OMERS Gambling with Hard-Earned Employee Pensions

OMERS released their 2020 report which outlined among other things their investment results and funded status. OMERS or the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System manages the pension plans of the thousands of transit operators and maintenance workers who make up the ATU. 

In an email to members, the OMERS Stakeholder Relations Team said that this report is “a continued demonstration of our commitment to improve engagement” and transparency with all stakeholders. The report however would suggest otherwise. 

As a result of poor investment decisions by OMERS executives, OMERS saw a net loss of 2.7% on their investment returns falling far short of their yearly goal, making this their worst year since the 2008 financial crisis. In the report, they blame their losses on the COVID-19 pandemic and country-wide lockdowns but OMERS has a long history of mismanaging workers pensions well before the pandemic began. 

We know that this is not simply a result of downward economic trends but a lack of care for the lives and livelihoods of the hundreds of thousands of pensions that executives manage. We will not allow OMERS to simply evade scrutiny for gambling with the hard-earned pensions of our members across this country. 

Along with other unions and leaders in the labour movement, we are calling for a full review of the investment decisions made by OMERS in recent years and its full disclosure to plan members. If OMERS executives are truly interested in transparency they will oblige. 

John Di Nino, President

ATU Canada