Why nonprofits see offering a pension as an investment in their community

Nonprofits work with and for communities to provide a myriad of services that ensure the health and well-being of people all across Canada. The sector’s most important resource is its people. The trouble is, attracting and retaining good workers has never been harder. And without good workers, the capacity to serve communities suffers.

In an effort to meet this challenge head on, Ontario’s nonprofits are increasingly turning to pension plans as an efficient and effective means to support their team and advance their mission. As the only sector-wide pension plan recommended by the Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN), OPTrust Select is an affordable way to ensure your team will have a stable and secure retirement income from a defined benefit pension. 

Most importantly, as a pension trust, OPTrust Select is effectively a nonprofit itself, meaning you won’t be charged fees beyond your regular contributions to the pension plan.

“Our sector and its workers deserve the same dignity in retirement and future income security as those working in other sectors. Creating access to a defined benefit pension plan for our sector is one of the ways ONN has advanced Decent Work and we are proud to recommend OPTrust Select. It is an affordable and accessible plan that strengthens the ability of nonprofit employers to recruit and retain staff. The contribution rate is 3 per cent; affordable for most workers and organizations, and this pension plan gives workers a defined benefit for life.”

Cathy Taylor, ONN

Why defined benefit pensions?

Defined benefit pension plans are the gold standard in retirement security. Unlike other forms of retirement savings, these plans pay out a predictable monthly amount in retirement for as long as you live. Benefits may also be protected against inflation to help your pension keep up with the cost of living. 

OPTrust Select is designed specifically for Ontario’s nonprofit sector. For workers, it is a simple, secure retirement income solution that is modestly priced, and your employer also contributes. For employers, it is an easy and affordable way to support employees, ensuring they will have a stable and secure retirement income.

But don’t just take our word for it. 

Job Skills is a community-based employment and training organization that has been providing solutions to job seekers and employers in Ontario for over 35 years. In 2022, Job Skills began offering OPTrust Select as part of its benefits package.

Teresa Guillem, Job Skills

“The fact that OPTrust Select was recommended by the ONN was important to us,” said Teresa Guillem, Special Projects Manager with Job Skills. “This is our first time offering a retirement benefit, and OPTrust Select has provided the stable, secure path that we wanted to be able to offer our staff.”

“We want to invest in our people because, one, we want them to stay with us long term, and two, we know by investing in our staff we are also investing in our community,” Guillem continued.

Advancing decent work through pensions

The desire to strengthen the conditions for decent work within Ontario’s nonprofit sector is also driving organizations to join OPTrust Select.

North York Harvest Food Bank is the primary food bank for northern Toronto, distributing over 2.3 million pounds of food last year through 77 community programs. Ryan Noble, Executive Director of North York Harvest Food Bank, takes the concept of decent work very seriously.

Ryan Noble, North York Harvest Food Bank

“We’ve taken steps to ensure that our workers don’t fall into either poverty or precarious employment today or in the future,” he said of joining OPTrust Select in 2022. “We’ve tried to increase our wages and salaries so that they reflect living wages, but we realized that public retirement offerings simply aren’t enough.”

“Expanding our benefits package has allowed us to continue to do the work we are passionate about with the peace of mind of knowing that we have security in retirement,” he added. “We see this as investment in not just our team, but in our ability to serve our community.”

A sector-wide opportunity to invest in ourselves and our communities

A sector-wide pension plan not only pools resources across a wider range of organizations, but also provides greater flexibility for employees who may work in multiple nonprofit workplaces during their careers. The more organizations that offer OPTrust Select, the easier it is for employees to build their pension throughout their career in the nonprofit sector.

A pension plan lets organizations invest in their employees’ future, fostering a culture of decent work that extends beyond their career in the sector.

This plan provides a great entry point into a pension plan for the vast majority of sector employers. It involves a contribution rate that is set, predictable, and affordable to even small employers – and their employees.

To learn more about joining OPTrust Select, send an email to info@optrustselect.com or visit their website

This blog post was written by OPTrust. OPTrust Select is the ONN recommended pension plan for our sector.

February 24, 2023 at 11:01 am
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