TORONTO, ON – The revelation that the public sector pension plan, OMERS has been using tax havens to avoid their tax obligation has come as a shock to CUPE Ontario that represents the largest group of the pension plans membership. Tax avoidance is no way to fund a pension plan, says Fred Hahn, the union’s president.
“No worker wants their retirement pension to be funded at the expense of community services or the wages of other workers,” says Hahn. “As we age, our need for public services like health care actually go up. We still need our roads and bridges, we want good schools and child care for our grandkids. It is not acceptable that our pension plan is trying to avoid paying the very taxes that fund the services we need.”
CUPE members make up 40 percent of the members in the OMERS pension plan, that is one of seven pension plans mentioned in the Paradise Papers.
“It’s simply false to say that a pension plan has to practice unethical investment behaviour in order to make the necessary financial returns to meet pension needs of our retirees,” says Hahn. “It is absolutely unacceptable that our pension plan is complicit in the corporate world view that it’s ok not to pay taxes.”
“The current corporate culture that believes making money is more important than what money is used for has left workers struggling and has eroded the quality of our public services,” says Hahn. “We can and must invest in ways that benefit the people and the bottom line. As the largest member in the OMERS pension plan we believe strongly that the deferred wages of CUPE members lead the way in adhering to these standards.”
On behalf of his members, Hahn intends to raise his concerns with the OMERS administration and will be demanding answers.
CUPE is Ontario’s community union, with more than 260,000 members providing quality public services we all rely on, in every part of the province, every day. CUPE Ontario members are proud to work in social services, health care, municipalities, school boards, universities and airlines.
For more information, contact: Sarah Jordison, CUPE Communications, 416-578-5638