'Could save taxpayers the cost of high management fees associated with the private sector insurance business and make pension coverage more effective and affordable.'
Toronto (11 Jan. 2011) - The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) is calling for the creation of an Ontario Pension Agency (OPA) to give all workers better and more reliable pension coverage.
"Like the broader population, OPSEU’s membership suffers from the division between those with large, stable defined benefit (DB) plans and those with less secure or no pension coverage," the union says in submission to the finance ministry in response to its discussion paper Securing our Retirement Future.
"We note that coverage for casualized work forces is almost non-existent. Employers continue to deny their part-time, temporary and sessional workers access to a pension plan. And yet the numbers of these workers are growing. This is particularly the case in the developmental services sector where ‘part-time’ may mean one hour less than regular full-time workers. There is virtually no difference except that one has benefits and in some cases the numbers of part-time and casual workers vastly outnumber full-time workers," the brief says.
"These employers are not going to pay for a pension for their part-timers unless it is mandatory to do so. Nor, we are told, will the government pay increased transfer payments to public sector agencies."
OPSEU says the problem extends "across all sectors" of the labour market in Ontario.
"OPSEU’s position is that employers should have to provide pensions to part-time workers when part-time workers elect to have a pension (as in Manitoba’s pension law). This solves the problem for those part-time and contract workers in a workplace where there is already a pension plan like, for example, universities and hospitals," the union notes.
"But we also need a vehicle where workers can ‘park’ their stranded pensions, or where employers can remit pension contributions, or where people can save. This would need to be one of the ‘opt-out’ options for part-time workers who work in two or three workplaces," it argues.
"This could be an Ontario Pension Agency (OPA) which as a non-profit agency could, in net costs, save taxpayers the cost of high management fees associated with the private sector insurance business and make pension coverage more effective and affordable."
OPSEU says an OPA could function as "a large multi-employer pension plan offering target benefits to all those with scattered or no pension coverage" and could be structured to provide ‘opt-out’ plan membership to all those who are not plan members otherwise.
The full brief is available at the link below.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE