SaskTel pension worries raised in light of possible privatization

The Saskatchewan New Democrats are talking about how any privatization of SaskTel could affect pensioners with the Crown-owned telecommunications company.

Minister responsible for Crown corporation says 'pension is secure'

The government of Saskatchewan owns SaskTel, a phone company and Internet provider. (Neil Cochrane/CBC)

The Saskatchewan New Democrats are talking about how the possible privatization of SaskTel could affect pensioners with the Crown-owned telecommunications company.

The NDP has accepted a petition from members of the SaskTel defined benefit pension plan and their supporters.

It calls on the government to provide the appropriate funding to the plan in the event SaskTel is sold off or if SaskTel can't afford to cover its obligations.

"There are so many reasons that it's irresponsible for the Sask. Party to try selling off such a valuable Crown," NDP SaskTel critic Warren McCall said in a news release. "Not the least of which is that it will put more jobs and pensions at risk and many more Saskatchewan families in a difficult reality."

The minister responsible for SaskTel, Dustin Duncan, told reporters on Wednesday that "any talk of the future ownership of SaskTel is really speculation at this point; it's a hypothetical."

Duncan said there aren't any offers on the table for the sale of SaskTel, and the government is not actively seeking offers either. 

Duncan added that if there ever was a decision to change ownership of SaskTel, the issue of pensions would be addressed in advance.

"As much as I can, I want to give assurance to pensioners of SaskTel that the pension is secure ... and I don't see that changing into the future."