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OPSEU helps drive defeat of ‘unnecessary’ OMERS pension changes

Toronto – Together with its labour allies, OPSEU has made significant progress in efforts to protect the pensions of thousands of its members. The OMERS Sponsors Corporation Board of Directors voted today on six proposed changes to the pension plan as part of its Comprehensive Plan Review, defeating all but two.

“I’m delighted the board saw good sense and voted down these unfair proposals,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “We’ll fight till the end to protect our members’ pensions. Because OPSEU has your back.”

The board voted down proposals to:

  • replace inflation protection with conditional indexation
  • integrate the pension formula with the year’s additional maximum pensionable earnings (YAMPE)
  • change normal and early retirement
  • require mandatory participation for non-full-time employees (optional for low-salary employees)

The board voted in favour of removing the 35-year credited service cap and allowing paramedics to negotiate their normal retirement age at 60.

Pension Liaison Committee members Len Elliott and Gareth Jones said OPSEU has worked diligently over the last year to fully examine the proposed changes. In this, they were supported by Thomas, First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida and OPSEU’s Executive Board.

“Our position has been, and remains, that the concessionary changes were unnecessary, especially the proposal to move to conditional indexing,” said Jones. “We’ve worked extensively and continually with the other labour sponsors to create a consensus in opposing these changes, which would have seriously and negatively affected our members.”

“We’re very pleased to reassure our OMERS members that not only were the conditional indexing proposal and three others defeated, but also that our paramedics may now negotiate the same early-retirement provisions that police and fire can,” said Elliott. “Further, the 35-year cap on accrual is lifted. Now those who wish to work longer have the option to accrue a larger pension.”

Thomas praised the work of Elliott and Jones, who are Executive Board Members and Regional Vice-Presidents of Regions 1 and 4, respectively. “They’ve worked extremely hard to protect the interests of our OPSEU members who are enrolled in OMERS – and, clearly, their efforts have paid off.”

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 329-1931; Len Elliott, 519-857-4000; Gareth Jones, 613-809-3319