The plan changes and the additional funding — in either proposalA or B — would preserve the long-term health of the plan forteachers and stabilize pension costs for tax payers. Bothproposals require the government to add about $142 million to theplan to match the value of the indexing given up by teachers. Changes to plan governance are also recommended in each case.Instead of the minister of finance as the plan’s sole trustee,responsibility would shift to a new board of trustees on April 1,2006. As per the previous proposal, the pension plan changes would notaffect retired teachers who are currently receiving pensions.Teachers who retire before July 31, 2006, may choose to havetheir pensions paid under existing rules or the new rules. Teachers will cast their votes on Wednesday, March 9, with anadvance poll to take place on Tuesday, March 8. Nova Scotia teachers will choose between two revised proposals tostrengthen their pension plan in a vote scheduled for earlyMarch, the Nova Scotia Teachers Union and the government of NovaScotia announced today, Feb. 15. The Nova Scotia teachers’ pension partners board has developedtwo funding alternatives for the pension plan to address someconcerns raised by teachers and school boards about proposedpension changes. Those changes were narrowly voted down byteachers on Feb. 1. “Everyone understands that the teachers’ pension plan must beproperly funded,” said Finance Minister Peter Christie.”Government and the teachers agreed in 1993 to share thechallenge of a significant funding shortfall, and we continue towork jointly on a solution.” Proposal A has the same provisions as the Feb. 1 proposal,including a $142-million cash contribution from the province andvariable indexing tied to the level of the plan’s funding.However, the date by which teachers can retire under the currentpension rules is extended to July 31, 2006, to alleviate concernsabout teachers retiring part-way through the school year. Proposal B allows for more predictable indexing provisions thanProposal A. Both teachers and government will increase theirpension contributions by two per cent, effective Aug. 1, 2005, topay for indexing at 50 per cent of CPI, regardless of the planfunding level. Proposal B also gives teachers the option toretire under the current plan rules until July 31, 2006. “Teachers will be asked to choose from one of the two newproposals, as the status quo is not an option,” said Mary LouDonnelly,” president of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union. “Thelonger the pension plan remains underfunded, the harder it willbe to make up the shortfall. We feel strongly that we needed torevisit this issue right away.” Government and the Nova Scotia Teachers Union agreed to meetvarious targets for the pension plan when it was restructured in Although the funding level had reached 81 per cent by 2003, the large number of retiring teachers and other factors were expected to cause the level to decline to less than 60 per cent by 2033, and even more rapidly after that.
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TORONTO — The price of oil has settled above US$50 a barrel for the first time in nearly a year.The July benchmark contract for West Texas Intermediate crude closed Tuesday at US$50.36, an increase of 67 cents from the previous day.That’s the first time oil has settled above the US$50 mark since last July.TSX extends 9-month high as energy stocks rise with oilMore investors are putting money in the oilpatch as oil and gas equity financings spike in first quarter“$50 is a big psychological hurdle for crude oil, and it’s one that it’s been bumping up against for a couple of weeks now,” said Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at CMC Markets Canada.“To see it break through is very encouraging and suggests that there is enough support to keep carrying crude oil higher.”In February, oil settled as low as US$26.21 a barrel.“It’s a pretty spectacular move in a fairly relatively short period of time,” Cieszynski said.Canada’s economy has been hit hard by a rapid and deep decline in global oil prices that began in late 2014.Crude prices have gradually risen in recent weeks due to several factors, including the wildfires in Fort McMurray, Alta., which at one point may have taken out as much as half of Canada’s total oilsands production, according to some estimates. Those operations have gradually started to come back online.Militant attacks on pipeline infrastructure in Nigeria have also caused supply disruptions in the oil-producing country.