I’ve noticed in the last little while talk about pension programs and how funding benefits was an issue. There were two pieces on pension concerns at the City of Regina in the Leader Post by Joe Couture (here and here). Pensions were a prominent topic as well in a recent mayors discussion on Charlie Rose (here) .
Generally, cities are providing benefits for a longer period to their retired employees and this is drawing more money out than previous generations. It seems a consensus, especially in the States, is that going forward pensions will have to change or city services may start to suffer.
I worry that some of these pension concerns could lead to increased privatization. Increasingly contracting out for repairs or even certain services. In some places in the States Fire fighting services have been privatized again (my understanding is fire fighting was once a rather competitive business in some cities long ago).
I don’t want to sound alarmist. I can’t imagine any of this coming quickly and without a furious debate. We’ll just have to keep a close eye on how things unfold.