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N.B. government moves forward with sweeping pension reforms

The New Brunswick flag flies in front of the Legislative building in Fredericton, N.B. on April 4, 2012.
The New Brunswick flag flies in front of the Legislative building in Fredericton, N.B. on April 4, 2012. Francis Vachon/The Canadian Press

FREDERICTON – The New Brunswick government voted Wednesday to pass previously proposed pension reforms in an effort to address a $1-billion deficit.

The bill passed 33-9, with all members of the Liberal party standing up to oppose the bill.

Blaine Higgs, New Brunswick’s finance minister, tabled legislation in November to bring about 30,000 current and former public service employees under a new shared-risk model for their pensions.

The bill would see contributions from both the employer and employees rise in to help deal with the province’s deficit.

When Higgs introduced the bill, he said the legislation was needed to ensure public pensions are sustainable.

But the provincial wing of the Canadian Union of Public Employees expressed concerns over the changes, saying while they may work for some unionized workers, they don’t for others who have defined benefit plans.

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*With files from The Canadian Press