On Campus

Universities suffering for pensions

Survey reveals $2.6 billion in solvency deficits

The recession has left Canadian universities with a combined pension deficit of $2.6 billion, according to a Globe and Mail survey of more than 20 institutions. The consequence of the shortfall will likely be reduced services for students, the paper reported. For example, Dalhousie University is facing a solvency deficit of $129 million that will have to be filled by taking funds from the operating budget. Nova Scotia denied the university’s request to exempt it from solvency regulations, instead giving the school 10 years, as opposed to the usual five, to restore funds to the pension plan. Similar situations exist at universities right across the country, with pension plan solvency deficits ranging from a high of $1.1 billion at the University of Toronto to a low of $9.2 million at Trent University.

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