Thursday, February 11, 2016

Markets Crash and Bond Yields Down, What About Ontario's Public Sector Pensions?

World stock exchange indexes including the Toronto Stock Exchange index are well down from their recent peaks. Government bond yields are down, even for longer duration bonds. Funding defined benefit pension plans like that for Ontario teachers and OMERS has become considerably more problematic of late.

This Toronto Sun article from May last year, has some interesting information on the funding situation of the Ontario teachers pension plan:

"A $6.8-billion surplus in the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan will be used to restore partial inflation protection for teachers who retired after 2009.

“Pensioners who retired after 2009 will receive a one-time increase in January 2016 to restore their pensions to the levels they would have been at had full inflation protection been provided each year since they retired,” a news release says. “They will also receive a slightly higher inflation increase next year for the portion of their pensions earned after 2009.”"

It is probably likely that the 6.8 billion surplus no longer exists. That's going to be problematic for both the teachers and the province who funds it. If the stock markets bounce back, then it won't be such a big deal, but if Ontario heads into recession things aren't going to be pretty. Given the close ties between the Ontario Liberal government and the teachers' unions this is a file that Ontarians need to watch.

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