Pension for South Glengarry council floated

South Glengarry Coun. Stephanie Jaworski. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

WILLIAMSTOWN – A South Glengarry councillor has inquired about whether the township could offer the Ontario government pension plan to her and other members of council.

Stephanie Jaworski inquired about it Monday night as the township received a report showing recent changes to the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS).

Those changes have opened up OMERS to part-time, contract and summer student employees. Based on this year’s staffing levels, it will cost the township about $22,000 if all 21 employees sign on for the pension in 2023.

During her last term on council, when she was appointed deputy mayor, Jaworski says she learned county councillors are entitled to OMERS.

“I wonder if it’s something that we should be considering also at the township level as well for council members. It’s always a challenge to have lots of great people apply to be on council and some folks are, to be able to participate on council, they are perhaps cutting down on what they would be doing at another job…perhaps pensionable earnings they could get somewhere else,” Jaworski said.

The township could have councillors on the OMERS program through simply passing a bylaw, CAO Tim Mills explained. He added that South Stormont council is on OMERS.

OMERS is a defined benefit plan where municipal employees can choose to enroll. They contribute 9 per cent of paycheque, which is matched by the municipality.

Councillors with the United Counties of SD&G joined OMERS in 2017. At the time, the cost to the county for the dozen council members was estimated at $12,000 a year. The program is now mandatory for county councillors.

South Glengarry is waiting for staff to get more information and the topic will be discussed again sometime next year.

In South Glengarry, the mayor makes $30,003 a year, the deputy mayor earns $24,028 and the three councillors are each paid $19,552. Those salaries don’t include honorariums for certain boards, mileage and conferences.