Pension Life - Winter 2022
“Paulitics” and pensions
For Paul Ramsey—and many other retired members—hard work didn’t end with retirement. After a career as an educator, union leader and politician, he’s continuing to use his skills in research, analysis and critical thinking to support pension plan members as a trustee.
Paul was appointed to the College Pension Plan Board of Trustees in 2016 by the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC (FPSE) and the British Columbia Government and Service Employees’ Union. At that point, he’d already been retired for more than a decade and was serving on the FPSE Pension Advisory Committee, where he reconnected with active plan members and gained insights into their views.
Learning about people and helping them succeed has been a strong focus throughout Paul’s career. During his decades as a post-secondary educator, Paul saw first-hand the impact of accessible education. “Education can change people’s lives, and I saw that happen repeatedly in my work at the College of New Caledonia (CNC) and University of Northern British Columbia,” he says.
Paul’s second life in pensions is directly tied to his first life in politics. Paul entered politics in the late 1980s through his involvement with the CNC Faculty Association and was elected to represent Prince George North in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia in 1991. In 2000, as Minister of Finance, Paul played a key role in establishing the joint trusteeship model for BC’s public sector pension plans.
Since becoming a trustee, Paul has learned that the government initiative of 20 years ago has proven to be a big success. “BC’s model of pension governance is recognized and respected across Canada. Employer- and employee-appointed trustees can put fiduciary duty first and guide pension plans through good economic times and bad.”
By agreement, the plan must appoint at least one retired plan member to the board. Paul is that member, and he takes this responsibility very seriously. “Nearly a third of plan members are retired. Their income depends heavily on the pension plan,” he says.
After Paul retired in 2005, he and his wife, Hazel, moved from Prince George—their home of 30 years—to the Saanich Peninsula outside Victoria, where they are closer to their children and grandchildren. “They are a joy, and it’s been great to be part of their lives on a weekly basis,” he says.
In his free time, Paul stays active hiking, biking, golfing and renovating their 1970s house. He also dabbles in beekeeping and is very proud of the honey his bees produce. In addition to working on his apiary, Paul tends the garden alongside Hazel. “Hazel is head gardener,” he says. “I am but the gardener’s assistant.”