Meeting date: Monday, November 14th, 2016 12:00 pm
Next meeting: Tuesday, November 15th, 2016 12:29 pm
Monday, Nov. 14, 12pm – 1pm
BBY: Halpern room 126, SUR: 3595, VAN: Harbour Centre, room 1520
1. Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 12:06pm. Quorum was achieved, with 57 members in attendance (including Burnaby, Surrey and Vancouver campuses).
2. Approval of Agenda
Approval of agenda was called.
Richard Blackwell moved
David Agosti seconded
The motion was carried.
3. Approval of the 2015 AGM Minutes
Approval of the 2015 AGM minutes was called.
Shelley Gair moved
Neal Baldwin seconded
The motion was carried.
4. President's Report
Wanda Dekleva introduced herself as President. She stepped into the role mid way through the year after the previous President, Craigh Changfoot, left the University. In January, the Board will choose the President, Vice President and Treasurer from among themselves. They will follow the new Bylaws, which were approved at last year's AGM.
Dekleva reported that this year has seen a lot of change. Last year, APSA was struggling with the University Administration; hitting roadblocks at many of our joint tables and found HR to be confrontational and difficult to work with.
However, the University Administration recently underwent staffing changes. Since then, there's been a shift towards collaboration.
- Two important policy issues regarding vacation and conference travel and tuition reimbursement were solved, in our favour, without going to arbitration, which is time consuming and expensive.
- The joint policy committee (JUAC), which deals with the AD 10 policies, updated five policies this year and made it their goal to review all 22 policies over the next few years, to ensure they are up-to-date, accurate and reflect the best interests of members.
- The joint pension committee will continue negotiations once a meeting schedule has been solidified, now that the University Administration’s negotiating team has been filled.
- Dekleva noted that while there was an increase in the number of advocacy cases, there was also a refreshing willingness from HR to resolve workplace issues, which means fewer cases will be headed to arbitration. Legal expenses are expected to decrease as a result of that cooperative spirit.
Dekleva explained that the issue of a Market Survey will need to be resolved this year. In the Total Compensation Review Committee’s update, David Agosti, chair of the Committee and APSA's Vice President, outlined our goals for the three pots of money available from the last salary and benefits negotiations.
- The funds would be best spent on determining which APSA positions are most in need of a market adjustment and to fix those positions first.
- To determine which positions need fixing, a market survey is needed.
- While little progress was made on the issue this year, HR recently hired a Director of Compensation, we are eager to meet with.
YEAR IN REVIEW
Overall, the Association is doing well. Dekleva thanked the 35 exceptional skilled volunteers who sit across APSA's eight committees. She noted the Association couldn't complete the work we do without these volunteers, or our three full-time staff.
On the financial side, APSA was in good shape. The Legal Reserve is stable after being heavily accessed over the past few years. It will need time to be built back up.
11 professional development events and four socials were hosted this year, which was part of the Board's strategic goals to expand members career development and provide networking opportunities.
In January, the Board will sit down to discuss and evaluate these strategic goals and share them with members.
5. Treasurer’s Report
Dekleva presented the Association's financials, as Treasurer Sofia Janmohammad left the University over the summer. She noted that APSA has GIC's, which are doing well. Under "2014-2017 Proposed Budget", there was a large difference in the Legal Reserve. Dekleva explained that most cases this year have been solved outside of arbitration. Therefore, the Board decreased the budget for legal expenses.
- Full Financial Report
- Engagement Review (Accountant’s Report)
i. Statement of Financial Position
ii. Statement of Operations
iii. Statement of Changes in Net Assets
- 2014 - 2017 Proposed Budget
Approval of the financial statements was called.
Shelley Gair moved
Neal Baldwin seconded
The motion was carried.
6. Special Resolution
Director Jeff Bryer introduced the Special Resolution and asked to have it moved to the floor for discussion.
Neal Baldwin moved to adopt the following Special Resolution by reading the following,
[b]e it resolved to accept the Constitution as is, with the following addition,
This society is a member-funded society. It is funded primarily by its members to carry on activities for the benefit of its members. On its liquidation or dissolution, this society may distribute its money and other property to its members.
Richard Blackwell seconded.
Bryer noted that The Societies Act changes on Nov. 28 and legally we are required to change our constitution. If approved, the change will come into effect on Nov. 28.
Bryer noted the following:
- We are a member funded society and have been since APSA was created.
- "Member-funded" means members pay dues and that's how APSA pays for its services and expenses.
- Nothing within how we operate will change. It will be business as usual.
- If the change does not pass, we will have to go to the courts for an exception so it can be revoted on at a later date.
- We are legally required to state how dues would be distributed upon liquidation of the Association.
- Our Bylaws will also need to be updated to reflect changes in the new Societies Act. We have two years to make these changes. There will be information sessions before a vote.
- The last round of Bylaw changes included allowing voting by proxy, and excluding Directors from being on the Board if they filed for bankruptcy or have been convicted of fraud.
- For "On its liquidation or dissolution, this society may distribute its money and other property to its members", should the "may" be changed to "must"?
Bryer replied that unfortunately, the Special Resolution can't be changed. It must be voted on as it, which is unusual and different from previous resolutions. However, the stipulation on how money is distributed could be laid out in the Bylaws. Currently, there is no language that describes how dues would be distributed if APSA ceases to exist. Considerations would need to include whether it's given back to past members, retired members and how much to each. Some nonprofits state that dues will be given to a charity of the members choice.
The Special Resolution was called to a vote with 57 voting in favour, no opposed and no abstentions.
The Special Resolution was moved.
7. Committee updates
- I couldn’t read the Total Compensation Review Committee, could you explain the update?
David Agost, Vice President, chair of Total Compensation Review Committee read the Total Compensation Review Committee update.
- When can we expect progress on pension negotiations?
Richard Blackwell, chair, Pension Advisory Committee, Employee Joint Pension Committee replied. When the University Administration (UA) came to the employee groups, it seemed like they wanted cost containment and certainty. They are still at that point today.
However, a couple years ago when the employee groups negotiated their compensation contracts, the UA tried to tie pension in with compensation, so the EJPC stepped back from negotiations. During that "step back", the EJPC reviewed the whole pension plan and Trust Agreement. We found things that we thought needed to be changed to make it better - the plan and how it's governed.
In negotiations with the UA, we discussed high level issues until 2015, when a number of things happened. We lost Pat Hibbits, Dario Nonis left, and the Director, Pension & Benefits, changed twice. In June, the people sitting across the table were completely new to SFU and our pension. They needed time to get up-to-speed.
We will start regular monthly meetings shortly. First thing we’re discussing is governance and then pension plan details.
The timeline will depend entirely on the UA's schedule. I predict early 2018 at best.
Blackwell noted the pension plan is not in danger of falling apart. There is nothing wrong with it, but we want to make it better. The UA wants to make it more manageable.
There is going to be another pension valuation as of Dec. 31, of this year. They occur every three years. This will give us an idea of the health of the plan by the plan actuary. The preliminary report will be released in mid 2017, the final will be in September 2017.
- What about those people close to retirement? What if the plan switches from Defined benefit to Defined Contribution?
Blackwell couldn't discuss details but didn't think members needed to worry about Defined Contribution plans. Regardless, all of the benefit that you’ve earned to date, at the time of the new pension plan is yours. Nothing can be retroactively changed or taken. Everything you earn up to date of the changes.
- Has there been a change in Commuted Value trends?
Blackwell didn't have the exact numbers, but a significant amount of people take the Commuted Value.
He explained that Commuted Value of your pension plan is the amount of money needed today to pay your pension, as it’s defined until you’re expected to die and your spouse dies. It's calculated by age, location and demographic variables. One variable that is critical is that it's based on the money being invested in Bank of Canada bonds, which are really low. In reality, the plan makes approximately seven percent rate but bond rates are less than one percent.
The problem, Blackwell explain, is that Commuted Value drains the pension plan fund, especially when interest rates are low. When interest rates go back up, current members will subsidize those who took the Commuted Value.
It was also noted that Commuted Value is taxable at the time it's taken out.
- Is the UA still complaining that they’re topping up the pension plan?
Yes. The UA is putting in approximately 17%. Their contribution rate is based on salaries. Commuted Value has contributed to that number.
Blackwell noted that the EJPC will host workshops to educate members on any changes and members will vote on those options.
8. Introduction of the new Board
President Dekleva thanked the outgoing Board members; Kris Nordgren, Glenn Davies and Neal Baldwin, for their service. She welcomed new Directors; Jane Hawkins, Laura Barnette, Chris Claiter and Diane Mar-Nicole.