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Employer Monthly - October Issue

October 29, 2020

It’s hard to believe that we are now well into the fourth quarter of 2020! One of our top priorities for the year had been to find new ways to support you and improve our service to members. We have made great progress, but there is still much more to come!

In this issue of OMERS Employer Monthly you’ll find the announcement for the 2021 contribution rates, an updated OMERS Member Handbook, important information about commuted values, and much more.

OMERS contribution rates for 2021

As part of ongoing Plan governance, the OMERS Sponsors Corporation (SC) regularly reviews the Plan to determine whether there is a need for benefit or contribution rate changes. The SC makes these decisions considering the funded status determined in the annual valuation which is an indicator of the Plan’s current financial health. Early in 2020, after reviewing the funded status of the Plan as of December 31, 2019, the SC determined that no changes will be made to the current contribution rates for 2021. Although the Plan was underfunded, the SC elected not to impose contribution rate changes and will continue to regularly monitor the health of the Plan to make OMERS sustainable, affordable and meaningful over the long term. Learn more about Managing Benefits and Contributions.

OMERS Contribution Rates on our website will be updated once the year's maximum pensionable earnings (YMPE) are announced by the Canada Revenue Agency.

We’re updating our communication practices

Now more than ever it’s important that we can get in touch with members about their pension. In response to legislative changes, and to better serve our members, starting January 1, 2021, we are updating our communication practices by moving to electronic communications. This update will make it easier than ever for members to receive timely information about their OMERS pension.

To that end, we will be adding an email address field during the annual reconciliation process.  If you have an email address, this field must be completed so that members receive timely information. If you do not have an email address on file, you can keep it blank. Additionally, effective January 1, 2021, an email address will be required on new member enrolments.

Plan amendments effective January 1, 2021

This is a reminder that the OMERS Sponsors Corporation Board previously approved amendments to the OMERS Primary Pension Plan (Plan), which will become effective as of January 1, 2021. The amendments to the Plan include:

  • eliminating the 35-year cap for credited service; and

  • allowing an employer the option to provide normal retirement age 60 (NRA 60) benefits to all or a class of paramedics. For unionized employees, NRA 60 benefits are subject to negotiation between employers and unions.

As an employer, it is essential that your payroll system is set up to continue contributions for members who will reach 35 years of credited service on or after January 1, 2021 to ensure correct remittance of contributions.

Before the end of the year, you’ll receive a report that will indicate the members who are expected to reach 35 years of credited service in 2020 and 2021. Credited service for members reaching this milestone in 2021 will not be capped and contributions should continue to be remitted. Any member who does not reach 35 years of credited service on or before December 31, 2020, will continue to contribute and accrue service in the Plan.

Read our FAQs about the 35-year cap or NRA 60 for paramedics. You can also visit for more details about these and other Plan changes.

We’ve updated the OMERS Member Handbook

The OMERS Member Handbook is a helpful resource for prospective and existing members. When changes to the Plan are approved by the OMERS Sponsors Corporation Board, this handbook gets updated to reflect those changes.

The most recent edition of the OMERS Member Handbook is the October 2020 version which includes the most recent Plan changes passed by the SC in 2020. Please ensure that if you are sharing this resource with members, you are using the current edition. You can find this information on our website.

Important information about commuted values

In January 2020, the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) revised its standards for calculating commuted values (CVs). The revised standards will apply for calculations with an effective date on or after December 1, 2020 where a CV is a payment option. The CIA publishes standards for how CVs are calculated for registered pension plans in Canada. As a registered pension plan, the OMERS Primary Pension Plan must comply with these standards when calculating CVs. These changes do not have an impact on a member's pension calculation. If your employees have questions, please direct them to the Commuted Value section of our website.

Want to know what members are saying?

Last year, we conducted a Member Engagement Survey and asked you to support the initiative by encouraging participation amongst your employees – and you delivered; thank you! We truly appreciate your efforts. We had more than 26,000 members provide feedback on a variety of topics, including, the importance of retirement security, Plan education and simplifying our communications.

As an employer, you might be interested to hear that almost a quarter of respondents do not know that their employer makes matching contributions to the Plan. The OMERS pension is an important benefit and can be a key factor in attracting and retaining top talent. We see this as a great opportunity to work with you to highlight how an employer-matched defined benefit pension can be an important part of your Total Rewards offerings.

You can read more about the results, including additional comments from members, by reading the article from our fall member newsletter.

As an employer, you can always provide feedback with our regular Employer Satisfaction Survey.

Offering voluntary enrolment

It’s that time of year again to begin preparing your offers of voluntary enrolment. Employees who qualify (or are expected to qualify before year end) must be notified 60 days prior to the date they become, or may become, eligible to join the Plan.

A qualifying other-than-continuous full-time (OTCFT) employee must be provided with an Offer of OMERS membership – Form 104 and a copy of the OMERS Member Handbook. To learn more about offering voluntary enrolment, sign up for an upcoming webinar.

It’s almost time for the next annual reconciliation

The annual reconciliation is just around the corner and we’re here to support you in the successful completion of this process. Start preparing for 119 season and get started with the Preparing for your e-Form 119 e-Learning Module. For more tips and tricks, be sure to sign up for a webinar.

Whether you’re new to the process or you’re experienced, our webinars will provide you with the most up-to-date information. Learn step by step with individual sessions or discover everything you need to know in one workshop.

There are many sessions to choose from. Here are some upcoming webinars:

e-Form 119 Reporting – Preparing for your e-Form 119

  • Thursday, November 5, 2020

  • Friday, November 13, 2020

Want to explore the webinar topics and learn from our Education & Training team?

Yes, sign me up!

We’re here to help. Contact Employer Services

Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Phone: +1 416.350.6750
Toll-free: +1 833.884.0389

Thank you for helping us administer the Plan and deliver a wonderful experience to our members.