TORONTO, May 9 /CNW/ - Dozens of human rights applications were filed
today against the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board for denying full
survivor pensions to those who marry after they retire.
The applications were filed by more than 80 retired educators, their
widows and widowers. Also named are the Ontario Ministry of Education
and the Ontario Teachers' Federation, who are co-sponsors of the
While all teachers may pay into the plan, not all are able to extend
survivor benefits to their spouses. Current OTPP rules only provide a
survivor pension to a spouse who was already married to the pension
plan member when they retired. If a pensioner marries after retirement,
he or she must take a permanent pension reduction in order to obtain a
survivors pension for his or her spouse. The reduced pension is
permanent, even if the plan member outlives the spouse that he or she
These pensioners pay twice for the same benefit - first when they worked
and contributed to the Pension Plan and then a second time when their
pension is reduced.
"Equal contributions made during a career of teaching deserve equal
benefits," said Lois Maxim, who retired in 2003 after 29 years of
teaching and contributing to the pension plan. "I shouldn't be denied
full benefits simply for having married later in life."
Single when retired, Ms. Maxim subsequently married in 2008 and was
shocked to learn that she would have to pay a penalty of hundreds of
dollars per month to obtain a survivor's pension for her husband.
All the applicants are members of the Ontario Teachers Survivor Benefit
Group (OTSB Group), which has spent the last 10 years appealing to the
OTPP, the Ontario Teachers Federation and the Ontario Ministry of
Education, to no avail.
The pensioners also claim that the rules discriminate against women, who
have longer life expectancies and are more likely to be left widowed
and without a pension.
"The loss of this income causes great hardship to these widows. They
struggle to make ends meet and sometimes must rely on social programs -
despite the fact that their late spouse paid into a pension plan with a
survivor benefit," says Michael O'Flanagan, OTSB Group spokesperson.
The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) recognized the
rights of post-retirement spouses 20 years ago, in the name of fairness
to plan members. Similarly, teachers' plans in New Brunswick,
Newfoundland, Quebec, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia provide
survivor benefits for post-retirement spouses without penalty.
Additional background information is available at: http://www.otsbgroup.ca/whats-new.php
SOURCE Ontario Teachers Survivor Benefits Group
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