The provincial government is giving Albertans another way to weigh in on its idea to introduce a provincially based pension plan, but it will be done virtually, by phone.
Premier Danielle Smith, during a press conference last month, said Albertans would pay substantially less and receive higher benefits under a potential Alberta Pension Plan.
A recent government-commissioned report said the province would have $334 billion at its disposal if it were to take over payments and benefits currently handled by the Canada Pension Plan.
“Now that the LifeWorks report is out for discussion, our panel has been tasked with listening to Albertans and hearing their thoughts, views and concerns,” said Jim Dinning, who chairs the engagement panel, in an Oct. 12 government statement.
“For something this big, Albertans deserve the benefit of a rational, adult conversation.”
The provincial Opposition, meanwhile, doesn’t share the same opinion, calling the APP concept destructive and dangerous.
Shannon Phillips, NDP critic for finance, insurance and premiums, reiterated the party’s stance, questioning why there are no in-person town hall sessions planned.
“Danielle Smith is in hiding while trying to gamble away Albertans’ pensions,” Phillips said in a release Oct. 14. “The premier is afraid of Albertans.”
The first of five “telephone town halls” took place on Monday, Oct. 16, for northern Albertans.
A second such event is set for southern Alberta residents, including the southwest, Tuesday, Oct. 24, from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m.
Three more sessions are scheduled in November for the Calgary region, Edmonton and area, and central Alberta.
Participation details are available online at albertapensionplan.ca/engagement.
The province had already established a web-based survey component. Respondents have until Dec. 10 to take the 10-minute survey, which can be found at bit.ly/45wj65M.
A panel report is due out in May of next year.