OMERS has long recognized the need to manage change. A statement from our 1968 Annual Report highlighted: “A pension fund, if it is to be effective, must meet a number of requirements – it must be financially sound, provide efficient and helpful service to its members, be aware of the constant demand for change and improvement and be responsive to the needs of its members. OMERS makes every effort to meet these requirements.”
Looking beyond 2017, change will remain a key factor and the OMERS Plan will continue to mature. In 1997, the ratio of active members to retirees was slightly less than 3:1. In 2017, this ratio was just below 2:1. By the late 2030s, our Plan is expected to have an active member to retiree ratio of 1:1. As the Plan matures, it becomes more vulnerable to stresses, as there are relatively fewer members to carry the cost of any impact, which, without preparation in advance, could require higher contribution rates, reduced benefits, or a combination of the two, in the future.
The makeup of Plan membership is shifting and this has an impact on determining contribution rates. In 2017, a Membership Evolution Study was conducted to help OMERS better understand the changing nature of work and its implications for OMERS active membership. The study identified four areas of potential workplace disruption:
- growth in non-full-time work
- new, alternative service-delivery models
- automation and technology