On June 29, CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn appeared before the City of Toronto’s General Government and Licensing Committee to discuss our members’ concerns with the investment failures at OMERS and CUPE’s campaign to Fix OMERS.
In front of City Councillors and a virtual room full of OMERS executives and Board members, Fred gave an overview of CUPE’s work on this issue. He described the CUPE report on OMERS investments entitled “Not Just One ‘Tough Year’: The Need for a Review of OMERS Investment Performance.” Fred described how our report shows that OMERS’ investment returns have significantly underperformed other major defined benefit pension plans and funds over the long-term, both before the pandemic and including 2020. He also described how OMERS is underperforming its own internal benchmarks over 5 and 10 year periods – facts which are not disclosed in OMERS’ annual reporting.
The City of Toronto, like CUPE Ontario, is a “Sponsor” of the OMERS pension plan. CUPE Ontario has been calling on other Sponsors and representatives of plan members to join in our call for an expert, independent review of the investment failures at OMERS. Achieving strong investment returns is an issue that unions like CUPE and employers, like the City of Toronto, have a shared interest in.
Despite the efforts of OMERS to convince the Committee that there is nothing to worry about, the Committee clearly seemed to have questions and concerns. The Committee unanimously passed a resolution, advanced by Councillor Paul Ainslie, that demands significant new and more frequent disclosure from OMERS on issues of investment performance, including the plan’s relative performance to other major plans and funds. The entire Toronto City Council then adopted this resolution without amendment on July 14.
CUPE welcomes the City of Toronto’s call for increased transparency and disclosure from OMERS, recognizing it as a clear signal that employers share our concerns about OMERS’ investment record.
CUPE Ontario continues to discuss these issues with Sponsors and representatives of plan members from both sides of the table. It is clear to us that the concerns we have are shared by many groups, both employers and unions.