Nova Scotia

N.S. MLA pension review launched by Speaker

The new Speaker of the Nova Scotia legislature has initiated an independent review of MLA pensions.
The new Speaker of the Nova Scotia legislature, Gordie Gosse, has announced an independent review of MLA pensions. ((Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press))
The new Speaker of the Nova Scotia legislature has initiated an independent review of MLA pensions.

The review, launched by Gordie Gosse, will be conducted by an independent panel. It's expected to be completed and presented to Gosse in late spring, according to a news release.

"The time is right to review the plan to ensure it provides a pension that's fair for people who leave their careers to enter public service and at the same time recognizes that the province has to consider everything in its effort to live within its means," Gosse said in the news release.

Gosse said he will develop terms of reference for the review, and he will also be encouraging the other parties to submit names of possible candidates to sit on the panel.

"Nova Scotians expect, and I agree, that MLAs from all parties show leadership on the issue," he said. "I look forward to getting the process underway as quickly as possible and to hear the recommendations put forward by the panel in the months to come."

Gosse was declared Speaker of the Nova Scotia legislature earlier this week, a move that was applauded by the opposition parties that called it a chance to improve the tone of debate in the legislature.

The pension plan of MLAs in Nova Scotia has been criticized by many, including the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, for being too generous.

The provincial MLA pension plan allows politicians to begin collecting a pension after six years in office and allows veteran MLAs — those who have worked more than 15 years — to receive up to three-quarters of their salary.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation reviewed the plan and found that for every dollar a politician contributes in Nova Scotia, taxpayers chip in $7. If interest is factored in, the federation says taxpayers chip in closer to $22. In total, MLA pensions cost taxpayers approximately $11 million each year.

Roughly 60 per cent of all Nova Scotia taxpayers do not have access to any kind of pension.

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