The COVID-19 crisis has impacted us all. It has called us to the frontlines of an unparalleled public health crisis and temporarily, though dramatically, changed our world.

That’s why on March 25th, CUPE Ontario sent the OMERS SC Board a letter requesting the postponement of their planned June vote to remove guaranteed indexing from the pension plan.

Unfortunately, CUPE Ontario has been informed OMERS still plans to go ahead with the vote in June despite the unprecedented public health crisis that is confronting, and rightfully, fully occupying us all.

We think that’s wrong. 

Sign the letter below, urging the OMERS Sponsors Corporation (SC) Board to postpone the June vote to remove guaranteed indexing from our pension plan.

Dear members of the OMERS SC Board,

I am an OMERS plan member and I am writing to urge you to postpone the vote to remove guaranteed indexing from my pension plan currently scheduled for June.

OMERS plan members, like me, are on the frontline of the COVID-19 fight in Ontario.

We are public health workers, paramedics, and long-term care workers treating the sick. We are custodians and maintenance workers, deep cleaning our schools and municipal buildings. We are child protection workers, supporting vulnerable families. We are public education workers, developing the tools and programs to support students learning at home. We are the ones making sure Ontarians have clean water, hydro, safe roads, public transit, and solid waste collection.

OMERS plan members deserve to know our pension plan will not be changed – like having guaranteed indexing eliminated – while we are preoccupied with the COVID-19 crisis.

This crisis also means the OMERS SC Board is no longer able to directly and fully engage with plan members like me on the proposal to remove guaranteed indexing.

While emails and web broadcasts offer opportunities to receive information, they in no way meet the threshold of direct engagement with plan members and Sponsors. This is especially true since not all members of OMERS have equal access to home-based technology and those who do, increasingly find those resources stretched to meet their families immediate work-at-home and learn at home needs.

Until such time as we can safely meet in person, attend plan member events, and fully engage on these proposed changes, the OMERS SC Board should postpone any votes on proposed plan changes.

As a plan member, I received OMERS recent communication, informing me that OMERS is fully focused on delivering pension services to members and ensuring the long-term health of my investments in these unprecedented financial times. This is what I would expect of a major pension plan like OMERS during these difficult times.

But I was disappointed that communication did not include a notification the OMERS SC Board was postponing the June vote on proposed plan changes. At a time when literally everything else in the world that requires face to face contact is being postponed, why is the OMERS SC Board is considering continuing with this vote without in-person consultations with members, Sponsors or even amongst Board members?

OMERS plan members deserve to know that plan changes, which could eliminate future pension benefits, will not be pushed through during an unprecedented public health crisis when our attention is rightfully focused on ensuring the safety of all Ontarians. We deserve to know our voices will be heard and our pension plan will engage with us, fully, on any proposed changes.

I join others in urging the OMERS SC Board to postpone this vote until there can be full, meaningful, and direct engagement with all plan members.

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cc: Michael Latimer, OMERS CEO

Blake Hutcheson, OMERS President

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