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

The number of new COVID-19 cases has risen sharply in Vancouver and the Fraser North region over the last week.
Chart: Tyler Olsen
CHARTS: Weekly COVID-19 case double in Fraser North health area, up 50% in Vancouver

The number of new COVID-19 cases has risen sharply in Vancouver and the Fraser North region.

Kristjon Olson in a photo released by Surrey RCMP.
High-risk offender back in custody facing child-porn charges, Surrey Mounties say

News of Kristjon Otto Olson’s arrest is posted to Surrey RCMP’s website

BC Hockey League commissioner Chris Hebb says the league is still on track to begin regular-season play in early December. (BCHL photo)
BCHL still on track to begin regular season in December

Commish hopeful that league can “slide right into the regular season” after successful preseason

A overview concept drawing of the Central District and its City Plaza, Gateway and Kennedy Heights neighbourhoods included in the Mayor’s Housing Task Force for Scott Road report. (City of Delta photo)
Walkable mixed-use neighbourhoods focus of task force’s vision for Scott Road

Report by Mayor’s Housing Task Force for Scott Road was presented to Delta council on Monday

tease photo
Food truck desserts from Prague ‘pop up’ at Surrey shopping mall

The Praguery offers a modern take on a traditional pastry

Sooke’s Paul Larouche enjoys gold panning along the Sooke River, looking for small treasures. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Island man finds niche audience by gold-panning on YouTube

Paul Larouche, 29, with over 215,000 subscribers, opens up about his journey

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

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 Excelsior 4 are set to make their second court appearance in Abbotsford on Monday (Nov. 2). (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
‘Excelsior 4’: Animal activists set to enter not guilty plea in Abbotsford hog farm case

Animal rights activists expected to plead not guilty to charges, protest for Vancouver scheduled

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Dennis Cholowski shows off a Jordan 2 Retro Just Don Blue sneaker, the type of shoe only a true sneakerhead would appreciate. (Facebook photo)
VIDEO: Chilliwack Chiefs alum Dennis Cholowski shows off ‘sneakerhead’ collection

The Detroit Red Wing has been spending his NHL paycheques building up an impressive closet of shoes

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Maestro Otto Tausk. (Photo: vancouversymphony.ca)
50/50 lotto players buck up for Metro Vancouver musicians hit hard by COVID

‘Rapidly growing jackpot’ for VSO’s 50/50 draw as they go online with TheConcertHall.ca

Most Read