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OPSEU President concerned about proposed cutbacks to the OMERS pension plan

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Toronto – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says the executive of the OMERS Pension Plan can expect a fight if they try to rush through unnecessary pension plan changes that will leave members paying more for less.

“The OMERS pension plan is in good shape financially and will ensure a dignified retirement for the hundreds of thousands of Ontarians who’ve paid into it throughout their working careers,” said Thomas. “We don’t see any good reason to scale back the size of peoples’ pensions or to increase the amount that people pay in. We’ll fight any proposal to do either.”

Earlier this spring, OPSEU’s Pension Liaison Committee (PLC) and representatives from other participating unions were invited to take part in a comprehensive plan review being undertaken by the OMERS, which oversees the pension.

The PLC members were surprised when presented recently with the OMERS recommendations because they included a number of “serious” concessions to be made by the fall, an “extremely” short period of time.

The PLC members were also frustrated by a lack of specific examples of how members’ pensions would be affected in the future, or any actuarial information to justify the concessions.

The financial position of OMERS continues to improve. OMERS had investment returns of 11.5 per cent net of expenses in 2017 and 10.3 per cent in 2016. The plan’s investments are performing well.

“As plan members, we understand that we have a responsibility to ensure the plan is financially healthy,” said Thomas. “But we’re not going to be rushed into making major concessions, especially when we’re not being offered any alternatives to those concessions, or even any evidence that those concessions are needed in the first place.”

OMERS cannot unilaterally adopt the recommendations it has made – the recommendations must be approved by the OMERS Sponsors Corporation. OPSEU and the other participating unions have voting seats on the two boards that govern OMERS.

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