Pensions Committee -- Continuing Education Plan
Report to the Members of General Synod
Since it began in 1971, the Continuing Education Plan (CEP) has given hundreds of clergy and lay employees the opportunity to develop their interests, further their education, and enrich their lives.
All members of the clergy automatically join the CEP on their first day of employment with a participating diocese. Lay employees of the Church or other participating organizations, may join the Plan with their employer's approval. Not all dioceses have chosen to enroll their lay employees in the Plan. Upon joining the Plan, an account is set up for each member. The annual contribution rate was increased from $300 to $600 and was phased-in over a three-year period (1998-2000). The employer contributes 75% and the member contributes 25%. A bonus is paid each time the account is used. Continuing Education funds may be used for:
With the exception of the Diocese of Montreal (which has its own plan) all dioceses, the National Office and the Church Army participate in the Continuing Education Plan. The Diocese of Toronto became a participating employer as of January 1, 1999.
As of December 31, 2000, 1834 members participate in the Plan compared to 1534 in 1998.
The Pension Office is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Plan. Policy decisions, educational support to members, and the authorization of sabbatical and special grants are the responsibility of the Continuing Education Administrative Unit. The Unit includes the Administrator of the Plan and five members appointed by the Pension Committee and meets twice a year. The cost of the meetings is minimal and is charged to the Fund.
The annual Administration Cost of the Plan, as a percentage of the total contributions and investment income, was 4.98% in 1999 and based on the Fund's total assets at market value, it was 1.32%.
As a result of the increase in the annual contributions and the uncertainty of the investment markets, effective the year 2000, the Bonus for Use was reduced to 8% from 15%. In 2000, the bonus for use payout was $51,000.00.
Prior to 1998, the number of sabbatical grants was limited 20 per year and the amount of the grant was $2,000. In 1999, the number of grants was increased to 25 and the amount of the grant was increased to $2,500. In 2001, the number of grants was increased to 30 and the amount of the grant was increased to $3,000. Attached is a list of the number of dioceses/organizations which approved sabbatical leave over the past 3 years. (Appendix 4.A).
The Plan provides funding to the dioceses/organizations to enable them to mount educational events for their members (staff development days, clergy seminars, etc.). The amount of the grant is based on the number of actively participating members in each diocese/organization. The amount allocated for this purpose for the year 2000 was $41,000 and for 2001 it has been increased to $58,000.
Renewed the subscription for PMC magazine for all the members for a further one-year period from February 1, 2001 to January 31, 2002.
Prior to October 1, 1999, the assets of the CEP were invested in the General Synod Consolidated Trust Fund and the asset mix policy was 75% fixed income and 25% equity. Effective October 1, 1999, the Pension Committee approved a new asset mix policy of 65% equity, 35% fixed income and authorized the transfer of the assets to RT Capital's Pooled Funds. As of December 31, 2000, the market value of the Fund was $4,382,705.
The Administrative Unit has been working on developing a national policy on sabbatical leave. To assist them in this task, a survey of the Plan members was conducted in 2000 in order to determine the obstacles preventing a member from taking a sabbatical. In addition, a survey of the dioceses was conducted in order to gather information on diocesan policies on sabbatical leave.
Based on the results of the surveys, Archdeacons Bill Graham and Archie Skirving developed a short-term leave and sabbatical leave policy which was approved by the Administrative Unit. The next step is to consult with the dioceses and the Bishops to determine if this Sabbatical policy would be acceptable as a minimum standard for all dioceses. (Appendix 4.B)
The Administrative Unit is concerned about the increasing number of members who perceive the Plan as a savings plan as they express their annoyance when their application for benefit is denied when it does not meet the criteria. The Unit agreed that it would be helpful to produce an information leaflet detailing the types of benefits which would qualify under the Plan. As there are still outstanding questions on the taxability of some of the benefits paid under the Plan, it was agreed to defer producing the leaflet until these questions have been resolved.
Only one change was made which was submitted to the Pension Committee and was approved by the Council of General Synod.
Canon Carol Throp
Chair, CEP Administrative Unit
Members of the CEP Administrative Unit are:
Canon Carol Throp Diocese of Rupert's Land
The Rev. Dorothy Daly Diocese of Algoma
The Ven. Bill Graham Diocese of Huron
The Rev. Canon Trudy Lebans Diocese of Niagara
The Ven. Archie Skirving Diocese of Huron
Mrs. Jenny Mason Administrator
Mrs. Jer Homavazir Recorder
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