CANADA - A number of Canadian worker's unions have called on the Ontario government to stop the "discriminatory and unfair" Bill 206, just days after the Ontario Municipal Employees' Retirement System (OMERS) moved to dispel fears the Bill would harm members' pensions.
The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW), the Municipal Retirees Organisation of Ontario (MROO) and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario said government should stop Bill 206 and set up a process whereby employees and employers could negotiate a workable model for governing the OMERS pension plan
CUPE said the governance model contained in the Bill was discriminatory and unfair, and all the unions agreed reform was necessary on a number of issues.
At the heart of the issue is the fact the Sponsors Corporation would be controlled by a two thirds voting requirement for benefits and contribution rate changes.
“This was not the case in the version of Bill 206 that the government introduced in June and it is plainly an antidemocratic voting requirement that rigs the governance process in favour of a minority and against the majority,” said CUPE. “This is unprecedented in major public sector pension plans across Canada and it will lead to failed decision-making and stalemate.”
Compounding the two thirds voting requirement was a Bill 206 amendment that CUPE said would deny access to mediation and arbitration in the event of a deadlock.
“In the original Bill, mediation and arbitration was loosely based on the Ontario teachers’ plan model, which is what was promised by Dalton McGuinty to the chair of the OMERS Board in October 2002. Because of an amendment at second reading, a majority vote is now required to access this process, which defeats the whole purpose of resolving deadlock.”
Earlier in the week, OMERS had issued a release to calm fears that the Bill would adversely affect member pensions. “There is nothing in Bill 206 that puts the pensions of our members at risk. In fact, this model gives members a voice in making the final decisions on their plan,” said OMERS.
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