Auditor again flags pension fund for military reservists as 'problematic'

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Auditor again flags pension fund for military reservists as 'problematic'

Post by Vizzer1 on Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:09 pm

The Canadian Press · Posted: Apr 03, 2018

Reservists help pack military vehicles with boats and fuel at CFB Kingston on Tuesday May 9, 2017.

A pension fund for Canadian military reservists is once again being flagged by Canada's auditor general as "problematic."

In a recent commentary on the federal government's 2016-17 financial audits, the auditor's office says it is unable to provide assurances the reserve force pension plan's financial statements are free of significant error.

It's a problem that has been going on for the last 10 years.

Following a recent look at the books, auditor Michael Ferguson remains unable to draw conclusions about the accuracy and completeness of data used to estimate reported pension obligations of $610 million — a situation his office describes as "unacceptable."

"National Defence needs to complete its ongoing efforts to resolve this matter," the report states.

"This situation leaves parliamentarians and plan members without assurance that the plan's financial statements present credible information about the plan's finances, which is unacceptable."

The concerns were raised as part of a commentary on financial audits of 68 federal organizations conducted by the auditor's office for the fiscal years that ended between December 2016 and August 2017. The commentary was published March 28.

Overall, Ferguson was satisfied with the credibility of all financial statements it examined except those of the reserve force pension plan. No audit opinion was issued "because of significant and persistent problems with data quality."

The fund has been plagued by problems since it was first introduced in 2007. It has never been able to convince the auditor's office that its finances reliably reflected the financial position of the plan and never received an audit opinion, resulting in a full performance audit in 2011. That examination found the pension fund was introduced without adequate planning, leading to major backlogs.

The Department of National Defence has since changed some of its record-keeping practices for reservists, but the auditor says those improvements have not resolved matters.

Meanwhile, it appears backlogs have also continued.

A proposed class-action lawsuit has been launched by a group of veterans discharged from the Canadian Armed Forces who allege excessive delays in their pension payments. The action proposes to include members of the reserve force pension plan.

A certification hearing is not expected until April 2019, according to a lawyer involved in the case.




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