You will recall that last year, a question arose as to why the Bell pension indexation for 2017 was not rounded to 2%, rather than 1%, given that Statistics Canada had published the change in CPI for the relevant period as 1.5%. The explanation was that the change in the CPI for the relevant period, calculated to 2 decimal places, was actually 1.49% which rounds to 1%. Your BPG board sought legal advice from independent outside counsel regarding this matter and, based on that advice, decided that no further action was warranted at the time.
In the meantime, we understand that, in the last few days, a Bell pensioner has commenced a class action on behalf of all Bell defined benefit pensioners. The claim challenges Bell’s interpretation of the indexation provisions and contends that the 2017 indexation should have been 2%. A link to this claim can be found here: https://kmlaw.ca/cases/bell-canada-indexation-pension-plan-class-action/ .
Class actions proceed in two phases. First, the court must determine whether to certify the claim and the defined class of beneficiaries as the proper subjects of a class action. Should the action be certified by the court, the lawsuit would then proceed on the merits to determine the validity of the claim. Should the suit ultimately be successful, all members of the class (in this case, all Bell defined benefit pensioners) would be eligible to proceeds as determined by the court. We intend to monitor this development closely and keep our members informed as the case progresses.
Pension Committee - BPG