OMERS Dispute Resolution Process for Benefit Entitlements

OMERS Administration Corporation (OAC) administers the OMERS Pension Plans in accordance with their governing terms and applicable legislation. In its role as OMERS fiduciary, OAC also ensures that Plan members are treated consistently and fairly.

We’re Here to Help

If Plan members or employers ever have questions about current OMERS Plan provisions, OAC employees are available to help. Contact OMERS Client Services.

On occasion, however, Plan participants (members, beneficiaries or employers) may wish to pursue their concerns or issues about current OMERS benefit entitlements further. What follows 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 an OMERS benefit entitlement – 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 a benefit entitlement. 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.

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 to a President’s Determination can submit additional documentation for consideration. Each party is permitted to review the documentation submitted by any other party and to 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 of Directors (OAC Board). The appeal must be requested in writing within 30 days after the President’s Determination.

Three members of the OAC Board will act as a panel to consider the appeal. The appeals panel is an impartial adjudicator and reviews issues fully. It has independent legal counsel to advise on matters such as procedural fairness.

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 communications to the appeals panel will be shared with you, and you will have an opportunity to reply to claims made by an opposing party.

Usually, the appeals panel conducts hearings in writing. If you would prefer to have an oral or in-person hearing, you must satisfy the panel that there is a good reason to do so – for example, credibility is at stake. The panel may also decide on its own that it is appropriate to hold an oral or in-person hearing.

The appeals panel will write out its decision and reasons. You will receive a copy of their decision. The decision of the appeals panel, acting on behalf of the OAC Board, is final.

Note: The appeals panel cannot award damages. 

Is There Another Way to Resolve a Dispute?

You can contact the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) with your concern about a benefit entitlement. FSCO regulates pension standards for Ontario registered pension plans.

Although FSCO will communicate with OAC regarding your concern, they, generally, expect that OMERS Dispute Resolution Process be tried first. 

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 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.