Canadian Teachers' Pension Shortfall Balloons to $31.9B

April 12, 2006 ( - The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan now faces a $31.9 billion shortfall, up from $19.4 billion last year.

The Canadian HR Reporter says that, despite a $14.1 billion return on investments, falling interest rates and increasing numbers of retirees are to blame for the shortfall.   In 1990 there were four working teachers per pension recipient; now there are only 1.6 working teachers per pensioner.

Plan CEO , Claude Lamoureux, is calling for benefit cuts and a hike in member contributions to prevent the shortfall from getting even worse, according to the Reporter.   The plan paid out $3.6 billion in benefits last year, while contributions (from active teachers, the Ontario government and other employers) totaled $1.6 billion.

The Ontario government and the Ontario Teachers’ Federation (OTF) are expected to file a plan with regulators later this year to address the shortfall. OTF president, Marilies Rettig, said in a news report that a contribution increase will be necessary, but the OTF does not plan to decrease benefits at this time.

The Ontario government and the Ontario Teachers’ Federation (OTF) set benefit and contribution levels. The plan can not make changes itself.