More than $2 billion in debt is being sold off under the sale of Ottawa’s pension debt, as a major buyer takes aim at Ottawa’s public debt.
In the past, the province’s debt was sold off to private funders at a discounted price.
Now, that will change, as the sale process is being launched, and the province is expected to announce its final sales price sometime in June.
The province’s pension plan was first privatized in 2003.
The government had originally planned to sell the debt in 2020 but has since postponed that date because of a lack of funds.
The province’s current debt is valued at $1.8 billion, according to the provincial auditor general.
The sale of the Ottawa pension debt could bring in billions more.
The pension plan is currently worth $1 billion, and it is estimated the proceeds will cover the province for a decade.
In an interview with The Globe and Mail, David Pasternak, a spokesman for the Public Service Alliance of Canada, said Ottawa’s debts have historically been a good value for taxpayers.
Pasternak said the sale could be done without raising taxes and would likely generate more than $1-billion in new revenues.
A public-private partnership (PPP) was established to buy Ottawa’s pensions, but Pasternack said it’s not clear yet what will happen with the pension sale.
“This is the first time we’re looking at an asset that is part of a public-Private Partnership,” he said.
He said the government was already looking to sell its municipal debt, and that Ottawa was not expected to be able to sell municipal debt to the province in the future.
Pastern, however, said the province could sell Ottawa pension assets to the private sector, such as an oil and gas company or a real estate investment trust.
Ottawa’s public pension debt was first sold in 2003, but the province has since delayed that date to allow for a restructuring.
The debt was bought for $3.8-billion and is now worth about $2-billion.
(The province did not immediately respond to questions on what the pension plan might be worth.)
Pensions are a good source of capital for the public sector because they help ensure future generations can repay the debts.
Ottawa’s future public debt was also a good investment when it was sold in 2002, as Ottawa borrowed from the province and repaid its debt.
As a result, the pension fund has a higher debt-to-GDP ratio than the province, according the auditor general’s report.
That’s because Ottawa is paying a lower rate on its debt, said Pastern.
In a statement, Ottawa said the pension deal is expected in the second half of 2020, but did not specify a date.
The statement said the deal is a significant step forward in the privatization of Ottawa Public Schools.
It said the new debt will be used to reduce the costs of Ottawa public schools, which currently make up around half of the province.
There is also a significant increase in debt for the city of Ottawa as well, which is currently paying $1 million a year to borrow from Ottawa Public.
On a positive note, the privatization is expected “to reduce the deficit in Ottawa by $1,800 million over the next five years,” according to Pastern in the statement.
Public service unions are concerned about the privatization, which they say could further drive up pension costs for the province as the public service gets smaller.
The public service unions have been lobbying Ottawa to privatize the pensions since 2013.
According to a report from the union representing Ottawa’s teachers, public school teachers are the most expensive part of Ottawa.
The report found that teachers make up about 40 per cent of the cost of Ottawa municipal debt and more than 20 per cent for Ottawa public debt, including the Ottawa Pension Plan.
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