On Jan. 1, 1990, the Ontario government created the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan as an independent organization to administer pensions and invest plan assets in diversified holdings.

Innovation and a commitment to excellence have defined Teachers' from day one. The first board chair, former Bank of Canada Governor Gerald Bouey, hired experienced CEO Claude Lamoureux to run Teachers' like a business.  Before 1990, almost all plan assets were invested in non-marketable Province of Ontario debentures.

Here are some of the milestones that transformed Teachers' from an obscure government commission to a trusted leader in the pension industry.

1990

  • Diversification into equities begins with swap derivatives, a first in Canada.

1991

  • First direct investment in private equity.
  • First investment in shopping malls.  
  • First annual report that mirrors disclosure of public companies.
  • First purchase of real return bonds.

1992

  • Partners' Agreement gives Ontario Teachers' Federation (OTF) and Ontario government joint sponsorship of the pension plan, with equal responsibility for plan gains and losses.
  • First Canadian public-sector pension plan to introduce incentive compensation.
  • First annual meeting for stakeholders.
  • First proxy voting guidelines developed.
  • Equity swaps used for first time to manage foreign content.
  • Modernization of pension administration systems begins.

1994

  • First pension fund to invest in a sports team (Toronto Maple Leafs). The investment grows over 18 years into a professional sports conglomerate (Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment).
  • First pension fund in Canada to create a long/short portfolio.

1996

  • First investment in hedge funds.

1997

  • First pension fund to introduce risk budgeting system for investments.

2000

  • First Canadian pension fund to buy a real estate company, Cadillac Fairview.
  • First pension plan to post proxy votes on website in advance of annual company meetings.

2001

  • First pension plan to provide a corporate guarantee for real estate debt.
  • One of first pension plans to invest in inflation-sensitive assets to provide stable returns tied to inflation.
  • First direct investment in infrastructure.
  • First investment in timberland.

2003

  • Founding member of Canadian Coalition for Good Governance to promote better governance practices in public companies.
  • Online pension calculator empowers members to generate their own pension estimates.  
  • Consolidation of Canadian coal industry, with Sherritt International (Fording Canadian Coal Trust), creates the world's second-largest coal exporter.

2004

  • One of first pension plans to create interactive pension statements for members.

2006

  • Pension fund grows to $100 billion, from $19 billion in 1990.
  • Personal one-stop retirement centre allows teachers to plan retirement online.

2007

  • Inaugural President and CEO Claude Lamoureux retires; Jim Leech takes reins.
  • Acquisition of one-third of regulated water utilities in Chile.

2008

  • Tied for first for pension service internationally in an independent survey.
  • Lead investor in the year's largest Brazilian IPO (OGX Petroleo e Gas).

2010

  • Co-hosted the first summit in Canada of global leaders in corporate governance.

2011

  • Signatory to the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment.

2012

  • Sale of majority interest in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment earns five times investment.
  • Last of original Ontario government debentures mature.

2013