Pension Connection Summer 2013, Number 59
In this issue:
- Building Retirement Security: Report to Pensioners 2012
- Facts about…Planning for your survivors
- OPSEU appoints Linda MacKinnon to the Board
- Employee profile: April Robinson
- You asked...
- OPTrust shortlisted for responsible investment reporting award
- Reminder: Great-West Life Claims for 2012
- Ditch the paper and go green
- Your online resource: Retirement income calculator
- Seniors Canada online resources
- Your OPTrust advantage
- 6 reasons to use secure Online Services
Building Retirement Security:
Report to Pensioners 2012
Want to know how your pension plan is addressing the funding impact of our 2008 investment loss? Interested in how OPTrust is building retirement security for the long term? Looking for the latest on OPTrust’s investment performance?
Just download the Report to Pensioners 2012 for key statistics on the financial performance of the OPSEU Pension Plan and news on how we serve you and our 84,000 other members and retirees.
Facts about...Planning for your survivors
No one wants to think about their death, but preparing in advance for it may help your loved ones. Knowing what information your family or friends will need and who will receive survivor benefits, including your OPTrust pension, will help ease some of the burden during a difficult time. We recommend that you share this information with your loved ones.
Who receives survivor benefits?
Usually, your surviving spouse will receive survivor benefits when you die. Like your own pension, your spouse's survivor pension is reduced to reflect CPP integration on what would have been your 65th birthday.
But you may not have a spouse or your spouse may have waived the entitlement to survivor benefits. Your survivor benefits are then paid to eligible children, other beneficiaries or to your estate.
What your survivors need to know
When you die, a family member or another authorized person should contact us immediately. We will provide them with assistance during this difficult period.
|We need to know
If you have basic life insurance through Great-West Life, there is a $2,000 life insurance benefit payable to your designated beneficiary.
OPTrust will send the claim form to the person who is handling your estate.
The executor or administrator must then mail the completed form to Great-West Life. They will then send a cheque to your beneficiary. It takes approximately three weeks for Great-West Life to send the basic life insurance cheque. If you do not have a named beneficiary on the policy, the benefit is payable to your estate.
The most important information we need is banking information for your survivor (i.e. account number for direct deposit of the payments).
The financial institution can help with this when your survivor is ready to deal with it, but until this is done, OPTrust can send the pension cheques to your survivor by regular mail.
When your eligible spouse dies
If your eligible spouse dies before you, please notify OPTrust so we can adjust our records accordingly. In this case, there is no change in the pension you are receiving. At the same time, you should also update your beneficiary information for basic life insurance through Great-West Life insurance.
Eligible spouse — a spouse is defined as someone of the same or opposite sex, with whom you:
- are married
- are living together in a conjugal, common-law relationship, for at least three years
- in a relationship of some permanence and are the natural or adoptive parents of a child.
Note: A common-law spouse is eligible only if the member common-law spouse is not still legally married to another person.
Eligible child — Under the OPSEU Pension Plan, a child is eligible to receive survivor benefits if: the child is under the age of 18, or if over 18, is in continuous full-time attendance at a secondary school or, immediately following secondary school is attending a post-secondary institution to a maximum of five years.
OPSEU appoints Linda MacKinnon to the Board
Linda MacKinnon was appointed by OPSEU to the Board of Trustees in February 2013 for a two-year term.
MacKinnon is a Senior Law Clerk with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). Before embarking on a second career with the Ontario Public Service in 2001, she worked for 33 years in education as a teacher, school principal and Superintendent of Education – with 14 years in management positions.
During a secondment from the AGCO in 2007, MacKinnon was the lead panelist on the School Community Safety Advisory Panel that investigated the shooting death of student Jordan Manners at C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute in Toronto.
MacKinnon is a strong union activist and has held several roles with OPSEU and the Ontario Teachers’ Federation (OTF). She is a member of OPSEU’s Greater Toronto Area Council Executive, and has served as chief steward for OPSEU Local 565 since 2008 representing employees at the AGCO. During her teaching career, MacKinnon was a chief negotiator, local president, provincial treasurer and Provincial Second Vice-President with the OTF before moving to a senior management position in 1982.
She is past Chair of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Humane Society (THS) and Association for the Reform of the Toronto Humane Society (ART), which led the successful court challenge against the longstanding incumbent board’s animal welfare practices and fiduciary care to hold a court-supervised election after the 15-member board were charged with animal cruelty.
MacKinnon’s community service work includes chairing four United Way campaigns, and she is currently a labour representative for a United Way of Greater Toronto Citizen Budget Panel. She has served on the Boards of the Timmins District Hospital and Kingston General Hospital.
Pension Benefits Consultant at OPTrust
When members have questions about their OPTrust pensions, April Robinson has the answers. April is part of a team of frontline staff in our Member and Pensioner Services department dedicated to providing prompt, personalized service with one goal in mind: building retirement security for 84,000 members and retirees.
“Our members count on us to help them make important decisions about their financial futures. So we’re always looking at ways to enhance the level of service we provide and tailor the information and services we deliver to the needs of our members and retirees.”
Question: Does the Plan’s funding agreement mean my pension could be reduced?
Answer: No. Under the framework agreement and Ontario’s Pension Benefits Act, the pensions paid to current retirees cannot be reduced. This protection also applies to the deferred pensions of former and divested OPTrust members, and the pensions active members have earned for their service to date.
For our current retirees, this means there will be no change in your monthly pension amount, and your pension will continue to be adjusted annually to keep pace with inflation.
Question: Where can I find out what OPTrust invests in?
Answer: OPTrust lists the Fund’s significant investments of over $100 million on our public website under the Investment section. You can also read more about OPTrust’s investment performance in our 2012 Annual Report, including case studies of our investments. The Report to Pensioners 2012 is available online, too.
Question: I plan to move to Florida in the fall. Can my OPTrust pension be deposited to a U.S. bank account?
Answer: Yes. Your OPTrust pension payment can be deposited to a U.S. bank account. You can notify OPTrust through your secure Online Services account or by completing a Personal Information Change Request form. Remember to update your new home mailing address too.
Question: Can you tell me what my annual pension amount is, including the inflation adjustment?
Answer: Yes. OPTrust provides pensioners with a Pensioner Information Change Statement, which is issued every January, and whenever there is a change in your monthly payment (e.g. inflation adjustment, change in insured benefits premiums, new tax rates, etc). The statement shows your monthly gross pension, income tax and other deductions and net pension payment. Pensioners with an Online Services account can check their statements each month.
Retiree profiles: Share your story
What are you doing in retirement? Do you have retirement advice for other pensioners? We want to learn more about how your OPTrust pension fits in to your overall retirement.
Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, and your story may be featured in a future issue of Pension Connection.
OPTrust shortlisted for responsible investment reporting award
OPTrust is honoured to be the only Canadian pension plan shortlisted for a new global award to recognize excellence in responsible investment reporting, the RI Reporting Award for best responsible investment report by a small or medium-sized pension fund.
As a major Canadian institutional investor, OPTrust is a signatory to the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment and has implemented a range of specific measures to identify, monitor and mitigate environmental, social and governance-related issues, as part of our investment activities.
Learn more about OPTrust’s responsible investing at www.optrust.com.
Reminder: Great-West Life Claims for 2012
If you have not submitted your 2012 insured benefits claims to Great-West Life, you still have time. All claims for the previous year must be received by Great-West Life on or before December 31, 2013.
You can download the claim forms from Great-West Life’s website at www.greatwestlife.com and mail the forms to their office. You can also view and submit your claims online with GroupNet – Great-West Life’s online service for members.
For tech savvy retirees on the go, Great-West Life offers GroupNet Mobile, which you can download to your smartphone. With the app, you can use your mobile device to:
- submit claims online
- access personalized coverage information about benefits, claims and more
- locate the nearest provider who has access to Provider eClaims through their built-in GPS mapping tool.
If you have any questions please contact Great-West Life at 1-800-957-9777. Please do not send your claim to OPTrust, we cannot guarantee it will arrive before the deadline.
Ditch the paper and go green
Help reduce OPTrust's environmental footprint by opting to receive Pension Connection and other communications electronically, rather than in print. When you log in to your secure account, you can change your "communications preferences" to receive news and information online only.
Registered users are increasingly using Online Services to view their pension statements, with total statement views growing to just over 60,000 during 2012, up more than 5,000 views from the previous year.
- more than 13,000 individual transactions were completed through Online Services in 2012
- OPTrust received more than 8,000 secure messages through the site last year
- users gave the site an overall satisfaction score of 8.6 out of 10.
Seniors Canada online resources
Looking for volunteer opportunities? Want more information on government programs for retirees? The Government of Canada offers a range of online information for retirees looking for information on federal and provincial programs and services, including:
- CPP and OAS benefits
- volunteer opportunities
- health and wellness
- seniors’ networks.
To find out more, visit the Seniors Canada website at www.seniors.gc.ca.
Your online resource: Retirement income calculator
Did you know you can go online and estimate how your OPTrust pension changes when you start your CPP pension?
OPTrust’s online retirement income calculator is retirement planning tool designed for you to compare a range of possibilities and estimate your potential retirement income from all sources
While online, you can find out how:
- integration with CPP changes your OPTrust pension at age 65
- taking CPP early will affect your total retirement income, before and after age 65
- OAS payments at age 65 could add to your total retirement income.
The calculator will help you estimate your retirement income when deciding whether to take CPP early or at age 65.
To use the retirement income calculator, you will need to enter the current date as your “Projected Retirement Date.”
Watch this space: www.optrust.com
OPTrust is set to unveil its newly redesigned website this summer.
Our popular website is getting a modern facelift to serve you better. Stay tuned for our new look.
Your OPTrust advantage
Ever wondered how the pension contributions you paid during your career add up in retirement? You may be surprised to learn what the value of your OPTrust pension benefit may be over the course of your lifetime.
The OPSEU Pension Plan is a defined benefit pension plan. This means that you receive a lifetime retirement pension based on a formula that takes into account your salary and credit when you were an active member. Now that you’re retired, you can count on your OPTrust pension to provide you with a predictable income payable for your lifetime.
Ressources disponibles en français
Êtes-vous un participant ou une participante bilingue? Préféreriez-vous recevoir La filière des pensions en français? Vous pouvez choisir une version électronique ou imprimée. Si vous voulez une copie de la version française de La filière des pensions, veuillez envoyer un courriel à email@example.com ou ouvrir une session dans votre compte de Services en ligne pour transmettre un message sécurisé à la FRRS.
6 reasons to use secure Online Services
OPTrust’s Online Services site gives you secure access to your personal pension information at any time and it offers a range of features.
- check and update your beneficiary information
- update your address and other contact information
- communicate through secure e-mail messages regarding your pension
- update your income tax and banking information
- view your insured benefits coverage information
- view your current Pensioner Information Change Statement.
The information you provide through Online Services is safe and secure. Behind the scenes, Online Services is a protected environment that meets the highest internet security standards. Log on or register today.