ETFO Executive Member Diane Dewing introduced Ontario Teachers’ Federation (OTF) President Mike Foulds.
Mike Foulds is the 73rd president of OTF. He was elected by the OTF board of governors at their annual meeting in 2016. Foulds has been active in OSSTF/FEESO since 2004 and has served as OTF governor since 2009. He has been a secondary teacher with the Bluewater District School Board since 2001.
Foulds commended ETFO taking the lead in developing a coordinated strategy to address violence in schools, including advocating for more special needs supports for classrooms. He noted that in his travels across the country as OTF president, violence in schools is a top concern for educators – and in many provinces violence has become the number one issue of concern for educators.
Foulds then turned to briefly discuss the benefits of conditional inflation protection for pensions and why it is a powerful took to create intergenerational equity amongst pension users within the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP). Conditional inflation protection over the past several years, noted Foulds, has ensured that OTPP can remain healthy through economically uncertain times.
Foulds acknowledged that there were differences of opinion about the type of investments that OTPP should be involved in, and there are bound to be investments that not every teacher will agree with. The investment arm is designed to be independent of OTPP partners, which are OTF and the government. It is important that neither OTF nor the government gain the ability to direct the pension plan to invest or divest assets in the fund.
ETFO Vice President Nancy Lawler thanked Mike Foulds for his strong leadership at OTF and for addressing ETFO Annual Meeting delegates.
Diane Dewing then provided delegates with a quick pension update:
- OTPP had 4.2% rate of return in 2016, with an $11.5 billion surplus and net assets of $175.6 billion; and
- The pension plan is “fully funded” which means that if OTPP had to terminate operations today, it could still guarantee the pension of every teacher for the next 70 years.
More information about OTPP’s investments is included in its 2016 Annual Report.