Pension Connection Winter 2019, Number 69
In this issue:
- OPTrust ignites climate change action
- Protecting your pension: cost of living increase for 2019
- Your Plan and the G7 objectives
- OPTrust’s new pension offering: OPTrust Select
- Clarification: submitting a Power of Attorney
- Mark your calendars: Pension pay dates
- Income tax Q&A
- Online security: we’re all in it together
- Sign up for Online Services – get your T4A slip earlier
OPTrust ignites climate change action
Climate change is one of the most significant challenges facing the world today and increasingly complex to navigate. As climate change represents a largely unknown risk, OPTrust is making it a priority to better understand its implications in the best interests of all our Plan members, both today and over the long term.
In November, OPTrust hosted a Climate Change Symposium bringing together prominent investors, leading climate scientists and innovative thought leaders from around the globe for insights and conversations on climate action.
“We can turn the greatest challenge of our time into an opportunity of a lifetime,” said keynote speaker Felipe Calderón, Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate and Former President of Mexico.
OPTrust believes investors have a responsibility to understand the impacts of climate change, and we are engaged in finding solutions to manage the challenges we face. To date, we have made significant progress in advancing our understanding of climate change implications, including:
- committing 7.6% of OPTrust’s portfolio to renewable power and green real estate investments
- releasing a Climate Change Action Plan (C-Cap) that outlines the eight areas of action that OPTrust will take in order to better integrate the impacts and implications of climate change into our investment activities
- reporting in accordance with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
While the work that OPTrust has conducted thus far has been important, we recognize we are only at the beginning of this journey.
PROTECTING YOUR PENSION:
Cost of living increase for 2019
Increasing your pension to keep up with the cost of living is an annual event at OPTrust. Every January, OPTrust pensions are adjusted for the increase in inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), reported by Statistics Canada.
The 2019 increase is 2.2%. At the beginning of January, all OPTrust pensions, including survivor pensions and the deferred pensions of former and divested OPTrust members, were increased by 2.2%.
The increase is pro-rated for members who retired and began receiving their pensions in 2018. For example, a pension that began in July 2018 would receive a 2019 increase of 1.1%, rather than 2.2%. In the following years, the pension would receive the full increase.
The cost of living adjustment is designed to protect your pension throughout your lifetime.
Since the Plan’s inception, cost of living adjustments have averaged 1.8%.
The change to your monthly pension that is taking effect in January 2019 will be outlined on your Pensioner Information Change Statement. These statements are available in your Online Services account or by mail.
Your Plan and the G7 objectives
OPTrust has joined a group of leading global institutional investors — representing more than $6 trillion in assets under management — in collaboration with the Government of Canada for an ambitious project to advance key G7 objectives.
Together, investors will commit resources, expertise and networks to act on three items:
- Moving forward on climate-related financial disclosures to create sustainable change
- Increasing gender diversity in global capital markets
- Enhancing expertise in infrastructure development and financing in emerging and frontier economies
More information about the initiatives can be found at iglobalinitiatives.com.
OPTrust’s new pension offering: OPTrust Select
In April, OPTrust announced the launch of OPTrust Select, the
first new defined benefit (DB) offering in a generation.
Both OPSEU and the Ontario government were central in making this vision a reality. Specifically designed for workers in the Ontario charitable, nonprofit, and broader public sectors, OPTrust Select was created with the goal of providing the predictable retirement income of a DB pension – calculated with employment service and earnings – at a moderate cost. This means more Ontarians will be able to live better in retirement.
The introduction of OPTrust Select has no direct impact on members and retirees of the existing OPSEU Pension Plan. It will, however, increase the number of active members, which will help to ensure the Plan is sustainable.
In September, OPTrust Select was officially recommended by the Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) as the pension plan of choice for organizations in the nonprofit sector. It is the first and only ONN-recommended, sector-wide pension plan for the 58,000 nonprofit organizations and more than one million workers in the nonprofit sector in Ontario.
As good pension citizens, OPTrust staff believe strongly in the value of the DB model and its ability to provide secure, predictable income in retirement. The ONN’s announcement means that thousands of workers across the nonprofit sector could have access to the security provided by a DB pension. OPTrust Select can help those who do good, to do well in retirement.
Too many Ontarians are forced to worry about whether they will outlive their savings in retirement. We believe that increasing access to a DB plan is one of the best ways of helping people achieve a secure retirement income.
Learn more at optrustselect.com
Simple. Smart. Select.
Submitting a Power of Attorney
The Summer edition of Pension Connection included an article on appointing a power of attorney for your OPTrust pension. The article stated that we need “an original or notarized copy of your power of attorney for property to take direction from the person you appoint as your attorney.”
Please note that we do not need to see an original power of attorney. You do need to send a copy that has been notarized or certified, and the notarized or certified document must be original. OPTrust will retain this document for future reference.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS:
Pension pay dates
In this chart you’ll find the pension pay dates for 2019. Pensions are paid each month, usually on the 26th, except for December and any month where the 26th falls on a weekend.
We deposit your pension electronically into your account at your financial institution. If you want to change that account, we need to hear from you by the “cut-off date” shown to get the change in place prior to that month’s payment.
Income tax Q&A
Question: How do you determine how much tax to deduct from my pension?
Answer: The tax we deduct from your pension is determined using a formula set by the Canada Revenue Agency. The calculation takes into account the personal tax credits and deductions you claimed on the most recent TD1 forms you submitted to us. The amount of tax we withhold is based only on your OPTrust pension income. If you are also receiving Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security payments or have other income, you may be in a higher tax bracket and therefore pay higher taxes on your total income.
Question: Can you deduct more income tax from my pension?
Answer: Yes. You can increase the amount of income tax we deduct from your monthly pension by sending us a request from your secure Online Services account, or by completing an Income Tax Deduction Change form. The change will take effect immediately if you submit your request before the applicable monthly cut-off date, shown in the chart above.
Online security: we’re all in it together
Data we keep online is an important part of our work, our leisure, and our hobbies. Our data – that is, everything from our personal information, to our banking information, credit information, purchase histories, personal photos, social media interactions, and work-related files – is valuable, and it is essential that we protect it.
It’s important to keep your personal information – particularly such things as your social insurance number, credit card numbers, or bank account numbers – safe.
To this end, we remind you that you should never click on a link you receive from an unsolicited email. When asked to click on any link, you should hover over it with your mouse. A pop-up will display the email address of the sender. If it’s from us, that address will include “OPTrust.” If you don’t see anything in that address that seems connected to the organization you think you’re dealing with, this may be a “phishing” email – an illegitimate one that’s trying to trick you into sharing your personal information.
Whenever you are communicating with us, use your OPTrust Online Services account or the ‘Contact us’ email form on the website – both are secure. Never send or reply to requests for personal and confidential information through regular email.
Phishing attempts can be made by phone, as well as email. Be wary of phone calls from people purporting to be from the Canada Revenue Agency, wanting to talk about overdue tax amounts owing, or about tax refunds to be paid. The Canada Revenue Agency does not instigate this type of communication through phone calls and will not send you unsolicited emails requesting a response with personal information. Neither will any other reputable organization.
Some general tips
All of us, wherever we may be storing our information, should keep the following in mind:
- keep equipment and software such as virus detectors up to date
- buy technology and apps only from reputable sources
- use suitably complex passwords, and change them regularly
- if you are using a shared computer, always log out after you finish a session
- keep an eye out for phishing attempts and other types of online scams
- never click on any link or attachment if you are not confident about where it came from.
Get your T4A slip earlier
Want to obtain your T4A slip earlier? You can download a copy from your Online Services account.
After logging in, go to “Your Pension Statements” and click on the link for Tax Information T4A and TD1. Your slip will be there under T4A – 2018.
OPTrust will mail a paper version of your 2018 T4A tax slip to your home address in February.
Not using Online Services yet? Today would be a good day to start. Online Services gives you a quick and secure way to update banking, tax and contact information, view insured benefits coverage and update beneficiary information.
You can also choose to receive Pension Connection and other communications electronically, rather than in print. When you log in to your secure account, you can change your "communications preferences" to receive news and information online only.
To register for Online Services, you will need your OPTrust ID, date of birth, postal code and the amount of your last pension deposit. If you have any recent correspondence from us, your OPTrust ID will be included in it.
Need help? Contact our Member Experience team at 416-681-6100 or 1-800-637-0024 to get help with the registration process.