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About Us

The Group is made up of more than 125 members - including retirees, widows and widowers - who find themselves unable to confer a survivor pension to their spouse despite contributing to the pension plan over their entire careers.

Some of our members are in dire financial straits due to this discrimination while others fear for the future welfare of their partners.

As it stands, this group of pensioners must take a permanent reduction in their pension if they want to obtain spousal survivor pensions. This is solely because they married during their retirement. Meanwhile, many of their peers are able to confer a survivor pension to their spouses without penalty.

The OTSB Group believes that those who paid into the Plan during their working years ought to have the same spousal survivor benefits as their fellow pensioners, regardless of when they were married.

What have we done so far?

Since 2002, the OTSB Group and other Plan members have repeatedly appealed to:

  • the Ontario Teachers Federation;
  • the Ministry of Education;
  • the OTTP

All these parties view changing survivor benefit eligibility as a "Plan enhancement," which can only be considered if there is a pension surplus.

But this is a simple question of rights.

Several other provinces and public sector pension plans do not discriminate against those who marry after retirement, including:

  • The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, (OMERS), which changed its survivor benefit rules to accommodate a 'post-retirement' spouse in 1991.
  • Teachers' pension plans in New Brunswick, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland plus some Western Provinces.

It's worth noting that OMERS changed the plan in the interest of fair and equitable treatment of its members - not as an improvement in benefits.

What's next?

After a decade of effort, the OTSB Group is seeking redress through the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

The Group filed 84 applications with the Human Rights Tribunal in late spring 2011. The applications contend that current laws discriminate based on marital status and on gender - given the fact that women are more likely to be widowed and left without the survivor pension.

The OTSB Group believes that the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario will find that the current OTPP restrictions on spousal survivor benefits are discriminatory.