Have your say: Should other provinces join the ORPP?

Ontario employers may not be the only ones facing compliance with the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan as the provincial government has floated the option of allowing other provinces to join the plan as well.

“We have provided for in the legislation that will be tabled later today the opportunity for other provinces to join,” said Associate Finance Minister Mitzie Hunter in introducing legislation related to the ORPP last week.

The issue is the subject of the current Benefits Canada online poll. Have your say in the poll. Should other provinces join the ORPP?

The idea comes as governments continue to grapple with whether to enhance the Canada Pension Plan instead. In introducing the ORPP bill last week, Finance Minister Charles Sousa said he’d be meeting with his provincial counterparts in June to discuss solutions for a national retirement plan. From earlier meetings, Sousa said the Atlantic provinces, British Columbia and Quebec seem to be receptive with Saskatchewan showing less enthusiasm.

Read: New ORPP bill includes option for other provinces to join in

During the press conference about the legislation, Hunter also addressed the issue of whether federally regulated employers would participate in the ORPP. She said it’s not possible at the moment but noted Ontario officials are in discussions with the federal government about the issue. But the issue is a concern for some organizations. Last week, the Association of Canadian Pension Management wrote to Finance Minister Bill Morneau to raise its concerns.

“We do not believe it is necessary or appropriate for the government of Canada to abrogate its responsibilities for federally regulated employees,” wrote chief executive officer Bryan Hocking. “Rather, if additional coverage is deemed necessary, Ottawa has the capacity to address it for all federally regulated employees rather than balkanizing coverage for employees subject to federal jurisdiction.”

Hocking noted many federally regulated employers would likely have to participate in the ORPP despite already having pension plans of their own. That’s because the Ontario government assesses comparability with the ORPP at the level of the individual employee. So if an employer has a waiting period for employees to join its pension plan, they’d have to enrol in the ORPP.

As for last week’s poll, which asked whether employers should have to accommodate employees’ non-religious belief systems such as veganism under human rights requirements, a small plurality of respondents said no. Forty-three per cent of respondents agreed that employers can’t account for everything and felt religious beliefs are different from practices such as veganism.

Forty-one per cent of respondents believe employers should have to make accommodations while just 16 per cent said it depends on the circumstances.

Read: Should you accommodate vegan employees?