June 16, 2020

By Email

OMERS Sponsors Corporation {SC) Board C/0 Michael Rolland, OMERS SC Board CEO.

Dear Mr. Rolland:

Re: COVID-19 and Proposed Changes to OMERS Plan

I am writing on behalf of the Civic Institute of Professional Personnel {CIPP) to request that, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the OMERS Sponsor Corporation Board postpone its June 24, 2020 vote on proposed changes to the OMERS Plan Text (“Plan”) which include an important proposal to eliminate guaranteed indexing in the Plan.

I am also writing to advise that CIPP and its members have grave concerns that both the existing OMERS structure and the way it has been operated and administered by the SC is in violation of their right to freedom of association under section 2{d) of the Charter. As it stands, CIPP is not only prevented from bargaining on one of the most important components of its members’ compensation but also has little, if any, influence in the governance structure. To add insult to injury, CIPP and its members have been provided with very little information on significant and detrimental changes to OMERS such as the current proposal to remove guaranteed indexing and last year’s changes to the governance structure. Having regard to the more expansive approach taken by the courts to section 2{d) of the Charter in recent years, CIPP believes that the OMERS structure is vulnerable to legal challenge.

CIPP represents over 2000 active contributing members of OMERS, and the issue of guaranteed indexing is of vital importance to its members. Based on the limited information that is available to CIPP, I understand that the current proposal regarding guaranteed indexing is very similar in nature to the proposals that have been made on two previous occasions and which

CIPP members have vigorously opposed. I further understand the SC has not provided sufficient information about whether there is an actuarial basis for the proposed changes. In addition, the SC has refused to release projections about how much indexation members could expect to receive under this proposal and which would shed light on the impact that these changes could have on members if they are passed.

CIPP members are entitled to have their voices heard about this proposal, which will have long lasting and detrimental impacts on them as OMERS members. However, it is not possible for CIPP to effectively communicate with its members in the midst of the pandemic. CIPP members, many of whom are front line workers, are making important contributions to the COVID-19 response on behalf of the City of Ottawa. Among many other things, CIPP members have been integral in providing public health services, emergency medical services, and ensuring that municipal services continue to be delivered to the people of Ottawa, including its most vulnerable residents. As well, CIPP members, like other members of our society, are preoccupied with myriad health, financial and other issues for themselves, families and loved ones which have been created by the COVID-19 crisis. Simply put, this is not the time to rush proposals to a vote without disclosing the full details and impacts of the proposed changes to stakeholders or providing an opportunity for meaningful consultation.

CIPP has expressed urgent concerns for at least two years about the OMERS governance structure and the way that it has been administered. Its members are legislatively required to be members of OMERS, which is one of the most important benefits that their employment provides and their best hope for a safe and secure retirement. However, as noted above, CIPP members have neither the ability to bargain their benefits under the Plan nor do they have a direct voice in the governance of the Plan. Over the years, CIPP and its members have been provided with very little information and almost no meaningful input into decisions about the Plan which have a significant impact on their total compensation. Instead of listening to those concerns, the SC recently instigated changes to the governance structure which makes the decision-making process even less transparent and open to input from bargaining agents that do not have representation on the Board such as CIPP.

The current situation is yet another example of how both the OMERS structure itself and the way that it is being administered operates to the detriment and disadvantage of CIPP members. As indicated, it may well violate the Charter guaranteed right of freedom of association that allows CIPP m embers the opportunity to negotiate significant terms and conditions of their employment.

While these legal issues may ultimately have to end up in court, for now I would respectfully insist that you do the right thing and at least postpone the vote scheduled for June 24, 2020 until after the pandemic subsides. At the same time, I ask that you immediately release all details of the proposed changes to the Plan and engage in meaningful consultation with all member representatives and stakeholders.


Executive Director, CIPP

Jamie Dunn


cc        CIPP Board of Directors

OMERS Unions

Goldblatt Partners