Managing Principal Marc Van Audenrode Testifies in Successful Defense of Quebec Pension Law
July 28, 2020
Analysis Group Managing Principal Marc Van Audenrode was retained as an economic expert on behalf of the Quebec Ministry of Justice in connection with a matter related to the passing of the Act to Foster the Financial Health and Sustainability of Municipal Defined Benefit Pension Plans (Bill 15) in Quebec in 2014. Unions from various municipal organizations contested the bill, which was created to regulate certain aspects of defined-benefit pension plans offered to municipal employees in order to improve the financial health of these plans and ensure their sustainability. The unions argued that allowing this bill to pass would infringe on employees’ fundamental freedom of association – in particular, the right to bargain collectively on working conditions.
Supported by an Analysis Group team that included Vice President Martin Cloutier and Managers Catherine Gendron-Saulnier and Alix Duhaime-Ross, Dr. Van Audenrode conducted a detailed economic analysis of the relevant economic environment in the context of Bill 15. During the trial, he testified on Quebec’s economic environment during the period when Bill 15 was passed, including the performance of financial markets, the demographic composition of Quebec workers, their level of preparation for retirement, and the financial situation of municipalities affected by Bill 15.
In his judgment, Justice Moulin of the Superior Court of Quebec referenced Dr. Van Audenrode’s report to highlight the growing cost of pension plans in the overall compensation of municipal employees. Justice Moulin concluded that there was no reason to declare the sections of Bill 15 relating to active members unconstitutional, while also recognizing the vested rights of retired members.