First Steps After Leaving

If you leave your OMERS employer, you have several pension options available to you. Here, we explain what they are and the benefits of each. 

Your OMERS Pension Options Package 

When you leave your employer, you will receive a Your OMERS Pension Options package from OMERS.

Your OMERS pension is an important asset in your financial, retirement and estate planning. Review your options carefully. For specific financial advice, we recommend consulting an independent financial advisor.

Return the options form to OMERS as soon as you have made your decision about what to do with your pension.

If you need more information about your options or about Your OMERS Pension Options package please do not hesitate to contact OMERS Client Services.

Options for Your OMERS Pension

An OMERS pension offers a number of portability and early retirement options. Depending on your situation, you may be able to:

  1. Keep your pension in the OMERS plan until you retire
  2. Transfer your benefit to another OMERS employer
  3. Begin to receive your OMERS pension
  4. Transfer your OMERS benefit to another registered pension plan
  5. Transfer the commuted value (CV) of your pension to a locked-in RRSP or LIRA (locked-in retirement account)
  6. Elect a cash refund of the commuted value of your pension if your pension is less than 4% of $50,100*

    *Year’s maximum pensionable earnings (YMPE) in the year you leave your OMERS employer – YMPE for 2012 = $50,100. 

Keeping Your Pension With OMERS

If you keep your pension with OMERS (as a deferred pension) you are guaranteed a stream of retirement income for life. This is the pension you earned as an OMERS member.

  • Inflation protection is an important feature of your OMERS pension. Each year, your pension is guaranteed to increase to 100% of the rise in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), to a maximum of 6%. If the CPI increase is greater than 6%, the excess is carried forward until it can be applied.
  • You always have an entitlement to your pension with OMERS, even years from now.
  • In the event of your death, your eligible spouse and/or eligible children are entitled to survivor benefits.
  • If you go back to work for an OMERS employer, you can rejoin the plan and you may be able to merge your past and current OMERS records.
  • You can transfer the commuted value of your pension to a locked-in RRSP at a later date, until you are within 10 years of your normal retirement age.

If you choose to have a deferred pension with OMERS, be sure to keep your OMERS record up to date. You will continue to receive Member News and an annual Pension Report. If you have a new address or beneficiary information:

  • contact OMERS Client Services as soon as possible; or
  • complete and submit a Form 107 – Changing Deferred Member Information  [129 KB] or
  • send OMERS a letter that includes:
    • your full name (please print);
    • your OMERS membership or social insurance number;
    • your former employer's name or group number;
    • your new information (address, beneficiary, etc.); and
    • your signature.

If You Go to Work for Another OMERS Employer

  • If you start a new job with another OMERS employer, you can continue your OMERS plan membership.
  • Be sure to tell your new employer that you have been an OMERS member before. You may be able to merge your previous and new OMERS records.
  • Your new employer will have to re-enrol you in the OMERS plan. They may ask you to complete part of a Form 102 – Enrolling a member, giving your previous OMERS employer's name.
  • OMERS will transfer your pension record to your new employer and your OMERS pension will continue to grow.
  • If you return to work for an OMERS employer after you retire, you can temporarily stop your OMERS pension and start making contributions, potentially increasing your future pension. Please contact OMERS Client Services for details.

50% Rule Refund

  • If you leave the OMERS plan and take the 50% Rule refund of excess contributions, and later wish to re-enrol, you may be able to merge your OMERS records if you repay the refund with interest.
  • If you left your previous OMERS employer before 1987, or you did not receive a 50% Rule refund, there is nothing to be repaid and your records will be merged automatically.

Transfer Your OMERS Service to Another Public Sector Pension Plan

You may be able to transfer some or all of your OMERS credited service to your new employer's pension plan, if the plan accepts transfers, and if OMERS has a transfer agreement with the plan. This is the current list of plan transfer agreements

  • Transfers have strict time limits. Check with the new plan or OMERS regarding the deadline.
  • If you transfer your OMERS benefit to another pension plan, you are no longer entitled to OMERS benefits.
  • Your OMERS credited service may not give you the same amount of service in your new plan. (You'll have the option to "top it up.")

Transfer the Commuted Value of Your Pension

You can transfer the commuted value of your OMERS pension as long as you have not reached your early birthday.

Your early retirement birthday is:

  • your 55th birthday if your normal retirement age is 65; or
  • your 50th birthday if your normal retirement age is 60.

On/after your early retirement birthday, the CV option is not available. If you have this option, the amount and deadline will be in Your OMERS Pension Options package.

Things to consider
  • You cannot cash out the entire commuted value of your OMERS pension.
  • You may transfer the commuted value to a locked-in retirement account or locked-in RRSP from a financial institution.
  • The federal government sets a maximum transfer amount, based on your age and the amount of pension. If the commuted value is greater than this maximum, OMERS will refund the excess to you in cash, and you will pay income tax on this amount.
  • You may be able to transfer the commuted value to another registered pension plan. Some restrictions apply.
  • You can't draw income from it until you reach the minimum OMERS retirement age (age 55 if your normal retirement age is 65, or age 50 if your normal retirement age is 60).
  • Once you are within 10 years of your normal retirement age, you can use your locked-in funds to purchase an annuity or a life income fund from an insurance company or financial institution.
  • An annuity is a contract that makes regular payments for a specified time. Compare the features in the OMERS plan with what you would like in an annuity.
    • An annuity is reduced to pay for extra features like inflation protection and survivor benefits. OMERS pensions offer guaranteed inflation protection and a lifetime pension for a surviving spouse.

Important! If you transfer your commuted value out of OMERS, you end your OMERS membership and forfeit your rights to an OMERS pension and any other OMERS benefit. You become responsible for managing this money, including any investment risk and costs. You cannot reverse your decision.

What is a commuted value?

A commuted value is the “present-day” dollar value of your future pension. It is an actuarial estimate of the amount of money that must be put aside today to grow with investment earnings to provide for your future pension (including survivor benefits and inflation).

  • Calculating a commuted value includes estimating how long you will live and how much pension you would receive. Since your actual life expectancy is unknown, this is based on actuarial assumptions.
  • The commuted value is an actuarial calculation and doesn't bear any direct relationship to your contributions, your employer's contributions, or interest.
  • At the very least, the commuted value will be equal to your OMERS contributions plus interest.

Refund or Transfer of Contributions

Elect a cash refund of the commuted value of your pension if your pension is less than 4% of $50,100*

You can take a cash refund of the commuted value of your benefit if the annual pension you have earned is less than 4% of $50,100*. You may also make a tax-deferred transfer of the cash refund to your RRSP.

*Year’s maximum pensionable earnings (YMPE) in the year you leave your OMERS employer – YMPE for 2012 = $50,100.