University groups one step closer to forming JSPP

Staff members at three Ontario universities are one step closer to a new jointly sponsored pension plan.

Three faculty groups and three affiliated United Steelworkers local unions for the University of Toronto, University of Guelph and Queen’s University finished voting on June 28 to create the University Pension Plan, a defined benefit arrangement that will have 18,000 members.

In a press release, the union said its goal is to transfer the five existing pension plans into the JSPP by July 1, 2021.

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“University staff are excited to be joining this innovative plan that will offer a secure, defined benefit pension for current and future staff,” said Kelly Orser, president of USW local 2010, which represents staff at Queen’s.

The six groups passed a preliminary vote earlier this year, with members showing overwhelming support for the proposal. In order to go ahead with the plan, other employee groups and retired members of the various plans are required to vote on the new pension.

The UPP is the product of more than two years of consultations and negotiations between USW locals 1998, 4120 and 2010, as well as the faculty associations, university administrations and other stakeholders, noted the release.

Read: Employee groups from Ontario universities vote to form new joint pension

It will provide the employee groups with joint governance over the new plan, which USW said was a “key aspect” missing from each of the university pension plans.

Once the UPP is established, it will be open to other university staff groups. The goal is to create a larger pool for investing, and spread pension costs and risk over a significant number of members.

The employee groups will require approval from the university governing boards to transfer the existing plans, and will as have to apply to Financial Services Regulatory Authority for the plans to be registered.

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