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Waterloo regional council reverses decision on lifetime benefits


Waterloo regional council has scrapped a plan that would have given councillors health benefits for life.

On Tuesday, councillors voted unanimously to rescind the decision made by the previous council last month.

The Nov. 8 vote, which passed 9-7, would have seen retired councillors aged 55 years and older receive benefits completely paid for by the region until death. Councillors would have been eligible after serving a single term.

The decision was followed by public backlash and a promise from the new council to undo the decision.

Along with reversing the decision Tuesday, council also agreed to follow the traditional process and have a citizen advisory committee recommend a compensation package.

Coun. Michael Harris brought the motion. After initially voting in favour of the program, he now says it was a mistake, and it’s time to move on.

"We want to get the best and brightest people coming to the table, but let’s leave that to the citizens panel to come back and have at look at it. Politicians should not be setting their own wage. We take recommendations from the citizen committee which this council has now asked to be done," he said.

Council also agreed that when they do get around to figuring out the benefits package for councillors, the lifetime plan paid entirely by the region approved last month will be off the table.

On Monday, seven councillors who voted in favour of the plan released a statement saying they regret the way the situation unfolded and it was not their intention to discuss it so close to the end of term. Top Stories

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