An important step in the process of converting the University of Guelph’s current pension plans to the proposed University Pension Plan Ontario (UPP) took place earlier this month.

Members of the United Steelworkers (USW) Local 4120 and University of Guelph Faculty Association (UGFA) voted to support the UPP, moving the university sector closer to a new, sustainable defined benefit pension plan. The vote allows USW Local 4120 and UGFA to provide consent to the proposed UPP on behalf of their members.

The consent vote from USW Local 4120 and UGFA is an important first step.

The proposed UPP is a jointly sponsored, defined benefit pension plan that would cover employees at the University of Guelph, University of Toronto and Queen’s University.

Consent Process as of February 19

The conversion of current U of G pension plans to the UPP requires a formal consent process, set out in a provincial statute and regulations.

Group Decision
United Steelworker Unions at all three universities Voted to support conversion to the UPP
Faculty Associations at all three universities Voted to support conversion to the UPP
Other unions at all three universities Undertaking ratification votes in the weeks ahead
Non-unionized employees at all three universities Receiving individual consent forms in March

“Ratification by the USW and faculty associations is the result of the diligent hard work of so many – administrations, faculty members, unions, professional staff and so many others. This is a major first step forward for the UPP,” said Don O’Leary, Vice-President (Finance, Administration and Risk). “I want to thank all those involved for their dedicated and constructive approach towards negotiations.”

The sustainability and long-term future of the universities’ current pension plans are under a great deal of pressure. As a jointly sponsored pension plan (JSPP), the proposed UPP offers a means of securing a defined benefit pension plan for the future.

“Traditional defined benefit pension plans have faced significant sustainability pressure and, in recent years, we have seen the growing demise of these plans across the country,” says O’Leary.

“The successful ratification by UGFA and USW Local 4120 is an important milestone, but we still have much work to do in order to achieve our common goal of creating a sustainable defined benefit pension plan that will provide strong, dependable retirement income for pension stakeholders at the University of Guelph.”

More about the UPP

The UPP will be jointly created and governed by both the employers and plan members, following the model of other well-known, multi-employer JSPPs, such as the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS).

The UPP will initially cover the University of Guelph, the University of Toronto and Queen’s University, but once established will be open to other Ontario universities to join.

More details on the UPP and the ongoing consent process can be found at