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CPP expansion is right move for Ontario workers: Thomas

Toronto – Ottawa’s plan to expand the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is “the right move for Ontario workers,” the President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union says.

“Our union, along with the rest of the labour movement in Canada, has always supported CPP expansion,” Warren (Smokey) Thomas said today. “The CPP is a tried and true vehicle for providing retirement income for Canadians and is one of the most efficient pension plans in the world. CPP expansion will improve pensions for millions of Canadians, including thousands of OPSEU members who do not have a workplace pension plan.”

Thomas said the CPP is the only pension plan for many OPSEU members working in developmental services agencies, women’s shelters, long-term care homes, and similar workplaces.

The majority of OPSEU members pay in to large jointly-trusteed pension plans like the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP), the CAAT Pension Plan, the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS), and the OPSEU Pension Trust. CPP expansion may affect these plans, Thomas said.

“We will have some work to do to integrate CPP expansion with our workplace pension plans,” he said. “We look forward to working with all the plans to ensure our members’ pensions are strengthened by this latest change.”

The demise of the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan opens the door for the Wynne government to turn its attention to the retirement issues of its own employees, Thomas said. The government plans to begin charging members of the OPSEU Pension Trust for post-retirement benefits next year.

“The average pension for an OPSEU Pension Trust member is under $21,000 a year,” he said. “Under the government’s plan, our members will have to either pay $1,500 a year or lose their benefits entirely. Our members can’t afford either option.

“Health care benefits are part of retirement security,” Thomas said. “We’ll keep on calling on the government to end the clawback of retiree benefits and set a positive example for all employers.”

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas 613-329-1931