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Ryerson creates voluntary retirement program in response to budget cut

By Sherina Harris

Ryerson University is introducing a one-time voluntary retirement program as part of its measures to combat a 5.3 per cent reduction in its operating budget.

In January, the provincial government announced they would cut domestic student tuition by 10 per cent for the 2019-20 school year. Ryerson will lose approximately $29 million for the upcoming year.

Employees who are full-time career CUPE 233, OPSEU, MAC or senior administration members eligible for an unreduced pension and who have a minimum of 10 years of pensionable service at Ryerson can partake in the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program.

The employees who choose to retire early will receive a lump sum retirement incentive of six months plus one week’s pay per year of service as well as benefits-related incentives, according to a message sent to employees who are members of CUPE 233, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, MAC and senior administrators on April 12.

Eligible union employees were notified on April 15, and can submit their application to HR by the end of May.

Applications are subject to the university’s approval. Employees whose applications are accepted will retire between August 31 and December 31.

“We believe that this can be a great opportunity for eligible members,” João Soares, president of CUPE 233, said in a statement to The Eye. “As per our collective agreement Ryerson University agrees to maintain the complement of our full-time career positions.”

The 2019 provincial budget specifically mentions faculty retirement age, noting that it “has cost implications” because older employees tend to have the highest salary and benefits and may be drawing salary and pension payments simultaneously.

To address this, the provincial government is proposing to introduce amendments to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act that “could help achieve a more sustainable postsecondary sector and employee renewal,” according to the 2019 provincial budget.

The ministry “will consult with the sector on how best to achieve these outcomes.”

Professors who are members of the Ryerson Faculty Association (RFA) had a voluntary retirement program that ended in early April, according to RFA president Ron Babin.

This post has been updated with a comment from RFA president Ron Babin.

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