Mortality table overestimates life expectancy of public sector employees: Study

First to use data of different municipal employee groups in Quebec
||Last Updated: 09/02/2015

The current Canadian mortality table for public sector employees overestimates the life expectancy of municipal employees, according to a study by Morneau Shepell.
The study, conducted in collaboration with University of Montreal, is the first of its kind to take into account the different types of municipal employee groups in Quebec.

It said the Canadian public sector table overestimates the life expectancy of all groups of employees except managers and professionals.

And in Quebec, municipal managers and professionals live longer than blue collar workers — close to 18 months longer for men and 12 months for women.

"Existing studies of the mortality rates of the different occupations mainly cover the private and public sectors, without taking into account the specific employee groups in the municipal sector. This sector, however, has many different groups within it. The fact that the public sector is primarily represented by education and health professionals bias the results for other employees in the public sector," said Jérôme Dionne, partner at Morneau Shepell.

The study took into account the specific life expectancies of Quebec's municipal employees based on their occupational groups.

All the data was gathered from Quebec's largest municipal pension plans and researchers focused on six groups: white collar workers, blue collar workers, managers, police, firefighters and professionals.

Based on the university's work, Morneau Shepell has also produced results for a seventh group of employees — bus drivers. The respondents represent more than 55 per cent of retirees and more than 60 per cent of the value of the plan commitments for Quebec's municipal pension plans.

"This improvement will allow municipalities and employees to discuss pension plan issues on the basis of objective data, since the parties will be able to refer to figures that truly reflect the experience of Quebec municipal employees," said Dionne.

"The new tool developed in partnership with Morneau Shepell will allow its actuaries to produce mortality studies in a more informed manner, taking into account the experience of each employee group. The value of benefits, therefore, will be more representative of the reality of each group in terms of mortality," said Claudia Gagné, assistant professor in the Mathematics and Statistics Department at University of Montreal. 

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