CONTACT US | CHANGE TEXT SIZE A A A

Pension Connection Fall 2011, Number 55

Stephen J. GriggsThe OPTrust Board of Trustees appointed Stephen J. Griggs to the newly-created role of President and CEO, effective June 1, 2011. In this role, Mr. Griggs will assume responsibility for leading OPTrust's integrated administrative and investment operations.

Most recently, Mr. Griggs was the Executive Director of the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance, representing the interests of leading Canadian pension plans and other institutional shareholders. He has also served as Chairman at Investeco Capital Corp.

Mr. Griggs brings a wealth of leadership experience in the financial services industry to OPTrust. He served as President and CEO of Legg Mason Canada and was the Chief Operating Officer for two leading Canadian mutual fund companies. Mr. Griggs was a director of the Investment Funds Institute of Canada for a number of years.

"We are delighted to have someone of Stephen Griggs's experience and calibre join OPTrust as CEO," said Maurice Gabay, Chair of the OPTrust Board of Trustees. "Stephen's demonstrated leadership and his commitment to excellence in governance make him an ideal person to lead the organization."

In addition to his professional activities, Mr. Griggs is a dedicated community leader. He serves on the boards of Healthy Minds Canada, the Ontario Board of the Nature Conservancy of Canada, The Ojibway Historical Preservation Society and the St. Patrick's Benevolent Society of Toronto.

New rules for contracts dated January 1, 2012 or later:

Under the new rules, when a spousal relationship ends, a court order, domestic contract or family arbitration award that is dated on or after January 1, 2012 can require a retiree to split his or her OPTrust pension in pay to equalize the family assets. This applies even if the separation occurred before or after January 1, 2012.

The Family Statute Law Amendment Act, 2009, gives plan members and former spouses the right to request a statement of family law value (i.e. family law statement) from OPTrust. For common-law relationships, the request can only be made by the retired plan member. OPTrust will provide the statement within 60 days of receiving a complete application.

The division of pension assets on the breakdown of a spousal relationship is not mandatory under the current rules, nor will it be mandatory when the new rules come into effect.

Current rules for contracts dated before January 1, 2012:

The current rules apply to court orders and domestic contracts dated before January 1, 2012. The rules apply to existing orders/contracts filed with OPTrust and orders/contracts submitted to OPTrust after January 1, 2012, if dated before January 1, 2012.

Today, under the existing rules, pensioners and spouses are required to seek the advice of an independent actuary to determine the value of an OPTrust pension benefit and do not have the right to a statement of family law value.

Currently, when dividing a pension to equalize family assets, the former spouse's pension payment is connected to the member and this will not change under the new rules.

Look for more detailed information in the next issue of Pension Connection and on our website.

accountingAt OPTrust, we have always taken our investment ownership responsibilities seriously. We have actively voted our proxies for over a decade, striving to ensure that the companies we invest in practice good corporate governance and behave in a socially and environmentally responsible way.

After signing on to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment in May 2010, OPTrust expanded our active ownership program to include corporate engagement. Corporate engagement spans a continuum from exercising proxies, discussing environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues with investment managers, having dialogue with corporate management and boards (either through collaborative engagements or one-to-one dialogue) to sponsoring shareholder resolutions. OPTrust has decided to work in collaboration with other investors to dialogue with companies on issues of mutual concern.

In some cases, companies within OPTrust's Public Markets portfolio may have exposure to ESG issues that carry with them potential financial, reputational or other risks. A corporate engagement strategy provides OPTrust staff with one more mechanism to address this potential risk. Institutional investors have found that engagement has proven to be a more effective tool for bringing about change. Company management and directors tend to be more responsive to a shareowner engaging in dialogue and working with them.

Engagement activities often play out over several years. Through 2011 OPTrust will participate in collaborative engagements with like-minded institutional investors on issues at companies that may pose financial or reputational risk to the Plan's portfolio. We look forward to sharing the positive outcomes of these engagements as they unfold in coming years.

"Our approach to enhancing OPTrust's active ownership program allows us to further manage any potential risks within our investment portfolios now and over the long-term," says Katharine Preston, OPTrust's Manager, Proxy Voting, and Environmental, Social and Governance.

As an OPTrust retiree, you may qualify for insured benefits in retirement, which include coverage for: dental, vision care and hearing aids coverage, supplementary health and hospital and basic life insurance.

The premiums for these benefits are paid by the Ontario Government, except for GO Transit retirees who pay a small premium for vision care and hearing aids coverage. Employer-paid premiums for basic life insurance are considered a taxable benefit.

During 2011, the rates paid by the employer changed slightly.

Monthly insured benefits rates: OPTrust retirees - Effective April 2011

SINGLE COVERAGE FAMILY COVERAGE
SUPPLEMENTARY HEALTH & HOSPITAL
Retiree
-
Ontario
Government
$73.68
Retiree
-
Ontario
Government
$136.92
DENTAL
Retiree
-
Ontario
Government
$29.97
Retiree
-
Ontario
Government
$54.21
VISION & HEARING
Retiree
-
Ontario
Government
$7.01
Retiree
-
Ontario
Government
$14.25
Basic Life Insurance ($2,000)
Ontario Government pays $4.82 per month, which is reported as a taxable benefit.

Monthly insured benefits rates: GO Transit retirees - Effective April 2011

SINGLE COVERAGE FAMILY COVERAGE
SUPPLEMENTARY HEALTH & HOSPITAL
GO Transit
Retiree
-
Ontario
Government
$24.36
GO Transit
Retiree
-
Ontario
Government
$70.05
DENTAL
GO Transit
Retiree
-
Ontario
Government
$27.93
GO Transit
Retiree
-
Ontario
Government
$54.84
VISION & HEARING
GO Transit
Retiree
$1.56
Ontario
Government
$1.57
GO Transit
Retiree
$3.59
Ontario
Government
$3.59
Basic Life Insurance ($2,000)
Ontario Government pays $4.82 per month, which is reported as a taxable benefit.

The deadline for submitting any 2010 Great-West Life (GWL) claim forms is coming up fast. If you have any 2010 claims that you have not sent already, they must be received by GWL on or before December 31, 2011. This deadline applies to all dental, medical, vision, hearing and prescription drug claims for the 2010 calendar year.

Send your claims to:

Great-West Life Health and Dental Claims P.O. Box 4076, Station A Toronto, ON M5W 3A3

Important:
Please do not send your claim to OPTrust because we cannot guarantee it will arrive at GWL before the deadline.

The forms are available from Great-West Life at 1-800-874-5899 or 416-440-0406 or www.greatwestlife.com.

You can also view your claim submissions online by using GroupNet, GWL's online service for members. If you have any questions, please contact GWL.

Question: I turned 65 in June and started to collect my Canada Pension Plan retirement benefits. Why was my OPTrust pension reduced?

Answer: When you were an active plan member, your contributions to OPTrust were integrated with the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). This means you paid lower contributions to OPTrust for the part of your earnings that are also covered by CPP. These reduced contributions are taken into account when your OPTrust pension is calculated starting at age 65.

Your OPTrust pension is designed to provide you with a combined pension income – from both OPTrust and CPP – that equals approximately 2% of your average salary multiplied by your years of credited service. Since you retired before age 65, OPTrust paid the full 2% pension. Now that you've reached age 65, your 2% pension is made up of two separate payments, your OPTrust and CPP pensions.

Question: I receive my pension payment by cheque. How do I make the switch to direct deposit?

Answer: Direct deposit is a convenient way to receive your OPTrust pension. When you sign up for direct deposit your pension is paid directly to your bank account every month. To make the switch, simply complete a Personal Information Change Request form and return it to OPTrust along with a VOID cheque. Alternatively, you can sign up for the service through your secure Online Services account.

Question: I forgot my Online Services password. How can I access my account?

Answer: You can retrieve your forgotten password or OPTrust ID from the Online Services home page. From there follow the "I forgot my OPTrust ID or password" link. Enter your e-mail address and OPTrust will send you a new temporary password to your primary e-mail address to access your account. While online you can also change your communications preferences to receive Pension Connection electronically.

The Government of Ontario appointed Patricia Li to the OPTrust Board of Trustees in February 2011.

Ms. Li is the Assistant Deputy Minister, Direct Services Division at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care responsible for Land and Air Ambulance Services, the Psychiatric Patient Advocacy Office, and individual eligibility programs including OHIP, assistive devices and home oxygen.

Prior to this role, Ms. Li was the Senior Vice-President, Corporate Services of eHealth Ontario as part of the interim senior team to lead the transition and restructuring of the agency in fall 2009. She has led business transformation initiatives with the Royal Botanical Gardens and ServiceOntario.

Ms. Li recently served as a board member at the Ontario Pension Board, and is currently the commissioner of the board at the Niagara Parks Commission. She is a graduate of the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, and holds Certified General Accountant and Institute-Certified Director (ICD.D) designations.

Vicki Ringelberg

Ms. Ringelberg's career spans over 20 years in the investment industry, where she held various senior positions. Most recently she served as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer at AIC Limited and Portland Investment Counsel. While at AIC Limited, Ms. Ringelberg was also an active member of the Board of Directors, member of the Audit Committee and a member of the Compliance and Risk Management Committee.

Ms. Ringelberg is currently director of Portland India Select Business Mauritius Portfolios Ltd., Portland General Partner Inc., and a member of the Board of Trustees for Portland Canadian Trusts.

She is a Certified Management Accountant and holds an MBA from the University of Toronto.

 

  1. Online Services
    If you are registered for Online Services, simply log in, click on "change your address" and update your information yourself.
  2. Paper form
    You can change your address by completing a Personal Information Change Request form and return it to OPTrust.
  3. Phone
    Call our Member Services staff at 416-681-6100 or 1-800-637-0024. To protect your privacy, we can only accept mailing address changes made by phone, paper copy or through your Online Services account.

Discover what other members already know when you sign up for a secure account. Once you are registered, you can:

  • view your most current Pensioner Information Change Statement
  • update banking and TD1 information
  • view insured benefits coverage
  • view a copy of your current T4A
  • update beneficiary information
  • update e-mail and mailing addresses.

You can also send questions to OPTrust and receive answers about personal pension information in a secure (encrypted) area. Unlike regular e-mail, messages sent through Online Services are fully secure and protected.

Fast facts

  • more than 13,000 individual transactions were completed through Online Services last year.
  • beneficiary updates and address changes accounted for almost two-thirds of these transactions.
  • OPTrust received more than 7,600 secure messages through the site in 2010, up from 4,400 the previous year.

Your OPTrust pension is considered income and as such is subject to income tax. As part of your retirement package we ask you to complete two TD1 forms, one federal and one provincial. Unless you inform us otherwise, we only deduct based on your OPTrust pension income.

If you are collecting CPP and OAS and have other income, you may be in a higher tax bracket, but unless you provide that information on your TD1, we don't know and can't deduct additional income tax. This could lead to tax owing and even tax penalties.

If you want additional tax deducted from your OPTrust pension, just complete a Personal Information Change Request form and send it to OPTrust or send a secure message through your Online Services account to make the change.

We are working behind the scenes to provide this feature through our secure Online Services site. In the future, you will have the option to make the changes using your secure account. Stay tuned to Pension Connection to find out when the feature is available.

During 2010, our Member and Pensioner Services team answered over 53,000 telephone calls with 98% of those calls answered in less than 10 seconds. If yours was one of the thousands of phone calls we receive every month, you'll know that our team is quick to respond and help you make an informed decision about your pension options.

Phone systemHigh ratings

In fact, our telephone service received particularly high scores in 2010, with members and pensioners giving us an average rating of 9.3 out of 10, up from 9.0 the previous year, and exceeding our target score for the second year in a row.

New phone system

Building on this level of success, OPTrust has introduced a new phone system with three key features to help us continue providing you with superior service you've come to expect.

First, your telephone calls are now routed to a dedicated Pensioner Services team to give you optimal service delivery. When contacting us by telephone, once you hear the brief recorded message please press "1" and your call will be directed to our Pensioner Services team to answer your questions and process your transaction. Members also have a team dedicated to responding to their inquiries.

Second, your telephone call may be recorded for quality assurance. Like many client service-focused organizations, OPTrust wants to ensure that the information and service you receive over the phone meets exceptionally high standards. By occasionally reviewing telephone conversations with members we can ensure that we're on track to maintain these standards now and over time.

Gathering feedback

Lastly, later this year we plan to introduce a survey option at the end of every telephone call to give you the option to share your feedback on how we served you. This will allow us to continuously monitor the level of service we provide to you and make enhancements where required.

Our commitment to providing excellent telephone service is important to us and meeting your needs is our top priority. We will continue to answer your telephone call promptly and offer information about your pension options. To reach our Pensioner Services team, contact 416 681-6100 or 1 800-637-0024 (toll-free in Canada) and press "1" for Pensioner Services.

Online SurveyAt OPTrust, we are always looking at ways to enhance the service we deliver to you – whether it's in person, over the telephone or online. Often, our service delivery is informed by feedback received from members and pensioners through focus groups or surveys.

OPTrust will launch a web-based survey later this year to gauge members' and pensioners' satisfaction with Online Services and explore options for further service improvements. You may receive an invitation to complete a survey and provide your input on our secure Online Services site. The survey is short and the information you provide is completely anonymous.

Of course, you can always provide feedback through your secure Online Services account or by contacting OPTrust by telephone or in writing.

 

 

 

fact sheetsDo you have a continuing power of attorney for property in place to handle your pension and financial matters if you become incapacitated? It's an important decision; one that you may want to think about now in the event that you are no longer able to deal with your financial affairs in the future.

When you appoint an attorney, you are granting someone the power to handle your financial matters including your OPTrust pension. OPTrust needs an original or notarized copy of your power of attorney for property to take direction from the person you appoint as your attorney.

To learn more, download our power of attorney fact sheet.