Police Pension Plan 
What is in Store For Us?
 
By Art Lymer


So many things have happened in the pension field this year, as it draws to a close it might be useful to make comment and invite your replies. Your criticisms and witticisms are always welcome, your collective thoughts and feelings can be put to good use for an overall assessment of everyoneís expectations, allaying any fears some may have if we can, lending reality to the far out thoughts some might have on what their pension plan, could or should, do for them.

You have two ways of responding, either e mailing myself (Art Lymer) jalymer@primus.ca, or 416 266 6985, or contacting Bernie Nadeau at his amazing web site. It is not my intent to overburden Bernie, I am sure he has enough to do, I often wonder how he gets it done, but the prerogative is yours. Letís get it done so that we can all have a better understanding of what the future has in store for us and how we may plan to deal with it. If you want to make comment but wish to remain anonymous thatís okay, just so long as we do not get too many anonymous responders.

What started out in the U.S of A, take this house with nothing down and pay for it with a 6% mortgage (or more). The mortgage is downloaded to a bond fund manager or companies anywhere the world, who may be lucky getting 3% returns on their normal bonds. Worthless mortgages converted to bonds created tremendous profits for the converters, putting Nigerian scam artists in the kindergarten class of money skimmers.

Lawsuits will follow, heads have already rolled, but more to come, many of us will not be here to see the ending, but we hope that justice will be done.

We now have a circulation problem. The human body can survive with a mechanical heart, inside or outside the body if it is able to circulate the blood. Money has now stopped circulating in world financial markets, without that circulation poverty and unemployment will become rampant and none of us will escape its effects. A golden opportunity exists to build our cities and transportation systems and to stop the decay we have witnessed in the last two decades and get the money circulating again (we need a Singapore subway system in Toronto and the GTA to make us far less dependent on the automobile for transportation) We also need to give assistance to our manufacturing industries that can assure us they are capable of competing in world markets.

There are many private sector pension plans that will not survive the financial meltdown that has now been brought to the marketplace, leaving their pensioners and future pensioners out on a limb about to break, some public sector pension plans will also suffer a similar fate. Ours however is not one of them. The Benefit Fund Pension and the Metropolitan Toronto Pension Plan pensions are guaranteed, the employer is required by law to keep up the payments of the pension you are presently receiving. What is not guaranteed are yearly increases to the cost of living, which can only presently be done when the fund enjoys a surplus.

On November 6th 2006 the Ontario government established The Ontario Expert Commission on Pensions, to examine the rules relating to pension deficits and surpluses, and other issues relating to the security, viability and sustainability of the pension system in Ontario. It was chaired by Harry Arthurs, former President of York University. On your behalf I made submissions to them while I was the Secretary of the Police Retirees of Ontario, it was one of the first submissions to arrive on their desk. 127 submissions were sent in and verbal presentations commenced on the 17th of October 2007, I did my verbal exams at 9am on the 18th of October.

If you are interested in reading any of the submissions that were made they are available at the web site www.ontario.ca/pensions. I have also saved on my computer the information that was being put out by Benefits Canada at that time, I may be able to e mail it to anyone who is interested, if you go to that web site now all the info they then published has now been erased.

The Commission released its findings and recommendations on the 21st of November 2008, and I was able to attend their verbal presentation at 2pm. Their recommendations and findings are in the form of 4 written presentations and a computer disc, very thorough and detailed but heavy reading and I am wading through them. If you are interested you can obtain them for $28 plus shipping and tax from the Queens Printer of Ontario 1 800 668 9938 or you can download it on the internet www.ontario.ca/pensions.

From what I read thus far, I am pleased to say their recommendations have included and taken into account some of the suggestions in my submissions (they may also have been reiterated in the submissions of others)

The heading on each of the four books is:

A Fine Balance.

Safe Pensions

Affordable Plans

Fair rules

The report sets out 16 Principles ( what a wonderful connotation) Sir Robert Peel laid down 9 Principles on policing over 150 years ago, if everyone followed them today the task of policing would be so much easier and our taxes would be so much lower

Principle 5, (The Expert Commission on Pensions.)

Ensure the honesty and integrity of the pension system.

"It is important to ensure the honesty and integrity of pension plans and the pension system as a whole. Beneficiaries are entitled to be treated in accordance with the terms of the instruments by which their plans are established and the legal rules by which they are governed. This requires that those responsible for collecting pension contributions, administering pension plans and dispensing pension benefits should act as fiduciaries: honestly, competently, in good faith and transparently. It also requires that those who provide professional advice and services to pension plans should meet the highest applicable legal and professional standards."

I do have three of my own submissions left that I am willing to mail to anyone who is really and truly interested in reading them. If you have trouble getting off to sleep at night you may not need to see a Dr, try taking a pension article to bed with you instead.

Please have a safe and happy Christmas and thanks Bernie for creating this

I.T.F medium, exchanging information, thoughts and feelings.

Using a sign off from one of the best supervisors I had the pleasure of working with (I will buy a drink the next time we meet, to the first person who can tell me who it was)

Ever Thine

Art Lymer