Backgrounder: Pensions for most OPSEU members under attack

Backgrounder: Pensions for most OPSEU members under attack


Facts on McGuinty Liberals' pension grab

Premier Dalton McGuinty and Finance Minister Dwight Duncan are looking for ways out of Ontario’s financial trouble. And instead of looking to corporations to pay their fair share of taxes, they’re looking to members of Ontario’s larger jointly-sponsored pension plans. That means most OPSEU members.

Cloaked in talk of making pension funds more efficient and successful, the Liberals are considering the creation of a pension superfund worth $25 billion to more than $100 billion. They want to get rid of the joint member-employer trustee structure, appoint their own people, and spend people’s retirement savings.

Think about it. Your pension. The Liberals want to spend your retirement savings on their re-election campaign.

And their line of attack is the same as it is on collective bargaining.

‘Do what we want or we’ll pass a law that forces you’

Affected plans

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Changes McGuinty Liberals say needed

  • Ensure jointly-sponsored plans are funded, stable, and viable.
  • Create a pension superfund the Liberals say will reduce management costs.
  • Pension plans may be forced into the superfund.
  • End joint trustee representation for members and retirees, and employers and replace with forced management by ‘professional’ money managers.
  • Force benefit reductions for future retirees and forbid contribution increases;
  • Create an external dispute resolution process.
  • Force 50/50 funding on plans that have negotiated different funding splits.

No case for forced changes. Here are the facts.

CAAT Pension Fund, HOOPP, OMERS, and OPT are already:

  1. Well-funded, stable and viable.
  2. Large enough that they take advantage of the cost savings of lower management fees and administration costs and are as low as can be reasonably expected in the financial industry;
  3. Managed by people who achieve better investment returns than funds managed by ‘professionals’ that Premier McGuinty and Minister Duncan want to control my plan.
  4. Established with funding strategies for sound, diversified investments and to protect capital and returns even throughout market downturns.
  5. Established as a jointly-trusteed plan with equal representation of worker and employer trustees who use an internal dispute resolution system to resolve potential conflict or disagreements.
  6. Funded 50/50 by members and employers unless otherwise negotiated.

What changes mean for pension plan members

  • You will lose control of retirement savings.
  • And you may receive a lower pension than earned.

What is OPSEU doing about this?

  • Educating members on possible changes;
  • Mobilizing members to speak up: talk to co-workers and stewards and write to MPPs;
  • Meeting with MPPs in their ridings;
  • Meeting with government representatives;
  • Being clear with government: OPSEU members and leaders will not accept their pension grab. There is no problem with these funds. The government’s motive has nothing to do with what is best for the pension plan members and everything to do with the Liberals’ wish to control and spend other people’s money.

What can a single pension plan member do?

  • Check back here for news.
  • Talk to your co-workers and steward about the issue.
  • Be sure sample letters and other information is posted on your union bulletin board at work.
  • Write your MPP and copy Premier Dalton McGuinty, Minister of Finance Dwight Duncan, and Donna Cansfield, Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance.

Tell the McGuinty Liberals your pension plan belongs to you and the other plan members. It’s not the Ontario Government’s money – to control or to spend.

If McGuinty, Duncan, or Cansfield is your MPP, adapt your letter accordingly and copy the other two.

Find your MPP by name or riding here.

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