Follow-Up: Combination Pension Plan and Money Purchase Pension Plan AGM

A message from Dr. Michael Miller, Chair, Pension Board of Trustees 

Thank you to all members who registered for and attended the Annual General Meeting of the Combination Pension Plan (CPP) and Money Purchase Pension Plan (MPP) on July 6, 2022.

As Board Chair, I would like to address some of the major themes that arose at the meeting; and also, to follow up on some of the commitments I made on behalf of the Board of Trustees.

First and foremost, I wish to emphasize that a pension is an employment benefit and that plan membership – that is, the determination of which employees belong to which pension plan – is determined by the university as the employer. It is not in the purview of the Board of Trustees to determine which groups belong to which plan, nor would it be appropriate for the Board of Trustees to advocate on behalf of any group’s involvement in either of the plans.

What is within the Board of Trustees’ realm is the logistics for meetings such as the Annual General Meeting (AGM). Last week’s meeting demonstrated that there is a lack of clarity in the processes and policies governing the AGM as a meeting of the members. Traditionally, the AGM of the CPP and MPP has been an informative session wherein the Board reports to the members on plan performance and addresses questions that arise from that presentation. Clearly there is a need to also provide a platform and process for discussion. We will work to rectify this gap in policies and procedures, with a mind to ensuring fair process for all. We recognize that our fiduciary responsibility extends to hearing the members of the plans, and to providing due process for your voices to be heard.

This, and other Board policies and procedures, will be examined and evaluated during the governance review that the Board identified as a priority coming into 2022. This board governance review is an internal process undertaken with the oversight and guidance of a third-party versed in governance and administration of pension plans. As a result, it is not an open process in which specific bargaining groups will be invited to participate. However, as I committed to you at the meeting last week, the Board of Trustees will work with the firm conducting this review to consider how best to consult throughout the university.

As I explained in the course of the meeting, one major piece of policy and process that will be examined within the governance review is the composition of the Board of Trustees. Currently, the Trust Agreements specify that members of the CPP are eligible for the four elected Trustee positions, with members of the CPP voting for those positions. We have heard your requests to reconsider this practice, and we will do so as a function of the governance review. This review is not likely to be completed before the end of the year, and as a result, the upcoming election of trustees to the Board this fall will be carried out following existing process.

The Money Purchase Pension Plan, like the Combination Pension Plan, has multiple employment groups represented within it. Board Trustees are not representatives of any one group, or constituency. The Trustees who comprise the Pension Board are a group of dedicated volunteers who work diligently in the best interest of Plan members, regardless of their relationship to the university and regardless of their employment status. Each Trustee takes to heart the fiduciary responsibility they have to all Plan members in order to ensure the longevity, financial viability and stability of these Plans.

As I committed to members at the AGM, the Board of Trustees will discuss the content of the resolution that was brought forward at the meeting at the earliest possible meeting date, which will be no sooner than the end of September.

Pension plans are complex. I encourage all CPP and MPP Plan members to familiarize themselves with their pension plan(s) through the material available here on the Pensions website. If you have specific questions about your pension entitlements or benefits, I encourage you to bring those directly to the Pension Services team.

Finally, I would say that as a result of the AGM, the point has been made to myself and the other members of the Pension Board of Trustees that the role, function and responsibilities of the Pension Board can and should be better communicated to Plan members – in order to facilitate a stronger understanding of our roles and our fiduciary responsibilities and commitments to all Plan members. We will be striving to better communicate this to you in the future.

For the benefit of all Plan members who would like to see the presentation of the plans’ performance and updates from the 2021 year, the slides from the AGM and a recording of the meeting will be available at within the coming week.


D. Michael Miller
Chair, Pension Board of Trustees
University of Victoria