“Yet another example of Liberal waste and mismanagement at the expense of Ontarians’ hard-earned tax dollars” –– Julia Monro, Progressive Conservative MP
“An insult to people in this province who can’t afford to retire” –– Jennifer French, New Democrat MPP
This is how some of the country’s politicians are describing Kathleen Wynne’s record spending on the now-defunct Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP). According to the Closing Report of the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan Administration Corporation, presented by the Ministry Of Finance, Wynne’s liberal government had spent a whopping $70 million dollars on the ORPP.
And this was even before the plan became functional.
The story of the Pension Plan
The retirement plan was retired before it began.
The ORPP was a cornerstone of Kathleen Wynne’s campaign and helped her come into power in the June 2014 election. The work on the Plan had begun almost a year before it was announced in the 2014 budget.
All the work on the plan was nullified when the Trudeau-led Liberal government won the elections in 2015. The federal government and the provinces reached a landmark agreement with the provinces to expand the Canada Pension Plan – a decision which rendered the ORPP useless.
Breaking down the costs
One of the more astonishing details about the spending is that a significant portion of the total expenditure was spent on severance pays for just the executive appointees selected to run the plan. On average, the executive employees received around $366,666 each on severance alone.
The Plan’s CEO Saad Rafi took the lion’s share of that expenditure. Rafi, alone, is entitled to almost a year’s salary in severance – an amount which totals up to $525,000. This brings up his total to $827,925 for just six months of work.
Almost half of the total costs – around $30 million – were utilized in creating the ORPP administration corporation. The corporation was created to run the administration of the pension plan and handle its investments. More than $6 million of those costs were spent on salaries and benefits of the employees working on the program.
The revelation about the wasted costs was met with widespread criticism by politicians from all sides of the political spectrum.
One of the staunchest critics of the wasteful spending was the Progressive Conservative MPP, Julia Munro, who termed the plan an “example of Liberal waste and mismanagement.”
“Getting the CPP enhancement could have cost a plane ticket to Vancouver, but instead the government wasted $70 million,” said Munro. “The Wynne Liberals owe Ontarians an apology.”
NDP’s Jennifer French also came out in opposition of the Plan even though her party had supported the ORPP.
“There are legitimate costs to creating such a plan,” she was quoted as saying. “Unfortunately, we’ve learned once again that the Liberal government has taken advantage of another opportunity to use public funds to reward their friends with golden handshakes.”
Wynne still hasn’t apologized to the Ontarian taxpayers for the colossal failure.