Health employers achieved a major milestone in benefits management this past year as the three health sector Joint Benefits Trusts (JBTs) assumed full control of employee benefits on April 1, 2017.
The JBTs represent an innovative and foundational change in the way benefits are managed. In a joint trust, employers and employees, through their union representatives, jointly manage benefits to ensure employees get the benefits they want and need, within a sustainable, jointly managed funding envelope. Working together, both parties are motivated to operate efficient and sustainable benefits plans that provide the best possible benefits for employees.
The JBTs were negotiated as part of the 2014-2019 Health Sciences, Facilities and Community subsector collective agreements, and by all accounts, the transition of responsibility for employee benefits to the joint trusts has been seamless and smooth. Over the past year, trustees established governance policies and operating processes and worked with legal, benefits and actuarial experts to lay the foundation for the sustainable management of employee benefits now and into the future.
Earlier this year, employers received experience-adjusted contribution rates for the period April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019. Rates are updated annually with adjustments based on bargained provincial rate changes, risk-sharing provisions included in the funding formulas at the JBT level, and actual claims experience at the employer level.
Benefits for nurses and excluded (non-unionized) employees continue to be managed by Healthcare Benefit Trust.