Pensions. For some of us they seem like a luxury of a bygone era.
And while not all of us have one, it might surprise some of you to learn that others have two.
More troubling? It’s all taxpayer money.
The latest to take advantage of the opportunity? Vancouver Police Deptuy Cheif Doug LePard who has “retired” from the force, only to take a new job as the chief of the Transit Police.
Along with his VPD pension, he’ll now start building up a second pension with the Transit police – and while it’s a different job, it’s still in the public service.
That’s something that bothers Jordan Bateman, BC Director of the Canadian Taxpayers federation.
“It’s a double dip. If someone leaves the Canucks this summer and signs as a free agent with another team, Henrik and Daniel Sedin are not going to Tweet out ‘Congratulations on your retirement, Radim Vrbata, and good luck with the New York Rangers…’ When you take another job, it’s not a retirement. It’s only a retirement in the public service because then you can collect your pension along with the new salary.”
But Bateman says this isn’t about singling out LePard; what he’s doing is both legal – and done pretty much every day by police, firefighters, and public servants of plenty of other backgrounds.
Like Gordon Campbell who’s collecting his MLA pension while being paid a generous salary as Canada’s high commissioner to England. Or Jenny Kwan, who’s entitled to her MLA pension but is now building up an MP pension too.
“Lots of these examples abound – whatever your political stripe is you can find someone who’s been doing this double dipping.”
Bateman says in the case of police and firefighters, it’s because the services only require about 25 years to qualify for a pension, so it’s easy to cash out and find new work – sometimes for the same municipality.
He says there needs to be a public debate about whether it’s appropriate for someone to collect two pensions when in both cases the money comes from the public purse.
And he says if the government is happy to push the age of retirement for the CPP back a few years – from 65-67 – perhaps it’s time to consider the same for pensions in the public service.