CUPE Ontario salutes Cancel the Cuts campaigners and their victory for pension fairness

TORONTO – CUPE Ontario is marking the end of 2023 with a shout-out to the determined CUPE members who belong to the OMERS (Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System) pension plan: this year, these members ran a successful campaign, Cancel the Cuts, and their activism has ensured that no reductions will be made to their OMERS pensions.

Their campaign began as a fightback against anticipated reductions to the pensions of OMERS retirees. For two years, OMERS’ Sponsors Corporation (SC) had been conducting a review, which it called “plan risk assessment” of the pension plan. The review was carried out in secret and behind closed doors, leading plan members to suspect that cuts were in the works.

The Cancel the Cuts campaign was created in early 2023, with CUPE Ontario working alongside fellow plan sponsor OPSEU/SEFPO. The campaign trained dozens of pension activists to mobilize plan members to fight any proposals for changes to OMERS. They held meetings with workplace colleagues, worked with CUPE locals to pass resolutions against cuts to OMERS, and gathered signatures on petitions.

Victory came in late fall when, after the years-long review, OMERS’ Sponsors Corporation confirmed that no cuts would be made to the existing plan.

“We knew that there was no case to be made that could justify cuts to members’ pensions. Cancel the Cuts was a sign to OMERS that it would have a fight on its hands if it had gone ahead with changes,” said CUPE Ontario president Fred Hahn.

“All signs were pointing to the sponsors corporation’s review being a justification of cuts to workers’ pensions. But union members weren’t going to stand for that: they got involved, they mobilized, they spoke to other plan members, and they showed OMERS that it would have a fight on its hand if it tried to cut our pensions.”

Hahn spoke with pride of the work by CUPE members to ensure no cuts were made to the plan.

“This year saw a major win for all OMERS plan members. We are all deeply grateful to the activists who spoke up to defend their and their colleagues’ pensions. The lesson we hope the SC has learned is that they can’t say they’ve consulted us and then do whatever they want – unions should have a direct and unencumbered voice at the table, and we won’t be satisfied until we get it.”


For more information:

Mary Unan, CUPE Communications, 647-390-9839, [email protected]

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OMERS Backgrounder-EN

OMERS Background-EN

Informations Background  information on our campaign

In 2020, the OMERS Sponsors Corporation board of directors – our pension plan’s decision-making body — voted to eliminate guaranteed indexing for service worked after January 1, 2023. That’s a cut that directly affects your retirement security.

Now the board for the OMERS Sponsors Corporation is in the process of reviewing further changes to contribution rates and/or benefits based on a top-secret “Plan Risk Assessment” that is being conducted behind closed doors.

OMERS ended 2022 with $124 billion in assets. It grew by 4.2% last year, adding $4.9 billion in investment income to the plan,

OMERS is nearly 100% funded, and not in significant deficit.

The OMERS pension payment formula is already the second lowest among peer plans in Ontario..

Other Ontario public sector pension plans haven’t cut their plan members’ pension benefits. In fact, the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) has significantly improved benefits in recent years.

The goal of the Cancel the Cuts campaign is to make OMERS decision-makers accountable to plan members, our unions, and employers and secure predictable, secure, lifetime pensions for its members.

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