Spreading the word: OPTrust visits Queen’s Park

David Ferguson, Michael Mantha, Pat Ferguson

OPTrust held a Retirement Security Awareness Day at Queen’s Park, home of the Ontario government, on November 20. P4P member David Ferguson, an OPTrust retiree from Algoma Mills, was a special guest at the event.

OPTrust delivered the P4P message to groups of Members of Provincial Parliament: retirement security is of vital significance to all Ontarians, and workplace pension plans are a primary provider of reliable retirement income. The Canadian defined benefit, jointly sponsored pension model is gaining a reputation around the world as an efficient, sustainable source of retirement income. Many players in the international community are starting to look to thought leaders like OPTrust for expertise and advice.

Dave attended a reception at Queen’s Park, where he says he enjoyed “talking with the folks who run the show,” and was pleased to see that “OPTrust staff members are excited about what they’re doing.”

Dave and his wife Pat also had a chance to speak with Michael Mantha, MPP for the riding of Algoma – Manitoulin (see photo). Based on what he heard at the reception from MPPs who met with OPTrust during the day, Dave concluded “there’s no interest in downgrading our pensions.” Noting that not everyone is lucky enough to have a defined benefit pension, he added “ours should be a minimum standard, rather than one of the top ones.”

“My parents urged me to buy into the pension,” Dave said of the early part of his career. He found the pension contributions manageable, as he and Pat saved for retirement throughout their working lives. “Without retirement planning, life would be a pretty grim affair,” Dave said. “I have no idea how people who live only on CPP and OAS make it from day to day.”

Dave is concerned now that parents don’t share the concepts of saving and retirement with their children. “If parents aren’t doing it, maybe schools should do it.”

“The best session we had on the subject, when I was still working, was the ‘preretirement seminar’ we attended about a year before I retired,” he added.

“Perhaps something along those lines should be presented to all employees within their first five years on the job.”

One thing seems certain – the more channels we have to share the news about retirement security, the better. People for Pensions looks forward to being a continuing part of the conversation.


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