The Mississauga Judicial Inquiry Report was released today by the Inquiry Commissioner, Justice Douglas Cunningham. OMERS appreciates the work of the Commission and its recommendations related to the business practices of Ontario municipalities. We are studying the Report in greater detail to determine where the recommendations can improve our commercial relationships with Ontario’s municipalities.
Ultimately, while the Commissioner recognizes that in recent times the City of Mississauga has thrived under the leadership of Mayor McCallion, he has determined that it would be appropriate to refine the rules related to conflict of interest for all Ontario municipal officials in light of current public expectations around accountability and transparency.
With respect to OMERS business with the City of Mississauga, the Report confirms our position that OMERS officials acted in the best interests of the Plan’s members. One of Canada’s largest pension funds, with over 17,000 members in the City of Mississauga, OMERS is an experienced and successful investor with a 48-year track record and more than 53 billion in net assets. Enersource and the Square One Mall, both of which were relevant to the mandate of the inquiry, are important and valuable assets in the OMERS portfolio.
The real estate transaction reviewed by the Commission ultimately resulted in this year’s opening of Sheridan College’s Mississauga campus on the doorstep of the Square One Mall.
More than 1700 students are attending the Campus now, growing to 5,000 students in 2014. Many have already become patrons of the shopping centre, contributing to its revenues. The report notes the value of Square One as Mississauga’s city centre, and Sheridan College as a thriving campus at the city’s core. (see photo)
“Our priority was to find a use for these lands that would support our much larger investment – the Square One Mall” said John Pierce, OMERS Vice President of Public Affairs. “When it became clear a hotel option was no longer viable, appropriate steps were taken to clear the way for the College.”
With respect to the Enersource transaction, OMERS was found to have acted in a manner that was fair and made good business sense.