Pension Connection Summer 2015, Number 63
In this issue:
- OPTrust joins institutional investors on climate change action
- 20 Years of Delivering the Promise
Report to Pensioners 2014
- Celebrating 20 years of excellence
- Facts about… Starting your pension
- OPTrust achieves Centre of Excellence objective
- Hugh O’Reilly addresses C.D. Howe Institute
- You asked...
- Video series helps you with retirement forms
- Share your retirement stories
- Follow us on LinkedIn
- OPTrust shortlisted for Responsible Investment Reporting Award
OPTrust joins institutional investors on climate change action
CEOs from the world’s leading institutional investors – representing more than $12 trillion in assets – including OPTrust have signed an open letter to the G7 Finance Ministers urging them to support the inclusion of a long-term emissions reduction goal in an international climate agreement which is expected to be signed in Paris this December.
The letter outlines the significant systemic risk posed by climate change and states that “with the right market signals from policy makers, investment in low-carbon and climate resilient opportunities can flow and climate impacts and resulting economic damages can be mitigated.”
This is the first time a global coalition of investors has called for a long-term emissions reduction goal to be included in the Paris agreement.
Read the full letter.
Want to know how your pension plan remained fully funded? Interested in how OPTrust is delivering sustainable pension security for the long term? Looking for the latest on OPTrust’s investment performance?
Just turn to the special pullout section inside this newsletter to read the Report to Pensioners 2014. There you’ll find key statistics on the financial performance of the OPSEU Pension Plan and news on how we serve you and our 86,000 other members and retirees.
More information on OPTrust’s strategy and performance is available in our online report at optrustannualreport.com.
Celebrating 20 years of excellence
OPTrust has come a long way in 20 years. In just two decades, the Plan and the organization that supports it have grown from modest beginnings to become one of Canada’s top public sector pension plans. OPTrust at 20 is a sophisticated global investor, a leader in service excellence and one of a select group of pension plans that is fully funded.
As you can see, we’ve had major achievements in the last 20 years. And we’ve never lost sight of our primary goal – to pay pensions today and preserve them for tomorrow. In other words, our 86,000 members can count on us for a predictable, steady stream of retirement income for the rest of their lives.
Starting your pension
As you make the transition from an active member to retiree there are some key facts to know about starting your pension.
OPTrust pensions are effective the first of the month, and paid on or before the 26th of every month. OPTrust provides direct deposit to financial institutions in Canada and the United States.
Monthly deductions from your pension include income tax and, if you qualify, supplementary insurance benefit premiums. If applicable, spousal or child support payments, and additional Canada Revenue Agency deductions may be made.
All OPTrust pensions are adjusted annually for inflation in January for the increase in the cost of living, as measured by the Consumer Price Index.
CANADA PENSION PLAN
If you retire before age 65, OPTrust pays a retirement pension plus a “CPP bridge” pension. The CPP bridge ends at age 65 when your pension is made up of two pieces, the pension from OPTrust and the pension from the Canada Pension Plan.
Access to your secure Online Services account switches to display content for pensioners. Within Online Services you can view your monthly Pension Information Change Statement, update your personal information (e.g. beneficiaries, tax credits, banking information, mailing address), and see your T4A.
OPTrust provides a wide range of information and resources geared for retirees on our website to help you learn more about your pension, including fact sheets, retirement income calculator, videos, forms and more.
When you die, your eligible spouse receives 60% of the pension you were receiving, unless you elected a different survivor pension amount. If you do not have a spouse, any residual benefits are paid to your beneficiaries or estate.
OPTrust achieves Centre of Excellence objective
OPTrust’s Member Services department recently completed its Centre of Excellence project – a two-year initiative focused on enhancing the way it operates though education, innovation and service.
At its core, the Centre of Excellence project has helped to transform the way we provide service to our members. As a result, our service approach has evolved from a focus on transactions to one that is centered on providing our members with a superior customer experience.
As part of this project, our Member Services team identified a number of ways to serve you better. The result? A more streamlined service model that resulted in:
- improvements in how we communicate with you – for example, we added videos and tools to our website so that you can easily get the information you need when you need it
- a move towards counselling members to help you understand the value of your pension and shift from reactive to proactive communications tailored to individual needs
- a greater focus on staff training and development initiatives to ensure that our staff is equipped with a deep understanding of how to anticipate and assess your needs before they arise.
While we have always focused on delivering strong customer service, our Centre of Excellence approach takes it to the next level. We want you to feel that you are valued and respected at all times. Ultimately, our goal is to make your pension plan one of the best service delivery organizations you deal with.
It’s clear our members value the new streamlined model and our personalized approach to customer service. In 2014, we delivered our highest client satisfaction scores to date – an overall score of 8.9 out of 10.
— Audrey Forbes, Vice President, Member Services
Hugh O’Reilly addresses C.D. Howe Institute
In March, Hugh O’Reilly, President and CEO of OPTrust was the keynote speaker at the C.D. Howe Institute Roundtable. Mr. O’Reilly’s speech titled Pensions as Problem Solvers: The Future of Retirement in Ontario outlined the organization’s position on the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan. It also explained how public sector pension plans such as OPTrust can support the province as it moves to redefine the retirement income system.
C.D. Howe Institute roundtable sessions are off-the-record events which encourage business leaders, policy makers and scholars to have frank discussions about thought-provoking issues.
OPTrust posted Mr. O’Reilly’s remarks with the permission of the organizers. The full speech is available online.
You asked... Working after retirement
During retirement, you may decide to return to work. If you work for an employer who does not contribute to the OPSEU Pension Plan, your pension is not affected. If you are re-employed or engaged by an employer who contributes to the Plan, the impact on your pension depends on your salary and whether or not you re-join the Plan.
Question: I’m planning to work part-time in the private sector; will this affect my pension?
Answer: No. As long as the organization you work for does not contribute to the OPSEU Pension Plan, your OPTrust pension is not affected.
Question: How much can I earn before my pension is affected?
Answer: Your monthly pension is subject to an earnings ceiling each calendar quarter (e.g. January – March), if you are re-employed or engaged by an employer who contributes to the Plan and you do not re-join the Plan.
Your employment earnings maximum is determined by subtracting your quarterly OPTrust pension income from your final quarterly pre-retirement earnings. The difference between these two figures is the maximum amount you can earn in a calendar quarter from re-employment before we reduce your pension. This amount is provided on your Pensioner Information Change Statement. The statement is available in your secure Online Services account or by contacting OPTrust.
Question: What happens if I re-join the Plan as a contributing member?
Answer: Your pension payments will stop. When your re-employment ends, your pension will be recalculated to take into account the additional pension service you have accumulated. If you are currently receiving an age-reduced pension and become re-employed and re-join the Plan, please contact us.
Question: I’ve been hired by my former ministry for a short-term contract. Do I need to re-join the Plan?
Answer: You are not required re-join the Plan. However, your monthly pension is subject to an earnings ceiling each calendar quarter. Your re-employment earnings maximum is determined by subtracting your quarterly pension income from your final quarterly pre-retirement earnings. The amount left over is the maximum amount you can earn in a calendar quarter from re-employment before we reduce your pension.
For more information refer to page 18 in our booklet Your Pension during Retirement, available online or print.
Video series helps you with retirement forms
OPTrust has introduced a series of one-minute videos to help you during retirement. The videos show you how to complete:
- Personal Tax Credits forms (TD1 and TD1ON)
- OPTrust’s Pension Beneficiaries form, and
- Great-West Life insured benefits form
The series also provides an overview of additional forms and documents needed to change your personal information on record with OPTrust.
Moving? Don’t forget to tell us
If you are planning to move soon, don’t forget to give OPTrust your new mailing address, and any changes to your phone number, email and banking information. That way we can continue to make your pension payments on time and send you important information about your OPTrust pension.
You can update your new information by:
Share your retirement story
What are you doing in retirement? We want to know. Share your retirement story with OPTrust by email to firstname.lastname@example.org and you may be featured in a future issue of Pension Connection.
Follow us on
Want to stay up-to-date with OPTrust and learn about our latest news or investments? Follow us on LinkedIn and get information about your pension plan every week. From our investment performance to our approach to responsible investing and more you have access to a range of news and events on our LinkedIn page.
Simply go to LinkedIn and search for OPTrust. If you are a LinkedIn member, click the “Follow” button and you will be notified any time new information is posted to our page. We encourage our members to share OPTrust’s news articles, comment on and “Like” our posts because this is your pension plan.
OPTrust shortlisted for Responsible Investment Reporting Award
OPTrust has been shortlisted, for the third consecutive year, for a global award recognizing excellence in responsible investment reporting.
The RI Reporting Awards showcase excellence in responsible investment and environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting encouraging best practice and transparency. Of the more than 1,000 global fund reports analysed, 16 are on the shortlist – eight in the large funds group and eight in the medium and small fund group. OPTrust is the only Canadian plan nominated in the medium and small fund group. Responsible Investor (RI), a dedicated news service on reporting responsible investment, ESG and sustainable finance for institutional investors globally, administers the RI awards.
At OPTrust, we recognize that environmental, social and governance factors can affect investment risk and return. This nomination for excellence in reporting our responsible investing efforts reinforces the value of our approach to transparency and open communication with our stakeholders as well as the wider investment community,” said OPTrust President and CEO Hugh O’Reilly.
As a signatory to the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment, and our commitment to promoting sound corporate governance, OPTrust is committed to reporting to our members, sponsors and other key stakeholders on our responsible investing program.
OPTrust has expanded the Fund’s reporting on our RI activities in our online Responsible Investing Report released in December 2014. The report highlightsour strategy for investing responsibly for long-term sustainability.