Taking action to preserve high-quality, sustainable pensions for the Ontario university sector

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The Executive has identified pensions as a priority area for OCUFA this academic year. In order to support all faculty associations in their pension needs, OCUFA staff monitor pension regulations, solvency reviews, and related government initiatives to update OCUFA members about the implications of these changes. In addition, OCUFA is working closely with legal and actuarial consultants to identify new pension priorities and strategies for our member organizations. In the next few months, we anticipate that OCUFA will offer pre-bargaining sessions around pensions and an educational workshop.

Building a voluntary multi-employer jointly sponsored pension plan

The call for a sector-wide pension plan for Ontario universities is growing louder each month. The advantages of pooling resources to provide high-quality, secure pensions are well documented—and strongly supported by the provincial government. From the promotion of jointly sponsored pension plans (JSPPs) for the broader public sector in the 2014 Budget, to the ongoing support for the multi-employer JSPP initiative by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, the consolidation of university pension plans has been high on the agenda. OCUFA remains committed to supporting faculty associations interested in joining an existing JSPP, creating a new JSPP for the sector (the UPP), and those who want to maintain their existing arrangements.

Following years of intense consultation and collaboration involving university administrations, faculty associations, and other labour partners, the UPP has been developing as a multi-employer JSPP model that has the potential to be a true win-win for the sector. This model, as it is currently envisioned, offers a collective solution that will:

  • Provide plan members with a high-quality, secure, sustainable defined benefit pension;
  • Require employers and employees to share in both plan governance and costs;
  • Meet requirements for solvency funding exemption, allowing for more predictable, stable costs and contribution levels, and for university funding to be focused on the university’s core mission;
  • Take advantage of economies and efficiencies of scale to reduce investment management fees and plan administration costs, and provide top-quality member services; and
  • Allow universities to get out of the pension business so they can focus their time, energy and resources on delivering education and conducting research.

To learn more about OCUFA’s pension work, look for updates on ocufa.on.ca.

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