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By John Shmuel

Biz & Tech Editor

Ryerson has already lost $10 million worth of investments in the stock market turmoil — and if employees retire while times are tough, the university may lose even more money dishing out pension payments.

Under the Ryerson Retirement Pension Plan (RRPP), employees of the school have money taken out of their paycheques monthly to be paid back when they retire. That money is invested in the stock market so it can grow and match an agreed upon payment. But with the stock market plunge, Ryerson is stuck coming up with the extra cash.

Paul Halpern, an expert on pension finance issues at the University of Toronto, said institutions like Ryerson are still trying to figure out how much money they might lose.

“If it gets really bad, you can still have a problem,” he said. “We’re not there yet, it looks bad, but we’re not there yet.”

Sheldon Levy said Ryerson employees won’t need to panic about their pensions just yet, since the school will take the brunt of the financial blow.

“I think our plan will be healthy,” he said. “But it doesn’t mean we won’t have lost money this year.”

The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS), which invests money for the RRPP, has posted high returns in past years.

Levy said if returns dive this year, there’s still enough money from previous years’ surpluses to protect the school.

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