Ryerson not alone in surplus quandary

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By Caroline Alphonso

Ryerson’s administration and employees are not alone in trying to find ways to spend their $54.5 million surplus.

The University of Ottawa has a $200 million excess surplus sitting in its pension plan fund. Its pension committee has been meeting for about a year and a half trying to decide how to use the money.

These funds are above the surplus cap allowed in the Income Tax Act of 1992.

Robert Beachesne, manager of pension and benefits at the University of Ottawa, said the committee has made recommendations to the schools’ board of governors which include an increase in employee benefits for past and future services, taking a contribution holiday, and cash distribution.

The university’s pension committee now awaits the board’s decision which is expected in March.

Meanwhile, Ryerson’s pension committee, made up of administration, staff and faculty have reached an agreement in principle on how to use its extra money.

But all the school can do now is wait for its employees to get back to them with amendments to the proposal which states a portion of the excess surplus from the employers’ and employees’ would be put toward increasing pension benefits. Employees would have to decide what to do with the remaining funds.

As for the administration, approval of this proposal would mean the school would stop paying into the pension plan for up to five years and thus free up $4.6 million a year.

While the administration waits, the board of governors approved a motion this past Monday to extend the reduction in pension contributions to no alter than May, 1999. To help balance the excess surplus, employee contributions were dropped 1.5 per cent in July, 1996.

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