Strong value starts with good governance

As a JSPP, governance and risk at UPP are a shared responsibility between members and employers, where each has equal say in plan design, funding, and administration.

Joint governance ensures a high degree of accountability and transparency while putting the interests of Plan members at the centre of every decision.

On this page

How it works at UPP

Guided by clearly defined mandates, UPP’s Joint Sponsors, Board of Trustees, and Management work in concert to ensure the Plan is run efficiently, strategically, prudently, and in the best interest of all Plan members.

Joint Sponsors

UPP is jointly sponsored by representatives of our participating universities in equal partnership with member union and faculty association representatives.

UPP’s Joint Sponsors include a six-member Employer Sponsor Committee and a six-member Employee Sponsor Committee (seats are evenly split between faculty associations and unions). Each Sponsor Committee has an established advisory structure as one of many mechanisms to exchange information and views among UPP’s growing membership.

The Joint Sponsors are together responsible for all decisions about the terms and conditions of UPP, including:

Setting contributions and benefits formula 

See UPP Plan Text

Defining funding policy

Appointing administrator

Setting terms for and approves new entrants

Employer sponsor committee

Donna Janiec, Queen’s University

Steve Millan, Queen’s University

Sharmilla Rasheed, University of Guelph

Trevor Rodgers, University of Toronto

Kelly Hannah-Moffat, University of Toronto

Employee sponsor committee

Kelly Sedore, Canadian Union of Public Employees

Robert Hickey, Queen’s University Faculty Association

Herb Kunze, University of Guelph Faculty Association

John Tartt, United Steelworkers

Colleen Burke, United Steelworkers

Lisa Kramer, University of Toronto Faculty Association

Administrator – Board of Trustees

UPP’s independent Board of Trustees is responsible for directing and overseeing the day-to-day administration of UPP and the investment of our assets—as delegated to Management—with the best interests of Plan members at the heart of every decision.

Actuarial valuations

Investment of assets

Member services and benefit payments

The Board includes six Trustees selected by the Employer Sponsor, six by the Employee Sponsor, one nominated by non-unionized members and appointed by the Employee Sponsor,* and an independent, jointly-selected Chair. These 14 individuals bring varied experience and deep expertise in areas important to UPP.

Five standing committees of the Board oversee management activities and make recommendations to the Board in areas specific to their respective mandates. The Board approves committee recommendations in its oversight of UPP’s operational, investment, strategic, and governance matters.

*As the voice of non-unionized employees, represented by the Ontario Association of Non-Unionized University Employees (OANUE)

Meet the Board of Trustees

Gale Rubenstein

Gale Rubenstein

Gale Rubenstein is the independent Chair of UPP’s Board of Trustees, jointly appointed by the Employee and Employer Sponsors.

She serves as counsel at Goodmans LLP, and has been recognized as a leading legal practitioner in the fields of corporate restructuring, pensions, and regulatory matters.

Gale has represented the Province of Ontario in the Stelco, General Motors, and Chrysler restructurings, in which creative approaches to pension matters were key. She also acted as the provincial facilitator for public sector jointly sponsored pension plan negotiations, involving Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP), Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (CAAT) Pension Plan, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, and OPTrust.

From 2007 to 2009, during the financial crisis, Gale represented the Pan-Canadian Investors Committee in the restructuring of asset-backed commercial paper, which became the largest court-supervised debt restructuring in Canadian history.

Gale served on the Board of Hydro One from 2007 to 2018. She currently serves on the Boards of the Scarborough Health Network, Algoma Steel Inc., the Social Services and Seniors Committee of the United Jewish Appeal, and on the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Advisory Panel.

Gale earned a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from Osgoode Hall Law School.

Alan Jette

Alan Jette

Alan Jette retired from TD Bank Group (TDBG) in 2016 where he served as Executive Vice President, Treasury and Balance Sheet Management (TBSM) and Treasurer from 2000 to November 2016. He had enterprise-wide accountability for effective management of the Bank’s balance sheet including non-trading market risk measurement and management, funds transfer pricing, liquidity risk, funding and capital management and investing the Bank’s $120 billion non-trading marketable securities portfolio. TBSM was also responsible for establishing a risk measurement framework and risk profile assessment across all defined benefit pension plans. Alan also served on the Bank’s Retirement Investment Committee, overseeing the investment strategies, management and performance of over $ 9 billion in global pension assets on behalf of TD’s pension plan members.

Alan joined TDBG through its acquisition of Canada Trust where he had served as Senior Vice President Treasury and Risk Management. Prior to joining Canada Trust, he was the founding and managing partner of the Asset/Liability Management Group, an independent investment counselling firm specializing in providing quantitative investment and asset/liability management analysis and valuation to financial intermediaries. Alan was a founding partner of Yield Management Group, in charge of its asset/liability management advisory group.

Alan earned a bachelor’s degree from Carleton University and a Master of Business Administration from Queen’s University.

Alex McKinnon

Alex D McKinnon

Alex D. McKinnon is the Research Director for the United Steelworkers Union (USW), Canadian National Office. He has worked on staff with the Union for over 35 years. Alex was the first rank and file member hired to the USW’s National Office Research Department and, in 2013, became the first rank and file member to be promoted to the Research Director.

Alex serves as a pension trustee on the multi-employer Steelworkers Pension Plan, and is Chair of the Canadian Energy and Related Industries Pension Plan (CERi). He also serves on various committees for the Financial Services Regulatory Authority, including the Stakeholders Advisory Group (SAC) and the Multi-Employer Pension Plan Committee.

Alex has served as the Vice-Chair and Chair of the University of Toronto Pension Plan and is currently the  President of Multi-Employer Benefit Plan Council of Canada (MEBCO) He previously served as a Labour Co-Chair of the Ontario University Pension Project. Alex is as a spinal cord peer support volunteer and was appointed to the Board of Directors of Spinal Cord Injury Ontario in 2018, where he serves as Treasurer as well as on the governance committee.

Alex earned a bachelor’s degree (Economics) from Sir Wilfrid Laurier University and holds the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) designation in addition to a variety of certifications in pension fund governance. He has also completed the ICD – NFP course for non-profit directors.

Alex currently is the Chair of the UPP Pension Services Committee as well as a member of the Audit and Finance Committee.

Hazel Claxton

Hazel Claxton

Hazel Claxton retired from Morneau Shepell (now part of TELUS Health) in 2018 where she served as Executive Vice-President and Chief Human Resources Officer. Hazel was responsible for developing and executing on a robust talent strategy to fuel the company’s business strategy and contributing to approaches to deliver more value to clients. She also chaired the company’s Pension Steering Committee.

Prior to joining Morneau Shepell in 2013, Hazel spent 29 years at PwC Canada where she held several leadership roles, including Canadian Leadership Group member, Human Capital Leader, and Partner within the Corporate Advisory and Restructuring Group, an area she practiced in for 20 years. 

Hazel serves on the boards of TELUS Corporation, Allied Properties Real Estate Investment Trust, Bank of Montreal, and Unity Health Toronto. She previously served on the Boards of Queen’s University, St. Michael’s Hospital, and the Shaw Festival Theatre.

Hazel earned a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) degree from Queen’s University and is a CPA, CA. She also holds the ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Hugh Mackenzie

Hugh Mackenzie

Hugh Mackenzie is a public finance economist providing consulting services to governments, unions and other organizations in the non-profit sector on budgetary policy; public and private sector cost analysis; retirement income; public finance; and economic policy.

Hugh has worked in the Canadian workplace-based pension system for 40 years as a negotiator and a plan board member, and has been an active participant in public discourse on the future of retirement income in Canada. He was involved from the earliest stages in negotiating and creating the University Pension Plan, as a consultant to the University of Toronto Faculty Association.

Hugh is a former member of the boards of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, the Ontario Public Service Pension Plan, the Canada-Wide Industrial Pension Plan and the Investment Advisory Committee of the Canada Post Pension Plan. He currently serves on the Board of the Investment Management Corporation of Ontario and chairs the investment committees of the Atkinson Charitable Foundation and the Wellesley Institute. He was a founding member of the Actuarial Standards Oversight Council of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

Hugh earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics (Honours) from the University of Western Ontario and a master’s degree in Economics (Public Finance) from the University of Wisconsin (Madison). He holds the ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Janet Ecker

Janet Ecker

Janet Ecker is currently Vice-Chair of the Governing Council of the University of Toronto, having been a member since 2014. She also served as Chair of the Pension Committee where she was closely involved in the creation of the University Pension Plan. 

As founding CEO of the Toronto Financial Services Alliance, Janet built an influential public-private partnership working to create an international financial services hub. With government and industry support, she also established the Global Risk Institute in Financial Services and the Centre of Excellence in Financial Services Education. The Centre was recognized by the World Economic Forum as a best practice in collaborative public-private partnerships.

As Ontario Minister of Finance, Janet was the first woman to deliver a budget in the province. She also led significant public policy reforms as Minister of Education, Minister of Community and Social Services and Government House Leader.

Among other awards, Janet also received an Order of Canada in 2016 for her public service and contributions to the financial sector.

A frequent public commentator, she currently serves on several public and private sector boards, agencies and advisory committees and is a Senior Fellow of the C.D. Howe Institute and a member of its National Council. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism (Honours) from University of Western Ontario. She holds the ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Kathy Bardswick

Kathy Bardswick

Kathy is Chair of the Sustainable Finance Action Council and immediate past President of the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices having stepped down in June, 2021. Previously, her professional career spanned nearly four decades with The Co-operators Group Ltd., retiring from her role as President and Chief Executive Officer in December, 2016. During her tenure as CEO, she led The Co-operators sustainability journey, receiving various domestic and global recognitions for the insurance group’s efforts. Kathy holds a Bachelor of Science (Math) from the University of Manitoba and an MBA from McMaster University. She currently sits on the boards of Foresters Financial, Wawanesa, and RGA Canada. Kathy holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Guelph and an Honorary Chartered Insurance Professional from the Insurance Institute of Canada.

Kelly Bertrand

Kelly Bertrand has over 31 years of professional experience spanning the federal government, corporate Canada, and the University of Guelph. He currently holds the position of Director, Administrative Services for the McLaughlin Library where he is responsible for communications, facilities, finance, and human resources. He previously spent 8 years in the Internal Audit department, the last four of which were in the position of Chief Internal Auditor reporting to the audit and risk committee of the board of governors. Kelly has extensive experience in audit, employee relations, pension oversight, administration, leadership, strategic planning and board involvement.

He is currently on the board of governors, University of Guelph, serving on the finance committee and the executive committee. Previously he served four years on the pension committee as a plan member representative. He has also served on the Professional Staff Association for nine years, including two terms as Chair (4 years), chaired the employment terms and conditions committee and negotiated two collective settlements. Over the years he has served on numerous other not-for-profit boards from charities to professional associations to amateur sports.

Kelly has an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Windsor, is a Chartered Public Accountant, holds a Human Resources Certificate for Accounting Professionals and has attended numerous seminars and conferences (including many on pension matters).

Laura Brownell

Laura Brownell provides advice and support on pension and benefits matters for the Society of United Professionals, an Ontario-based trade union representing over 8000 professional employees. She has been employed by the Society since 2008. As part of her responsibilities, she continues to play an integral role in protecting the interests of pension plan members during pension asset and liability transfers as smaller single employer plans increasingly merge with larger plans.

In 2019, Laura began a one year leave of absence from the Society to take on an acting role as Senior Research officer in the pension division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. While in that role, she served as a member of the Employee Sponsor Committee of the University Pension Plan and was involved in the development of its definitive documents, including the pension plan text and the Funding Policy.
Laura is an active member of the Ontario Federation of Labour Pension Committee and the Canadian Labour Congress Pension Advisory Ad Hoc Committee. She was Co-Chair in 2019 and 2020 for the annual Toronto Lancaster House Pensions Conference. Laura also serves as a member of the Multi-Employer Pension Plan Technical Advisory Committee for the Financial Services Regulatory Authority.

Laura earned a Master of Industrial Relations degree from the University of Toronto. She also holds an Osgoode Certificate in Pension Law.

Lee Anne Macmillan

Leanne MacMillan

Leanne MacMillan was the Director of Research for the Canadian Union of Public Employees and served as a member of the Pension Committee of the University of Toronto from 2013 to 2019.

Prior to her retirement in December 2020, Leanne exclusively represented working people both in private practice and in-house, including assisting jointly sponsored pension plans in the public sector and health benefit funds in the construction sector. She was involved in the transition of a multi-employer defined benefit pension plan to a jointly sponsored pension plan in the health care sector, including the development of the Trust Agreement. She also represented employees who transitioned to a jointly trusteed single employer plan in the public sector in Nova Scotia.

Leanne has been involved in pension surplus and “wind up” litigation and has acted on behalf of trustees seeking direction from the courts. She has also lectured on the fiduciary responsibilities of trustees and the duty to act with an “even hand”.

Leanne earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Studies (Honours) from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) from Osgoode Hall Law School. She was admitted to the Bar in Nova Scotia and Ontario but has retired.

Pierre G Piché

Pierre is currently retired from the University of Toronto after more than 29 years of service, including 17 years as the Controller and Director of Financial Services. Over the years, he has been responsible for overseeing the University’s financial services; establishing and monitoring accounting policies and procedures; ensuring that accurate financial controls are in place; and producing financial reports and analysis. Pierre has had a far-reaching impact both within and outside the University of Toronto, establishing accounting precedent for the Canadian university sector; contributing to the establishment of the jointly sponsored pension plan for Ontario universities; and working through university associations and peer networks to advance knowledge sharing and professional development opportunities for the university public sector.

Pierre is widely considered an expert in all university financial reporting issues. Pierre’s influence on the provincial and national stage is regularly acknowledged by his peers, who have benefited from his early analysis and evaluation of any new financial regulations, and from his research, which he quickly and willingly shares with colleagues and peers across the Canadian university finance sector. He has been honoured by his Canadian peers with the Ken Clements Distinguished Administrator Award for his contributions to the administration of higher education and twice by his Ontario peers, with the Council of Financial Officers – Universities of Ontario Distinguished Leadership Award.

Pierre’s academic research in the areas of institutional diversity, differentiation and finance has garnered him The Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education’s Edward F. Sheffield Award in recognition of his co-authored article in the Canadian Journal of Higher Education, deemed by the editors to be the best of the preceding year (2016). Pierre was also a winner in the 2014 Ontario Graduate Policy Research Challenge awarded by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities which is designed to reward high-quality graduate student research that is relevant to postsecondary education, training and labour market policies in Ontario.

Pierre is a Chartered Professional Accountant and holds a Doctor of Philosophy (Higher Education) and a Master’s of Education from the University of Toronto, and an Honours Bachelor of Commerce from Laurentian University.

Ranjini Jha

Ranjini Jha is a Professor of Finance in the School of Accounting and Finance at the University of Waterloo. Her research and teaching interests span asset pricing, capital markets, and corporate governance.

She has taught courses in Investments, Corporate Finance, International Financial Management, and Quantitative Finance. She has served as the faculty mentor for the Student Investment Fund, the Student Venture Fund, and Women in Finance, student-focused finance experiential initiatives at the School of Accounting and Finance.

She has served on the University of Waterloo’s Pension and Benefits Committee (P&B) for multiple terms. Since 2020 she has been a member of the Pension Investment Committee that is a subcommittee of P&B with a mandate to oversee the investment of the assets of the University of Waterloo Pension Plan.

She has served on the Board of Directors of the Northern Finance Association that organizes a reputable annual academic finance conference. She is currently Treasurer for the Golden Triangle Angel Network, a not-for-profit organization that supports angel investors and start-ups in the Waterloo region.

She earned her PhD in Finance from the University of Alberta, MBA from Temple University, Philadelphia, and Master of Science (Physics) from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. She is a CFA Charterholder.

Ron Mock

Ron Mock

Ron Mock is a recognized leader in long-term fund investing and pension administration and advocacy. Ron served as President and CEO of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) from 2014 to December 2019. During his 18 years at OTPP, Ron worked in various roles within the Investment Division, including leading the Fixed Income and Alternative Investment Department, overseeing approximately $70 billion of the firm’s assets.

Ron started his career as an electrical engineer with Ontario Hydro, where he ultimately became responsible for nuclear safety and licensing at key nuclear generating stations. After moving into finance, he served with investment dealer Burns Fry (now BMO Nesbitt Burns), where he directed sales and trading staff in derivative products and held the firm’s membership seat on the Chicago Board of Trade, among other exchanges.

York University awarded Ron an honorary Doctor of Laws in recognition of his contributions to corporate leadership, investments and gender equality and the Recognition Award for Outstanding Executive Leadership. Ron currently serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council at the Schulich School of Business at York University. In 2018, Ron was presented with Belgium’s Commander of the Order of the Crown, one of the highest distinctions in the national orders of the Kingdom of Belgium.

Ron earned a Bachelor of Applied Science (Electrical Engineering) from the University of Toronto and a Master of Business Administration from York University.

Sue Wurtele

Sue Wurtele

Sue Wurtele is an award-winning educator and a member of the faculty of the Trent University School of the Environment. Her teaching and research focus on cultural and feminist geography with an emphasis on issues relating to aging.

Sue serves as the lead negotiator for the Trent University Faculty Association and through her years in that role, and as chair of the provincial collective bargaining committee for university faculty, she has gained extensive experience in pensions and benefits. Additionally, in the early explorations of options for a jointly sponsored pension plan in the university sector in Ontario, Sue was the labour co-chair of the University Pension Project.

Sue also served as the inaugural Chair of the Board of Trustees for ONE-T, an employee life and health trust (ELHT) in Ontario’s education sector serving approximately 15,000 members.

Sue earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Trent University and a Ph.D. from Queen’s University.

Standing committees of the Board

Audit and Finance Committee

Monitors audit and financial matters, ensuring the integrity of UPP’s accounting and financial reporting and system of internal controls, internal and external audit functions, operational risk management, and compliance monitoring functions.

Governance Committee

Ensures UPP fulfils our responsibilities to strong governance and effective Board stewardship by establishing governance frameworks, committee structures, Board evaluation and effectiveness, and overseeing public disclosures, legal matters, and ethical and whistleblower reports.

Human Capital Committee

Provides oversight and recommendations related to human capital matters and ensures human capital strategies support the fulfilment of UPP’s purpose. Areas of oversight include CEO goals and objectives and performance evaluation, executive leadership team structure, compensation and succession planning, UPP’s compensation philosophy and approach, and organizational culture and related areas, such as equity, diversity, inclusion, and reconciliation.

Investment Committee

Oversees investment of the Plan assets per UPP’s published Statement of Investment Policies and Procedures, as well as plan funding and risk management, and actuarial matters.

Pension Services Committee

Provides oversight and support related to pension administration, member and participant services, and communications and engagement strategies and programs.

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UPP members have a direct voice at the decision-making table through their Sponsor delegates and their appointed Board of Trustees.

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