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Joint Benefits Trusts

Joint Benefits Trusts
The 2014-2019 Health Science Professionals sector, Community subsector and Facilities subsector collective agreements include provisions to establish a Joint Benefits Trust (JBT) for each sector/subsector. A joint benefits trust is a self-funded, not-for-profit organization that manages all assets for the maximum benefit of its members. Trusts are legal entities that are held to the highest fiduciary standards.

What are the advantages of a joint benefits trust?
The primary advantage of a JBT is that employees, through their union representatives, and employers become partners in delivering health and welfare benefits. Working together, both parties are committed to operating efficient and sustainable benefits plans that provide the best possible benefits for members.

When will the joint trusts be established?
The collective agreements stipulate that the JBTs must be established by March 31, 2015 for Health Sciences and Facilities and by September 30, 2015 for Community. After the trusts are established, there is a brief transition period. JBTs will begin to receive funding from employers and provide benefits starting April 1, 2016 for all three subsectors.

How will the joint trusts be funded?
JBTs will be funded by participating employers with contributions held in trust to pay for health and welfare benefits for employees and eligible dependents. Employer contributions will be set as a fixed percentage of payroll costs determined by the actual cost of providing benefits divided by total regular straight time payroll costs. Employer contributions will be fixed for the final three years of the current collective agreements (2016-2019) and may be renegotiated in future rounds of bargaining.

How will the joint trusts be managed?
The framework for the trusts will be developed by sector-specific working groups made up of employer and bargaining association (union) representatives. After the trusts are established, they will be governed by an equal number of trustees appointed by HEABC and the respective bargaining association (unions). Specific details related to governance will be set out in a trust agreement developed for each sector. The joint employer/union working groups are currently working on developing the trust agreements.