Governance Manual, Policies and Guidelines
Here is an overview of key policies and guidelines for OMERS, including Investments, Members, Employers etc., where policies have been approved by the AC Board or its standing committees or where plan members would benefit from understanding how our policies impact how we conduct our business.
Protection of personal information is a key responsibility, especially with a plan the size of OMERS. Our describe how we collect, use, retain and, where necessary, dispose of the personal information in the administration of the OMERS Pension Plans. We take this responsibility very seriously.
Accessibility at OMERS
Commitment to service for people with disabilities
OMERS strives at all times to provide its services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. We are committed to giving people with disabilities the same opportunity to access our business and services in the same place and in a similar way as others. In Ontario, this policy forms part of our framework to fully comply with the standards developed under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”) (see Appendix ‘A’, Multi-Year Accessibility Plan).
OMERS Dispute Resolution Process
OMERS Administration Corporation (AC) is responsible for the administration of the OMERS Pension Plans. In this role, AC ensures that benefit entitlements are paid in accordance with the terms of the Plan and applicable legislation while also ensuring that Plan members are treated consistently and fairly.
OMERS Tax Strategy
Established in 1962, OMERS is a defined benefit pension plan that invests and administers pensions for employees of municipalities, non-teaching staff of school boards, emergency services and local agencies across Ontario, Canada. OMERS investment strategy is intended to build long-term value that supports our obligation to pay pensions today and in the future.
Canadian pension plans, including OMERS, are exempt from Canadian income tax on investment income. This tax status was designed to encourage retirement savings by deferring the tax on pension contributions and investment returns until payments are received by pensioners, at which time the retirement income is fully taxed at an individual level. Globally, several other governments also provide similar tax exemptions on investment income to pension plan investors, including OMERS.
The tax strategy outlined below applies to all OMERS businesses across all locations where we operate.
Attitude towards tax planning and level of risk
As a global investor, OMERS is subject to tax laws in each of the countries where we have offices or hold investments. Integrity is a core value at OMERS and we comply with all tax laws, regulations and obligations in the jurisdictions in which we operate and invest, taking a sustainable approach to tax risk and tax planning. Consistent with our approach to risk management, OMERS has procedures, processes and policies in place to ensure that tax risk is maintained at an acceptably low level. In keeping with our obligations as a pension plan, we plan our tax affairs to be efficient – to support the business activities of the enterprise and our ability to pay pensions to our members.
OMERS supports the various OECD initiatives, including the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project which creates a framework to ensure that profits are taxed where economic activities are performed and value is created. In accordance with enhanced BEPS filing obligations, OMERS produces Country-by-Country Reporting, to promote tax transparency globally.
Governance and management of tax risk
OMERS governance framework includes tax-risk management. The Audit & Actuarial Committee assists the Board of Directors in fulfilling oversight responsibilities for the organization’s processes for monitoring compliance with tax laws and regulations. The Chief Financial Officer has executive responsibility for tax matters and is supported by a team of tax professionals led by the Head of Tax. Given the evolving external tax environment in which we operate, we actively monitor global tax developments to ensure continued compliance. We are committed to upholding high standards of business conduct and ethics, as reflected in our published .
Tax law is complex. OMERS uses reputable external tax advisers to obtain expert, objective advice on the application and interpretation of tax law. In the event that a difference of opinion arises between OMERS and tax authorities, we will openly engage in discussions with authorities and support our position as appropriate.
When we engage with tax authorities, we are transparent in disclosing all relevant facts, striving to maintain positive long-term working relationships. We believe there is value in actively participating in consultations with tax authorities and policy makers to promote certainty in tax-law interpretation.
OMERS regards the publication of this document to comply with the requirements set out in U.K. legislation, under Schedule 19, Finance Act 2016, for the fiscal 2023 year.
OMERS Social Media Community Guidelines
When you engage with OMERS on social media, you’re agreeing to these Community Guidelines, which may be updated from time to time, in addition to the terms and conditions of the respective Platform(s), which may be updated from time to time.