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The Board of Directors of OMERS and CEO Paul Haggis have decided to part ways, two years before the end of Haggiss five-year contract.
Haggiss troubles began soon after arriving at OMERS when the Borealis affair was unraveling. Haggiss move to bring the real estate and infrastructure portfolio back in-house was applauded, but CUPE continued to ask questions regarding this process, including the settlements made with staff. At CUPEs urging, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) made the decision to investigate the Borealis affair.
CUPE then launched a lawsuit aimed at returning to the plan the millions of dollars paid to OMERS vice-presidents that personally benefited from Borealis.
Bill 206 and Supplementals
Bill 206 proved to be the ultimate test for Haggis. Two years ago, CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan warned Haggis that he would be out of work if he was not prepared to work with CUPE and other members in attempting to achieve just governance of the pension plan.
In CUPEs opinion, there was clearly a difference between the Board and Haggis on how to move forward on the implementation of supplemental planning and the new governance model. Throughout the entire Bill 206 process, OMERS provided advice to the government that constantly sought to undermine CUPEs position. The situation did not improve once Bill 206 became law. OMERS has been slow in providing supplementals information and costings required for implementation.
In the meantime, CUPE Ontario has continued to move forward with the bargaining of plan supplementals. Early retirement and enhanced pensions are available as supplemental options. Locals have already begun to work with CUPE Ontario to put supplementals on the bargaining table. We have draft bargaining language and a team that is able to support locals throughout the process. Sid Ryan is also available to attend meetings of locals to explain the supplemental bargaining strategy.
With Haggis gone, CUPE expects to see stakeholders beginning to exert their influence at OMERS. CUPE believes this will assist our members on every front. We are moving into a new era.