For the last 18 months, OMERS has been conducting a review. They call it a “risk assessment,” but, based on OMERS’ past practice, we know it means OMERS decision-makers are considering more cuts to OMERS pension benefits.

Beginning in 2007, there were annual proposals that would have cut your OMERS pension benefits. Workers defeated them by pushing back together.

By 2017-2018, there were major campaign efforts to cut your OMERS benefits. These were unsuccessful because workers stood strong and fought them off.

Then, in 2019, the OMERS Sponsors Corporation board of directors rammed through governance changes. That paved the way for them, in 2020, to take advantage of the chaos we saw during the early days of COVID-19 pandemic and remove the guarantee of indexing for all new pensionable service after January 1 of this year.

For the portions of your pension earned prior to 2023, you were guaranteed to get an increase in your pension payments every year based on the cost of living rising – up to a maximum of six percent per year.

Now, whether the pension you are earning will keep up with inflation is at the whim of the secretive OMERS Sponsors Corporation board. For any pensionable service accrued going forward, the annual cost-of-living increase could be 100%, it could be 0%, or it could be somewhere in between. This could make workers poorer in retirement and there’s no good reason for it.

Does this sound like a done deal?

Well, it’s not.

CUPE Ontario has been providing pension activist training to frontline workers as the way to stop further OMERS cuts. So far, nearly one hundred CUPE members have participated and more are signed up to do the training in April. These activists are now ready to get their locals and employers involved in the campaign.

“While the big bosses at OMERS took home a combined $15.5 million in 2022, the average OMERS NRA65 pensioner got only $21,400 – hardly enough to live on these days,” explains Mike Galipeau, a custodian from Algoma District School Board and an OSBCU member organizer.

“Everyone deserves a sufficient and secure income when they are ready to retire, including you” Mike says. “It’s clear that workers mobilizing can stop pension cuts. So, I’m asking all my coworkers to get involved in this fight to cancel the cuts now.”
If all the unions and the retirees’ group that are represented on the OMERS Sponsors Corporation board stand united, we can defeat any proposals to cut our OMERS pensions. A two-thirds majority vote of the OMERS Sponsors Corporation board is needed to make changes to our benefits and/or contribution rates.

That’s why as part of current campaign, it’s important for all workers in OMERS – school board workers, municipal workers, Children’s Aid Societies’ workers, paramedics, firefighters and police – to join the fight to cancel the cuts.

Cancel the Cuts is just the start of reforming OMERS so that it’s focus is fulfilling the pension promise to workers.

“History is the proof,” observes Mike. “We can stop the latest OMERS cuts and protect retirement security for you, your coworkers and your community.”

“I’m not here just for myself because I could be retired already,” Mike admits. “This is about fairness for young workers too.”
Want to do your part to help stop OMERS pension cuts? Get in touch with the campaign organizers by e-mailing [email protected].