Dispute Resolution/Appeals Process
OPTrust is responsible for the administration of the OPSEU Pension Plan (the “Plan”). In this role, OPTrust ensures that benefit entitlements are paid in accordance with the terms of the Plan and applicable legislation while also ensuring that members of the Plan are treated in a consistent and fair manner.
If Plan members or beneficiaries have any questions about their pension benefits or the terms of the Plan, most inquiries can be resolved by contacting OPTrust. Our Member Experience team is always available to help.
However, on occasion, members or beneficiaries may disagree with a decision made by OPTrust or have a concern with OPTrust’s administration of the Plan or their pension entitlement and wish to escalate the matter. If this occurs, OPTrust has a two-step process you should follow.
Step 1: Request a Formal Review
You may request that OPTrust senior staff review your concern or complaint. To request a review, contact Member Experience and clearly outline the nature of the issue and the resolution you are seeking. Before conducting our review, OPTrust may ask you for additional documentation.
OPTrust typically completes its review within 30 days but the length of time required may vary depending on the nature of the issue and whether we need to obtain further information from you, or other sources such as your employer. Once the review is complete, you will receive a written response summarizing our findings.
Almost all concerns are resolved at Step 1. However, if you are unsatisfied with the outcome of the Formal Review you can request that your case be heard by OPTrust’s Adjudication Panel. The adjudication process is outlined below.
Step 2: Adjudication Process
The adjudication process is available to Plan members, former members, divested members, pensioners and beneficiaries of the Plan or individuals who allege they are beneficiaries of the Plan.
The dispute must involve an administrative matter which affects your rights, entitlements or benefits under the Plan, and you must have exhausted any possible resolution at the OPTrust staff level (Step 1) before escalating the matter to the Adjudication Panel (the “Panel”).
OPTrust’s General Counsel is responsible for determining whether the matter you are raising is within the scope of the adjudication process. You will be informed if it is determined that the matter is not within scope. As an example, requests that would result in a resolution that would not comply with the legislation under which OPTrust is governed would not be considered for adjudication.
The Panel consists of four members of OPTrust’s Board of Trustees, two appointees of OPSEU and two appointees of the Government of Ontario. The Panel is responsible for overseeing the adjudication process and will consider your dispute as an impartial adjudicator. The Panel may engage independent legal counsel to assist it in its deliberations if it wishes.
To initiate the process, you will be asked to provide a written submission to OPTrust that clearly identifies the administrative decision, action or issue giving rise to the request, and the remedy or solution being sought. You may retain legal counsel or engage the assistance of your employer or union representative (or another expert) to act on your behalf at your own expense. If you choose to have someone represent you or act on your behalf you will need to provide written consent to OPTrust authorizing us to share any confidential information with that person.
OPTrust staff will prepare a written response to any submission within 60 days. You will be provided with a copy of OPTrust’s submission and have the opportunity to respond if you choose. The submissions made by you or your representative and OPTrust staff will then be provided to the Panel.
If you wish, the Panel may convene a meeting to discuss the matter and you and/or your representative(s) may attend the meeting to make an oral argument. If no meeting is requested, the Panel will decide the issue based on the written submissions.
The submission and/or hearing process will be coordinated by OPTrust’s Corporate Secretary who will ensure that all parties are given appropriate notice of any time limits and meetings.
After the Panel has finished deliberating you will be advised of their decision in writing.
The Panel’s decision is final and cannot be appealed by you or OPTrust staff. However, if you disagree with the Panel you may still escalate your concern to the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) if you feel it is warranted.