CANADA - Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) president Roger Anderson said the province was rushing a bill which overhauls the management of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) without considering the best interests of employees.
Bill 206 would see the Ontario government removed as plan sponsor of OMERS and replaced by a sponsors corporation, made up of an equal number of employer and employee representatives.
The controversial part of the Bill surrounds the supplemental pension plans: stand-alone registered pension plans that would offer benefits not available in the OMERS basic pension plan, and would be negotiated between individual employers and eligible employees.
According to OMERS, the cost to administer the supplemental plans on an ongoing basis will be borne by the supplemental plan participants. Those who did not participate in a supplemental plan would not pay for these administrative costs.
But the AMO cited actuarial data provided by OMERS, which estimated the Bill would impose supplemental pension benefits for select employees as high as C$380m in new labour costs on municipal property taxpayers.
Ontario municipalities are profoundly concerned about the impact of Bill 206,” said Anderson. The Province is rushing to reform one of Canada's most important pension funds without a reasonable understanding of the potential repercussions and without sufficient regard to the best interests of employees, retirees, employers and taxpayers, he said.
The province is ignoring the concerns and best interests of communities, seniors and property taxpayers in general.
Anderson said the OMERS pension plan was already one of the most generous pension plans in Canada. “Municipal taxpayers, particularly pensioners on fixed incomes, should not have to pay higher property taxes to fund even greater benefits for a select few,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Union of Public Employees claimed the bill would not hold pension managers accountable and did not give the union enough say.
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