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A Message about OMERS from President Thomas and the Pension Liaison Committee

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The Sponsors Corporation Board of OMERS has passed an amendment allowing the board to eliminate guaranteed indexing of pension credits earned after 2023. What does this amendment mean to the members of OMERS?

Members of the OMERS pension plan who continue to work past January 1, 2023, will have their future service credits subject to conditional indexing, as voted by the board, rather than have indexing guaranteed whenever there is an increase in the cost of living.

The OPSEU Sponsors Corporation representative tried to move a motion at Wednesday’s meeting to defer the indexation vote to allow for further discussion and information sharing with the sponsors and plan members. OPSEU has argued that few people have had a chance to digest the significance of these changes because of the distracting nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. Regrettably, the board called this sensible motion out of order.

Despite the amendment passed on Wednesday, a vote to actually suspend indexing did not occur. This will require a second vote of the SC board depending on the financial health of the OMERS pension plan at the time of that vote.

OPSEU believes that pension plan members should continue to be entitled to fully guaranteed indexation of their benefits. We expect that our sponsors representative will act on members’ behalf to oppose any future attempts to suspend indexation.

But it’s not all bad news. OPSEU and other pension plan member representatives of OMERS were successful in achieving a long-discussed expansion of the plan that, until now, had met with resistance.

The board passed a motion that as of January 1, 2023, barriers for non-full-time employees would be removed, allowing them immediate access to the OMERS pension plan. This will give thousands of new members access to a defined benefit pension plan.

Given the trends to increase precarious work, this is a positive move that gives workers in non-full-time employment working for an eligible employer access to participate in a defined-benefit pension plan and build towards a meaningful retirement.

Please rest assured that we will continue to discuss these issues with the OMERS Sponsors Corporation Board and will keep members fully informed.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas

OPSEU Executive Board Pension Liaison Committee