Governance Manual, Policies and Guidelines
Here is an overview of key policies and guidelines for OMERS, including Investments, Members, Employers etc., where policies have been approved by the OAC Board or its standing committees or where plan members would benefit from understanding how our policies impact how we conduct our business.
Mandates and Roles
No enterprise political donations were made in 2019.
Effective December 1, 2018
Commitment to service for people with disabilities
OMERS Enterprise strives at all times to provide its services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. We are committed to giving people with disabilities the same opportunity to access our business and services in the same place and in a similar way as others. In Ontario, this policy forms part of our framework to fully comply with the standards developed under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”) (see Appendix ‘A’, Multi-Year Accessibility Plan).
OMERS Dispute Resolution Process
OMERS Administration Corporation (OAC) is responsible for the administration of the OMERS Pension Plans. In this role, OAC ensures that benefit entitlements are paid in accordance with the Plan terms and applicable legislation while also ensuring that Plan members are treated consistently and fairly.
We’re Here to Help
On occasion, Plan participants (members, beneficiaries or employers) may wish to pursue their concerns or issues further. The following sets out OAC’s process to do so.
What is OAC’s Dispute Resolution Process?
This three-step process is used when there is disagreement or concern with OAC’s administration of the Plan terms – including eligibility for a benefit.
The process allows for a concern to be escalated, although almost all concerns are resolved at Step 1.
STEP 1: Staff Review
You may request that OAC review a concern or case about the interpretation of the Plan terms or a benefit entitlement. To request a Staff Review, contact OMERS Member Services. As part of this Staff Review, you may be asked for additional documentation*, such as employment information, medical information or proof of spousal status.
How long the Staff Review takes can vary depending on the fact-finding process and the level of review of Plan terms and administration that may be required. Once complete, you will receive a written response that summarizes the outcome of the Staff Review.
*By providing OAC with this information, you are representing to OAC that you and whomever the information is about consent to the collection, use, and disclosure of that information by OAC for the purposes of the Dispute Resolution Process. In particular, you and whomever the information is about understand that the information may be shared with other parties and with OAC employees, management, and the OAC Board of Directors (OAC Board). This applies to information submitted at all steps of the Dispute Resolution Process.
STEP 2: President’s Determination
If you disagree with the outcome of the Staff Review, you may request that OAC’s President review the decision. This is called a President’s Determination.
Any party who could be impacted by a President’s Determination can submit additional documentation for consideration and make further submissions (this process may take several months).
Once all documents are submitted, the President, or their delegate, will review and respond in approximately four weeks.
STEP 3: Appeal to the OAC Board of Directors
If you are not satisfied with the President’s Determination, you can appeal the decision to the OAC Board. An appeal must be requested in writing within 30 days after the President’s Determination, by submitting the to the Staff Designate.
If you are not the party appealing the President’s Determination, but you wish to actively participate as a party in an appeal, you must submit the to the Staff Designate. The Appeals Committee will then decide whether party status will be granted.
Three members of the OAC Board’s Appeals Committee (the “Panel”) will act as a panel to consider the appeal afresh. The Panel is an impartial adjudicator that will fully review the issues put before it. It has independent legal counsel to advise on matters such as procedural fairness. The Panel has no jurisdiction to award damages.
The rules of procedural fairness are followed during the appeals process, which means:
Once an appeal is initiated, you will be provided with information on how the appeals process works, including any timing requirements for submissions and new documentation.
Copies of all documents and submissions provided to the Panel will be shared with all parties, and you will have an opportunity to reply to claims made by an opposing party.
Usually, the Panel conducts hearings in writing. If you would prefer to have an oral hearing, you must submit the to the Staff Designate. You must satisfy the Panel that there is a good reason to hold an oral hearing – for example, if you have reason to believe that a party’s credibility is an issue. The Panel may also decide on its own that it is appropriate to hold an oral hearing.
After the hearing, the Panel will prepare a written decision which will include reasons. You will receive a copy of the Panel’s decision. The decision of the Panel, acting on behalf of the OAC Board, is final. If you wish to review prior decisions rendered by the OAC Board since 2005, these decisions are available . These decisions are redacted (i.e., personal and sensitive information have been removed for privacy purposes) and are referenced by the year of the decision and the appeal subject matter.
Is There Another Way to Resolve a Dispute?
You can contact the (FSRA) with your concern about a benefit entitlement. FSRA regulates all Ontario registered pension plans.
Although FSRA will communicate with OAC regarding your concern, they generally expect that plan participants attempt to resolve the issue with the plan administrator before requesting that FSRA review the issue. For that reason, we suggest that you contact FSRA after the OMERS Dispute Resolution Process has finished, if you disagree or are unsatisfied with the decision.
What if I Need Someone to Help Me?
You can choose to be represented by a lawyer, union, relative, friend or another person during the OMERS Dispute Resolution Process. If you do, OAC will need your written authorization to discuss your case or to release information about you to your representative. If you choose to be represented in an appeal, you and your representative must complete the Certification form, which is attached to the Request for Hearing Form.
Decisions of the Appeals Panel of the OAC Board since 2005*
April 5, 2018
April 10, 2017
March 8, 2017
December 15, 2016
September 15, 2016
December 10, 2015
April 15, 2015
August 22, 2012
April 3, 2012
February 22, 2012
November 4, 2011
September 19, 2011
September 22, 2010
March 25, 2010
September 17, 2009
May 29, 2009
December 12, 2008
December 4, 2008
October 9, 2008
October 3, 2008
December 19, 2007
October 30, 2007
October 30, 2007
March 8, 2007
October 25, 2006
September 25, 2006
February 16, 2006
OMERS Tax Strategy
Established in 1962, OMERS is a defined benefit pension plan that invests and administers pensions for employees of municipalities, non-teaching staff of school boards, emergency services and local agencies across Ontario, Canada. OMERS investment strategy is intended to build long-term value that supports our obligation to pay pensions today and in the future.
Canadian pension plans, including OMERS, are exempt from Canadian income tax on investment income. This tax status was designed to encourage retirement savings by deferring the tax on pension contributions and investment returns until payments are received by pensioners, at which time the retirement income is fully taxed at an individual level. Globally, several other governments also provide similar tax exemptions on investment income to pension plan investors, including OMERS.
The tax strategy outlined below applies to all OMERS businesses across all locations where we operate.
Attitude towards tax planning and level of risk
As a global investor, OMERS is subject to tax laws in each of the countries where we have offices or hold investments. Integrity is a core value at OMERS and we comply with all tax laws, regulations and obligations in the jurisdictions in which we operate and invest, taking a conservative approach to tax risk and tax planning. Consistent with our approach to risk management, OMERS has procedures, processes and policies in place to ensure that tax risk is maintained at an acceptably low level. In keeping with our obligations as a pension plan, we plan our tax affairs to be efficient – to support the business activities of the enterprise and our ability to pay pensions to our members.
OMERS supports the various OECD initiatives, including the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project which creates a framework to ensure that profits are taxed where economic activities are performed and value is created. In accordance with enhanced BEPS filing obligations, OMERS now produces Country-by-Country Reporting, a new tax filing requirement in 2017 to promote tax transparency globally.
Governance and management of tax risk
OMERS governance framework includes tax-risk management. The Audit & Actuarial Committee assists the Board of Directors in fulfilling oversight responsibilities for the organization’s processes for monitoring compliance with tax laws and regulations. The Chief Financial Officer has executive responsibility for tax matters and is supported by a team of tax professionals led by the Head of Tax. Given the evolving external tax environment in which we operate, we actively monitor global tax developments to ensure continued compliance. We are committed to upholding high standards of business conduct and ethics, as reflected in our published .
Tax law is complex. OMERS uses reputable external tax advisers to obtain expert, objective advice on the application and interpretation of tax law. In the event that a difference of opinion arises between OMERS and tax authorities, we will openly engage in discussions with authorities and support our position as appropriate.
When we engage with tax authorities, we are transparent in disclosing all relevant facts, striving to maintain positive long-term working relationships. We believe there is value in actively participating in consultations with tax authorities and policy makers to promote certainty in tax-law interpretation.
OMERS regards the publication of this document to comply with the requirements set out in U.K. legislation, under Schedule 19, Finance Act 2016.