Last week, OCUFA participated in consultations with the Associate Minister of Finance and submitted a formal written brief regarding the provincial government’s proposed Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP). Our presentation and submission focused on the needs and concerns of the growing ranks of contract faculty at Ontario’s universities and the potential for them to benefit immensely from the establishment of a wide-reaching ORPP.
Whereas full-time tenure stream faculty have access to workplace pension plans, contract faculty often do not have access to a pension, or can only participate in their university’s pension plan after they have met certain eligibility thresholds (difficult when working sporadic hours or at a variety of institutions). Even once these thresholds have been met, participation is elective rather than mandatory and it can be challenging for contract faculty to accumulate adequate retirement savings as a result of insufficient pay or hours.
For this reason, OCUFA has advocated for the creation of an ORPP that is as close to universal as feasible, designed to maximize coverage for as many workers as possible. A more universal ORPP will ensure that those in need of support are included in the plan and will facilitate the portability of pension savings from one workplace to another.
With the incidence of casualized work on the rise throughout the university sector and the economy as a whole, a near-universal ORPP will have the greatest benefit to all Ontarians.