— Sound investment strategies have generated a $6.8 billion surplus for the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. The plan was underfunded in 1990 when an independent board took over investment. Last year, the total investment return was 9.3 per cent, achieved by diverting funds from technology stocks last April and moving more into bonds, real estate and other assets. The surplus will allow more members to retire as early as 50.
Health-care cost headaches
— For the second year in a row, gaining control of rising health-care costs has been identified as the top priority for benefit specialists, according to a recent survey by the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists. More than 70 per cent of respondents to the poll said it was one of their top five priorities for 2001.
Older workers need not apply
— Californian employers can give young workers special benefits without fear of reprisals for discriminating against older workers, an appeal court ruled earlier this month. While employers can’t demonstrate bias in terms of hiring, firing, demotions and suspensions, they can provide free education benefits to younger workers without extending the benefit to older workers. An employee sued Union Oil Co. after he was denied funding for his master’s program and told, “You’re too old to invest in.”