the RCMP, that wants to go to a different police service or from a different police service who wants to come to the RCMP, has to have an individualized transfer agreement calculated to determine what dollar value equals what dollar value.”

READ ALSO: Surrey RCMP pensions will be transferable to new police force, city says, Sept. 4, 2019

Sauvé said if there’s a junior member with fewer than five years of service “that is not heavily vested in their RCMP pension plan, then the buy-in to the municipal plan might be a smaller dollar value.”

“It might be $40 to $45 to $50,000. And the ability to only do 30 years versus 35 years, that might make them say, ‘Yeah, that’s probably worthwhile and I can take out a line of credit or add onto my mortgage and I can pay back the extra money for the future benefit,” he said.

“But if you have a 20-year member, who’s looking at a $200,000-hit to move over to municipal… I don’t know if they can afford that.”

A City of Surrey release says the full pension portability for RCMP members, combined with the Group 5 approval, “means that the two most important pension issues for future members of Surrey Police have now been addressed.”

Asked what the other issues are, a city spokesperson said in an emailed statement that “in terms of pension matters, these two items are the most important pension issues and they are now both addressed.”



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

South Surrey’s Historic Stewart Farm. (City of Surrey photo)
City receives $400K grant to build Indigenous Carving Centre in South Surrey

Construction of showcase venue to be completed mid-2022

Snowfall warnings Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 for parts of the Fraser Valley and Fraser Canyon. (Jennifer Feinberg/The Chilliwack Progress)
Winter storm warnings Thursday for Fraser Valley and Fraser Canyon

Snow is expected to become heavier as day progresses with snowfall amounts of up to 30 centimetres

Longtime basketball coach Allison McNeill is worried that the COVID-19 pandemic will adversely affect high-school athletes with university athletic aspirations. (Garrett James/Langley Events Centre photo)
COVID-19: Young athletes scrambling for scholarships, opportunities amid pandemic

‘They lost their whole Grade 12 year’ says Semiahmoo basketball coach Allison McNeill

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
White Rock woman among dozens in Lower Mainland to benefit from Elder Dog program

Dog-care organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but requires more clients to serve

Travis Selje with Rex, the family dog he got to enjoy for the final six months of his life. (Submitted photo)
Defence says evidence ‘compelling, overwhelming’ to acquit Surrey woman in deadly crash

Epileptic seizure caused fatal crash that killed Travis Selje, lawyer argues in final submissions

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

A woman boards a transit bus through rear doors, in Vancouver, on Friday, March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
TransLink slow to reveal crucial details about ransomware attack, says union

Union says company took months to admit what info was stolen, including SIN and bank account details

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

Most Read