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University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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Tuesday, April 11, 2000

  • Early retirement formula is proposed
  • Staff are reminded to vote
  • The talk of the campus
  • And the talk of the nation

Early retirement formula is proposed

How the proposed change would affect people retiring at various ages. At age 65, the pension is 100 per cent of normal level; at age 57, it's reduced to 62 per cent under current rules, but would be 70 per cent under the new formula.
Staff and faculty members who retire before they reach 65 would enjoy somewhat larger pensions under a proposal that's coming to the UW board of governors today from the pension and benefits committee.

Under pressure to introduce some kind of regular early retirement program at UW, the committee is proposing changes in the "actuarial reduction", the percentage cut in the pension of someone who retires before the standard age. The reasoning is that a person who retires early will be getting a pension for longer than someone who works to age 65, so for fairness the pension needs to be lower. Current reductions are 4 per cent per year from age 64 to age 60, then 6 per cent per year from 59 to 55.

Today's proposal would make the reduction zero from age 64 down to 62, then 6 per cent per year from 61 to 55. (See chart above.)

Even with a zero "actuarial reduction", someone who retires at, say, age 63 and receives a full pension would be getting less than if he or she had worked until age 65, for two reasons:

The value of a UW pension, before the actuarial reduction, is calculated by a formula based on (approximately) 2 per cent of "final average earnings" multiplied by the number of years the individual has been in the pension plan. [Pension formula]

The "early retirement enhancement" is expected to cost about $25 million, to be taken from the pension fund surplus. There are different ways of calculating the surplus, but a "conservative estimate" is that the half-billion-dollar fund has $53 million more than it requires, the committee's report says.

Today's board meeting

The board will meet in Needles Hall room 3001, starting at 2:30 p.m. Among other agenda items: a set of "tuition fee guidelines" for future years; the provost's report on government financing and budget prospects; staff salary increases for this year; approval of 2000-01 tuition fee levels; tenders for construction of Mackenzie King Village.
Also at today's board meeting, the P&B committee is recommending creation of a "payroll pension arrangement" that would help compensate high-salary employees for losing pension income because of the so-called Revenue Canada Cap. The Cap is a government limit on the amount of pension anyone can receive from a registered pension plan; it means that people who retire with income greater than about $97,000 a year have been paying for pension they aren't allowed to receive.

The committee's solution: "The additional amount required will have to be paid from the operating fund as a payroll pension. For tax deductibility, member contributions will continue to go into the Pension Plan. However, a portion of the University's contributions will be held in a Payroll Pension account outside the Pension Plan to pay the employer share of the extra pension amounts."

Staff are reminded to vote

Staff members have until Friday to get their votes in, as they choose among three candidates to represent them on the board of governors. "This is a reminder to those of you who have not yet voted to do so now," said an e-mail memo from the university secretariat yesterday:
First, have your employee number (6-digit 'Employee ID' on pay slip; last 6 of the 10-digit number on benefits card) at hand; this number will be needed to obtain a UWdir userid and password. The password you normally use to log onto your account or Eudora cannot be used.

The easiest way to 'get to' the ballot and review the candidates' statement is to click on the URL (link) printed below. Read the instructions carefully to go through steps 1, 2 and 3, and have patience when loading the certificate (which is for security purposes and is a one-time procedure).

After you cast the ballot, you will see a 'dialogue' box. It will ask for password and NAME; in this instance, 'name' is your userid. If you receive an 'unsuccessful' message, it will be because you entered your name instead of userid.

Anyone who has questions, problems, or who needs assistance is asked to contact Tracy Dietrich (ext 6125; mail to tdietric@secretariat.uwaterloo.ca).

All eligible full-time staff members are encouraged to vote . . . between now and 3:00 p.m. on Friday, April 14.

The talk of the campus

The senate finance committee meets this morning (9:30, Needles Hall room 3001) to get to grips with UW's 2000-01 budget. "Although the proposed budget is nearly in balance," provost Jim Kalbfleisch writes in a memo to the committee, "there are still uncertainties. . . . A budget update will be prepared prior to the Board of Governors meeting in October, and it is still possible that a budget cut may be needed at that time. I am more worried about the budget outlook for 2001-02 and beyond. We rely on a reduction of $6.3 million in pension contributions that cannot continue indefinitely." He's looking for total spending of $207.7 million in the fiscal year that begins May 1.

Faculty members are voting this week on a proposed Article 13 in the Memorandum of Agreement between the university and the faculty association -- a new set of rules on how professors' salaries are calculated. Originally, Article 13 was just supposed to be about performance evaluations, but negotiations were broadened largely at management's request, says Fred McCourt, outgoing president of the faculty association, in this month's Forum newsletter. "They did this," he writes, "partly because of their concern over the effect of the second breakpoint in the current salary structure, which tends to place too strong a damper on the salaries of senior faculty members, making them uncompetitive with those at other Ontario universities."

Work is continuing in the Math and Computer building, as some 111 computers that once inhabited the Red Room, and have been in temporary quarters for almost a year, are moved into the new central machine room. The department of information systems and technology has a web page with daily updates on which machines are likely to be out of service for a few minutes or hours. And it provides a lovely reminder of the names that some of UW's central computers enjoy -- not just watserv1, mc1adm, admmail and other such prosaic things, but bert, bosun, buzzard, hero, magpie, peacock and pinkie.

There have been problems with dogs on the north campus, the joint health and safety committee was told at a recent meeting. "Approximately 35 owners daily drop off their dog and let them run loose," the minutes note. "Dogs have been approaching staff or have entered the Greenhouse, startling staff. . . . Someone might get bitten. Another issue is that the owners are not scooping up after their dog." There's a UW policy against animals running loose, and there's a city by-law that says "no owner of a dog shall allow the dog to run at large." With that backing, UW police may start issuing warnings, then tickets under the bylaw.

[Green crayon] It must have something to do with exam stress: I see that the food services department is running a colouring contest at the Mudie's (Village I) and Ron Eydt Village cafeterias. "Win a stuffed animal or a chocolate Easter bunny," a poster invites those with crayon skills.

Finally, a note about something tomorrow: the Employee Assistance Program presents an afternoon session, 1:30 to 4:00, by Stephen Hotz of the University of Ottawa, on "Coping with Migraines: Tapping into Your Personal Power". "This presentation," says the flyer, "will enable participants to achieve a helpful understanding of migraine-related disability and appreciate the power (and pitfalls) of personal coping strategies. The aim of the workshop is to encourage migraine sufferers (or their significant others) to cope better with the limitations on functioning imposed by headache." Registration forms were distributed to staff and faculty recently, and Johan Reis of health services says there's room for some last-minute additions (phone him at ext. 5418 to sign up).

And the talk of the nation

A public statement by the chief executives of two dozen Canadian high-technology companies, supporting the value of arts and science education in universities, is the latest contribution to public discussion about whether too much emphasis is being put on technological training.

"Funding of higher education in this country needn't be an either/or proposition between technology or liberal arts and sciences," says the statement, signed by the heads of such firms as Sun, BCE, Xerox and Compaq.

National coverage

  • Globe and Mail
  • National Post
  • "As leaders of some of Canada's growing high-technology companies, we have first-hand knowledge of the necessity for a balanced approach. Yes, this country needs more technology graduates, as they fuel the digital economy. But it is impossible to operate an effective corporation in our new economy by employing technology graduates alone. We have an equally strong need for those with a broader background who can work in tandem with technical specialists, helping create and manage the corporate environment."

    The statement, issued Friday, goes on to say that "A liberal arts and science education nurtures skills and talents increasingly valued by modern corporations. Our companies function in a state of constant flux. To prosper we need creative thinkers at all levels of the enterprise who are comfortable dealing with decisions in the bigger context. They must be able to communicate -- to reason, create, write and speak -- for shared purposes: For hiring, training, managing, marketing, and policy-making. In short, they provide leadership.

    "For example, many of our technology workers began their higher education in the humanities, and they are clearly the stronger for it. This was time well spent, not squandered. They have increased their value to our companies, our economy, our culture, and themselves, by acquiring the level of cultural and civic literacy that the humanities offer."

    Another statement of interest came yesterday from the Canadian Association of University Business Officers, which said universities across the country need some $3.6 billion worth of "deferred maintenance" to their buildings. Elevators get stuck, concrete cracks, ceilings are falling in and pipes leak, said the CAUBO study.

    The University of Toronto alone says it has $200 million in repairs that should be done but can't be afforded.

    UW may be unique in having no deferred maintenance worth mentioning, says provost Jim Kalbfleisch. It's a tradition here to make maintenance a priority. The result, said Kalbfleisch: "The roofs don't leak, the bricks aren't falling off." But, he added, with a bit more money it would certainly be possible to make buildings and the systems in them, such as wiring and ventilation, more up-to-date and cost effective.

    In Toronto today: "Teaching, Learning and Research in Today's University" is a conference to be held today and tomorrow, mostly in the University of Toronto's Convocation Hall. The conference will hear from speakers on topics such as "Enabling Higher Education Through Technology" and "Hypermedia Programs to Enhance Independent Learning". (Meanwhile, a report has just been issued by a Council of Ontario Universities task force on learning technologies, chaired by UW president David Johnston. Watch for news soon on what that report, "A Time to Sow", contains.)


    Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
    Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
    credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
    http://www.bulletin.uwaterloo.ca | Yesterday's Bulletin
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