OPSEU reaches deal with Ont. government on pensions

No contribution increases for employer until 2017

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) has reached an agreement with the Ontario government to continue joint control of public sector pension plans.

Under the agreement, there won’t be any contribution increases for the government until Dec. 30, 2017. Any plan that sees a decrease in funding over the five-year agreement must reduce benefits in the future before increasing employer contributions. These terms do not affect current retirees.

OPSEU president Warren Thomas expressed delight for the agreement and called it a victory for public sector workers.

“Not only have we maintained joint sponsorship of our pension plans, but we have also put mechanisms in place that will make sure these plans remain funded and even allow for expansion and portability,” Thomas said in a press release. “We recognize the financial difficulties the government is facing. However, our goal all along was to allow our members control of the pensions that they themselves have paid for year after year.”

OPSEU region 5 vice president Nancy Pridham said the unity among the leaders of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union Pension Plan (OPT), the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) and the Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Pension Plan ensured the agreement’s viability.

“We stuck together and sent a clear message that we were going to maintain joint control of our plans and have a real voice in how the plans are managed,” Pridham said. “We achieved that, and also thwarted the possibility of the plans being merged into one big pool which would have been a disservice to the members.”

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