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OPSEU fighting ‘anti-democratic’ OMERS changes

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Toronto — The OMERS Sponsors Corporation Board has rushed through changes to its governance bylaws that will make it more difficult for employee representatives to have a strong voice.

The board met on November 14th and pushed the amendments through, ignoring a plea from all of the employee Sponsor Organizations to be given time to gather all the facts and review the changes. The board did not provide the full text of all the amendments.

The board has eliminated the requirement for equal employer-employee representation on a number of board committees including those committees responsible for audit, corporate governance, human resource and compensation, plan design and risk oversight. 

The board also pushed through a confidentiality provision that effectively allows the board to deem all information confidential and allow it to decide what information it will share with the Sponsors.

This means employee groups can be virtually excluded from even knowing about future changes or votes on serious matters such as plan design, contribution rate changes or benefit reductions. 

The result will be that employee groups will have much less opportunity to raise concerns on behalf of their members in the plan.

The amendments had threatened to remove the employee Sponsors’ right to appoint and remove their representative, but the proposed changes were modified under pressure from employee groups.  However the new language has put up some roadblocks that will slow up appointing (and removing) new representatives.  It’s another attempt to restrict the input and control that Sponsors have over their members’ pensions.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said OPSEU is considering its legal options and will determine an appropriate response. 

“Ramming through changes without consultation is unacceptable and OPSEU won’t stand for it,”  said Thomas. 

“This anti-democratic approach isn’t working for Doug Ford and it won’t work for OMERS either.”