OCUFA welcomed the announcement on June 20 that Finance Ministers have reached an agreement on modest expansion to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). University professors and academic librarians have long supported the expansion of public pensions to provide dignity and a decent standard of life in retirement. A commitment to CPP expansion means that plans for an Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) will not be continued.
In the absence of federal government commitment to improving retirement security, Ontario had been pursuing its own provincial plan – the ORPP – since 2014. OCUFA supported the ORPP as a second best option when CPP talks were stalled. OCUFA had been advocating for an ORPP that was universal to maximize coverage for as many workers as possible. A universal ORPP would have facilitated the portability of pension savings from one workplace to another, and created the greatest benefit to those in precarious jobs, including contract faculty. However, recent announcements had indicated the ORPP would not be universal and it was not clear whether contract faculty – even those without a workplace pension – would have been eligible.
The agreement reached on CPP expansion falls short of the doubling of benefits that faculty had been calling for, but it will be universal and provide portability for workers between jobs. For the growing number of contract faculty at Ontario universities, who too often do not have access to workplace pension plans, an expanded universal public pension represents a step towards more security in retirement.
OCUFA is also working with many of our member associations to develop strategies and solutions to support contract faculty access to workplace pension plans.