A lesson in quality employment

College of New Caledonia celebrates 50 years with the College Pension Plan

The 2018-19 school year marks a double anniversary for the College of New Caledonia (CNC): 50 years as a regional college, and 50 years as an employer with the College Pension Plan.

With six campuses, small class sizes, a qualified staff and an unbeatable natural environment, Prince George-based CNC has plenty to offer. This extraordinary location routinely attracts students from around the world to live and learn amidst the beautiful lakes, hiking trails and mountains of Northern British Columbia. Members of this vibrant community also benefit from CNC’s recognition that its employees are a valuable asset, essential to the success of the college and its students.

CNC’s dedication to its staff goes way back; in fact, CNC was one of the original members of the College Pension Plan, signing on in 1968—the first year the plan was offered. As part of its commitment to offering quality employment, CNC has participated in the College Pension Plan for five decades, contributing alongside its employees to ensure a dependable pension and a secure retirement for CNC staff.

As a new college, CNC initially leased facilities at Prince George Senior Secondary School which it equipped with a modern library and leading-edge scientific and technical laboratories. Classes were held between 4:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., and tuition was $250 a year. Within its first year, CNC was employing a staff of 31 and the student population had grown from 253 (in September 1969) to nearly 400. By 1970, BC’s top universities (including the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria) had agreed to grant credit for CNC courses, and the college was well on its way. 

Today the college offers more than 70 programs across six campuses: Prince George, Burns Lake, Fort St. James, Mackenzie, Quesnel and Vanderhoof—all committed to promoting a healthy and productive work environment. To accommodate an enrollment of about 5,000 students, CNC employs a staff of 600 throughout British Columbia’s Central Interior region.

A shared commitment

Over the years, the College Pension Plan has grown too. From its start in 1968 with six employers, the plan now serves 23 colleges and universities across the province. Membership has grown from 302 active members in 1968, to 13,639 in 2017. During this time, the number of women in the plan has increased considerably. In 1968, only 17 per cent of members were women; by 2017, that number had risen to 56 per cent.

Other changes, such as the shift in the ratio of retired to active plan members, requires careful management. As the baby boomers started retiring in greater numbers, the plan had to adapt. By adjusting for demographic change, and managing its investments for long-term sustainability, the College Pension Plan remains strong, healthy and well-positioned for the future.

Through all the changes over the past 50 years, the College of New Caledonia and the College Pension Plan have grown and developed, continuously adapting to meet the needs of the individuals and communities they serve. Together they have achieved a common goal: helping hard-working professionals enjoy peace of mind throughout their careers while looking to their retirement with confidence and security.