Pension plan members object to “plundering”

Ontario government diverts $1.4 billion
||Last Updated: 04/08/2003

Members of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) claim the Ontario government is “raiding” their pension plan and giving the money to municipalities to compensate for government underfunding.

OMERS is one of the largest pension plans in Canada, with $36 billion in assets. It has around 300,000 members, composed of active and retired local government employees.

The pension fund has a surplus of somewhere between $4 billion and $6 billion. Under federal tax law, pension funds are required to either increase benefits or call a contribution holiday when surpluses get too big. Given the size of the OMERS pension surplus, neither employers nor employees have to make contributions until Jan. 2003.