HOOP sees best returns in decade: health-care pension in surplus funded position

TORONTO – The pension fund representing more than 270,000 Ontario health-care workers and retirees is reporting its best returns in more than a decade.

The Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan reported Wednesday that its investments returned 17.1 per cent in 2012, boosting the plan to a record $47.4 billion in assets from $40.3 billion a year ago.

HOOPP says its average rate of return over the last decade is 10 per cent and that it is in a surplus position at a time when many defined benefit pension plans in Canada are struggling to meet their obligations.

“At the end of 2012, HOOPP was 104 per cent funded — this fully funded status means the plan has sufficient assets to pay for every promised member’s pension benefit, with no shortfall,” HOOPP said in announcing its results.

The plan paid out more than $1.4 billion in pension benefits in 2012, an increase of $151 million over 2011, he added.

Created in 1960, HOOPP represents more than 440 health-care organizations in Ontario and 274,000 members including nurses, medical technicians, food services staff, laundry workers and others.

Its board of trustees has representation from the Ontario Hospital Association and four unions: the Ontario Nurses’ Association, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union, and the Service Employees International Union.