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Frequently Asked Questions

Top Member Questions

There are several ways to update your information:

  1.  myOMERS is an easy and convenient way to update your address, email and other information – it’s available 24/7 and it takes just a few minutes.

  2. Or, you can sign and submit a Changing Information (retired member/survivor) form to OMERS.

  3. Call OMERS Member Services and please provide the following information:

    • your full name

    • your OMERS reference number (or social insurance number)

    • your previous/present address and phone number

    • your email address

    • your new address and phone number, and the effective date.

The Retirement Income Estimator online at myOMERS provides you with an estimate based on your personal information. 
Your milestone dates (early and normal retirement dates) are provided for you or you can pick other dates you have in mind. You can also take your estimate a step further and add in income from personal savings, CPP and OAS, and then get a snapshot of your net (after tax) income before and after retirement. 
The Retirement Income Estimator produces the same estimate that you would get if you requested one by contacting OMERS – and it takes just a few minutes!
If you would still like to speak to someone, please contact OMERS Member Services.

You can elect and begin to receive anpension the month following your early retirement birthday. (Depending on how many years you’ve been in the OMERS Plan, you’ll be entitled to either an unreduced pension or a reduced pension.)

There are several ways to change your:

  • Visit myOMERS.com to review and update your beneficiary online.

  • Print and complete the Beneficiary information form, and fax or mail it to OMERS.

  • Send us a letter requesting a change of beneficiary. Be sure to include your name, OMERS membership or reference number, your new beneficiary(ies), % of benefit (total 100%), your employer’s name and your signature.

When calculating your “best five” earnings, we use your highest 60 consecutive months of contributory earnings. Therefore, if you only see (for example) 10 months in the first year, then you will see two months in the last year, which will complete your best 60 months.

Your estimate is based on earnings and service reported by your employer. We also estimate future earnings and service based on what has been previously reported. Your estimate may change as new information is provided by your employer.

One important factor is your comfort level regarding investment risk. If you keep your pension with OMERS, you are entitled to a stream of future pension income for life. If you choose to transfer your OMERS pension out of the Plan, you assume all responsibility for the management and risk of your investment. There may be additional costs related to your investment and you may not be able to tax-shelter these funds. 

Also, keep in mind that your OMERS pension comes with survivor benefits. You should also think about estate planning, life expectancy and other important issues in making your decision.

If you've lost your package or it has expired, contact OMERS Member Services to request another one. We can take requests by telephone or in writing, by e-mail, fax or letter.
If you send a written request, include:

  • your name

  • your OMERS membership number or social insurance number

  • your email and mailing address

  • your signature.

If you are an, notify your employer of your intent to retire.

If you are no longer employed by an OMERS employer, complete the Application for retirement pension form and send it to OMERS.

There are several ways to change your direct deposit information:

Send OMERS a signed letter with the full details of the changes.

By the end of February each year, you can view and print your tax slip directly from your myOMERS account. OMERS will also mail your pension tax slip to your home by the end of February each year. Or, you can contact OMERS Member Services.

You can request a letter of income (as proof that you are receiving an OMERS pension) by writing to OMERS or by calling OMERS Member Services.

The letter of income will be mailed to your home address. If you want the letter sent directly to a third party, we will need a written and signed request from you, with the party’s name and address.  Please indicate whether you want OMERS to mail or fax the letter.

If you are still employed by an OMERS employer, you do not need to notify OMERS of name changes. Your employer will do this for you.

If you are no longer working for an OMERS employer, please advise OMERS immediately if your name changes. To notify OMERS of a name change, send a signed letter and proof of your name change, by fax or mail, with your new information to OMERS. In the letter include:

  • your former full name (printed)

  • your former signature 

  • your new full name (printed)

  • your new signature

  • ​your OMERS reference number (or social insurance number)

  • a photocopy providing proof of the name change (e.g., marriage certificate).

It’s on any personalized document from OMERS, for example, your personal Pension Report. Or, your employer or OMERS Member Services can provide it.

If your spouse or other family member has been named by you in a continuing power of attorney for property, we can carry out the request. If not we cannot carry out a request to change your address, banking or other information, or release your information.

A continuing power of attorney for property is a legal document that gives someone else the right to act on your behalf in matters relating to your property and finances.

A lawyer can advise you on drawing up specific conditions and limitations for a continuing power of attorney for property. In the absence of a continuing power of attorney for property, a guardian of property can be appointed by the courts to make decisions on behalf of the incapable person. If no one is appointed, the public guardian and trustee assumes the authority.

The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee has a power of attorney kit that will help you appoint the person you want to make decisions for you when you are no longer able to do so. You can get a copy from the website of the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General at www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca.

Note: A person holding a continuing power of attorney for property cannot change a member’sdesignation; only the member can.

There are several ways to change your tax:

  • Change your tax online at myOMERS.com.

  • Sign and submit a Changing Information (retired member/survivor) form to OMERS.

  • Send OMERS a signed letter, with your full name (printed), OMERS reference number (or social insurance number), and the total additional monthly amount you want withheld.

If you appoint a power of attorney for your financial affairs in the event you become incapacitated, send OMERS a copy of the power of attorney document. For pension-related purposes, your power of attorney must be a continuing power of attorney for property in order to administer your affairs after incapacity.

We will deal with requests from your appointed power of attorney, provided we get proof of their identity. If you have specified that proof of your incapacity is needed first, we will require this proof as well.

Your OMERS pension is comprised of a lifetime pension, which is paid as long as you live. If your lifetime pension starts before age 65, you may be entitled to the OMERS. This temporary benefit helps “bridge” your OMERS pension until age 65, when your Canada Pension Plan (CPP) pension is expected to begin.


Joining the Plan

The time you worked for your OMERS employer before you are enrolled in the OMERS Plan can be purchased and converted into. Increasing your credited service will increase your pension and may allow you to retire earlier without a reduction. You may also have other service that you can buy back and convert to OMERS service for example, a period of service from another pension plan that you cashed or transferred out.

Note: If you decide to wait and buy back this service later in your career, it can become more costly.

OMERS is aplan. This means you will receive a reliable, lifetime stream of income based on your years of service and earnings. Once retired, your pension doesn’t fluctuate like other investments may, so you know exactly how much you will receive every month for life.

When you work less than full time, OMERS will annualize your earnings to calculate your pension. This means we use the equivalent of what you would have earned had you worked full time. 

Example: Emily works 18.5 hours a week, compared to a 37-hour full-time schedule. Her “best five” earnings are $35,000. To calculate her pension, we would annualize her “best five” earnings and use $70,000. 

As long as you continue to work for your OMERS employer, your membership in the OMERS Plan will continue – there are no minimum work hours or earnings limits. You cannot opt out of membership as long as you are working for your OMERS employer. 

You will contribute a percentage of your earnings to help pay for your future pension. Your employer will contribute an equal amount. These contributions will fund a portion of your pension. Investment earnings of the OMERS Fund will pay the balance.  OMERS contribution rates

Complete the Offer of OMERS membership form in the booklet your employer provided when you were offered membership. Give the form to your employer and they will send your information to OMERS. If you need a copy of the form, contact your employer.

Yes, it’s important that your employer have a record of your decision. Complete the Offer of OMERS membership form in the booklet your employer provided when you were offered membership. If you need a copy of the form, contact your employer.

Yes, you can join in the future if your earnings and/or hours worked still qualify for membership in the OMERS Plan; however, it becomes your responsibility to contact your employer to initiate enrolment.


Your Personal Pension Report

We will produce your Pension Report once we receive your employer’s year-end information. We usually send out Pension Reports in spring and throughout the summer. If yours is late, please contact your employer or OMERS.

Note: We run your employer’s year-end information through checks before we print the Pension Reports. Also, we have nearly 1,000 employers who send us year-end information at different times – some members will receive their Pension Report before or after you do.

OMERS collects information from your employer on an annual basis. As a result, the Pension Report you receive this year reflects your information up to December 31 of the previous year.

This is the earliest date you can retire with no reduction to your pension. You may be able to retire before then with a reduced pension.

No, the amount is your contributions plus interest; however, your employer pays matching contributions.

When calculating your  we use your highest 60 consecutive months of contributory earnings. Therefore, if you only see (for example) 10 months in the first year, then you will see two months in the last year, which will complete your best 60 months.

We do not change enrolment dates when you purchase this type of service. However, the period of time between these two dates will be included in your total.

Although we only record your hire date with your current employer, we keep track of all your service. Any service you had with a previous OMERS employer stays on our records, and is included in your pension entitlement.

There could be several reasons. The most likely is that you have worked for a previous OMERS employer. When you left, we would have mailed you an election form that outlined all of your termination options.

  • If you elected to transfer your pension benefit to your new OMERS employer, we would have merged your service from both employers together. It will appear as one total amount.

  • If you haven’t told us what you want to do with your pension benefit, theyou earned with your previous employer may not appear on your Pension Report. If this is your situation, please contact OMERS Member Services – we automatically merge your service if possible.

Your personal  Pension Report is posted on your secure myOMERS account. Or, you can contact OMERS Member Services and request a copy.

Certain income – such as overtime pay – is excluded from the contributory earnings your employer reports to us. If there’s another reason why earnings on your Pension Report aren’t correct, please contact your employer.


Pension Estimates

The Retirement Income Estimator online at myOMERS provides you with an estimate based on your personal information.

Your milestone dates (your early and normal retirement dates) are provided for you, or you can pick other dates you have in mind. You can also take your estimate a step further and add in income from personal savings, CPP and OAS, and then get a snapshot of your estimated net (after tax) income before and after retirement.
The Retirement Income Estimator produces exactly the same estimate that you would get if you requested one by contacting OMERS or your employer – and it takes just a few minutes!

If you would still like to speak to someone, please contact OMERS Member Services.

Your estimate is the gross amount (before tax).

Not necessarily. Your pension will be based on the reported financial information provided by your employer at the time of your retirement.

Yes. There is no link between CPP and the OMERS.

No. OAS does not affect your OMERS pension.


Retirement Options Form

When you notify your employer of your retirement, your employer will let us know and we will prepare and send you a package of information that outlines your options and how to apply.

If you are no longer working for an OMERS employer, i.e., you are a deferred member, you will need to complete an Application for retirement pension (deferred members) form.

The pension shown on your Pension Options Form is the gross amount (before tax).

Your benefit will remain secure with OMERS as a deferred pension.

Yes. There is no link between CPP and the OMERS.

No. OAS does not affect your OMERS pension.

No. The personal tax credit return forms are optional. If you do not complete and return the forms, the basic tax amounts will be applied and deducted accordingly.

No. OMERS does not offer health benefits.


Termination Estimates

It’s the estimated amount of money you would have to put aside today, to grow with tax-sheltered investment earnings, to provide you with a future benefit similar to the OMERS pension you’ve earned. If you take a commuted value, you take on the investment risk. If you leave your money with OMERS, you will have guaranteed income for life.

It’s the maximum you can transfer tax-sheltered. The maximum transfer value is set by the federal government and based on your age and the amount of your pension.

If youris greater than the maximum, OMERS will pay the excess to you in cash, and you will pay income tax on this amount. OMERS withholds tax on the amount over the maximum at the following rates:

  • $0 to $5,000.00 – 10%

  • $5,000.01 to $15,000.00 – 20%

  • Over $15,000.00 – 30%

The amount in excess of the maximum is considered employment income in the year it is paid.

Your commuted value estimate is the gross amount (before tax).

Yes. The commuted  option is only available until your. On/after your early retirement birthday, you are eligible for retirement options – you can retire and begin your OMERS Plan pension – but the commuted value option is no longer available.

No. You’ll be required to withdraw the full balance of your AVC account if you take your money out of OMERS. You can keep your AVC account if you keep your pension with OMERS.


Termination Pension Options Form

When you leave your OMERS employer, your employer will let us know and we will prepare and send you a package that outlines your options and how to apply.

Yes. Your OMERS pension will continue to remain secure and provide you with a future stream of OMERS Plan retirement income for life.

You can elect and begin to receive an early retirement pension the first of the month following your. Depending on how many years you’ve been in the OMERS Plan, you’ll be entitled to either an unreduced pension or a reduced pension.

It’s the estimated amount of money you would have to put aside today, to grow with tax-sheltered investment earnings, to provide you with a future benefit similar to the OMERS pension you’ve earned. If you take a commuted value, you take on the investment risk. If you leave your money with OMERS, you will have guaranteed income for life.

No. The commuted value is an actuarial calculation and does not bear any direct relationship to your contributions, your employer’s contributions, or interest.

Your benefit will remain secure with OMERS as a deferred pension.


Survivor Options Form

When we become aware of the death of a member, we will prepare and send a package to the eligible survivors that outlines their options and how to apply.

A spousal survivor pension is payable for life (it does not stop if you remarry). A child’s pension is payable for as long as the child remains an.

The first business day of each month.

None. Your OMERS survivor pension will not be affected by CPP or OAS.

Your OMERS survivor pension will stop when you pass away, unless there are eligible dependent children.

If there are no eligible children, OMERS will determine if there is a residual refund. If there is a residual refund, it will be paid to the named beneficiary on the member’s record.

In general, after approximately five years of receiving a pension, you would have received pension payments equal to the member’s contributions plus interest, and there would not be a residual refund.

Your survivor pension benefit is 66 2/3% of the member’s lifetime benefit.

No. OMERS does not offer health benefits.

You are no longer an, and your children’s pension ends (and does not restart).


Divorce & Separation Family Law Value

No. A common-law spouse of a member is not an eligible applicant. An eligible applicant includes a member or a former spouse who is/was legally married to the member.

No. The Retirement Income Estimator is not designed to perform these calculations.

Yes and no.

A former legally married spouse can apply for a Statement of FLV. A common-law spouse cannot. OMERS will provide the Statement of FLV to both the member and the former spouse (or designated contact person), regardless of who applied – this is a legal requirement.

The law requires the FSCO forms. Read more at www.fsco.gov.on.ca.  Please note that specific documents must accompany the forms to make the application complete. You can also refer to the FSCO Family Law Forms Reference Guide.

Post-2011 rules apply if your court order, family arbitration award or domestic contract was signed or executed on or after January 1, 2012. The date your pension started is not a factor. However, membership status (active, former, or retired), at the separation date (FLV Date) will determine how the FLV is calculated and the payment options if your FLV is divided as part of an equalization payment.

No, the application for the Statement of FLV is not mandatory.

No, you or your former spouse who is/was legally married to you can apply at any time. However, you may want to seek independent legal advice in regards to other factors which may be affected by the timing of your application.

No. It means that that you (the member) must initiate the process by applying for the Statement of FLV from OMERS. Once you apply, a common-law former spouse is treated the same as a legally married former spouse for the purpose of a Statement of FLV.

After a Statement of FLV has been issued, the common-law former spouse can apply for a transfer or division from the OMERS Plan.

If both yourself and your former spouse are Plan members and wish to receive a FSCO Family Law Form 4 for each of your pensions, you will need to submit separate FSCO Family Law Form 1 applications in relation to each individual.

If you and your former spouse want to value the Plan’s benefit, a FSCO Family Law Form 4 - Statement of Family Law Value is the legal statement that provides this value. It is referred to as the Statement of Family Law Value (FLV).

To receive a Statement of FLV, there must be a complete FSCO Family Law Form 1 - Application for Family Law Value provided to OMERS.

As the administrator of the Plan, OMERS prepares and provides the Statement of FLV and provides copies to both the member and the former spouse.


Statement of Family Law Value Application Process

You must submit the FSCO Family Law Form 1 - Application for Family Law Value. It is very important that it is submitted accurately and completed in order to not delay the process.

Please see FSCO’s website for a video tutorial and further information on how to complete the FSCO Family Law Form 1 as well as other forms used in the process.

In addition to the FSCO Family Law Form 1, submit one of the following documents as proof of the start date and separation date of the spousal relationship. 

  1. Joint Declaration of Period of Spousal Relationship

     (FSCO Family Law Form 2);

  2. Certified copy of a court order, family arbitration award or domestic contract;

  3. Certified copy of a marriage certificate can be used as proof of the starting date of the spousal relationship; or

  4. Appendix A of the FSCO Family Law Form 1 for proof of separation date when using two dates.

Important! The proof of start date and separation date of the spousal relationship must match what you have submitted in Part E and F of the FSCO Family Law Form 1.

In addition to the proof of spousal relationship dates which must be submitted with your FSCO Family Law Form 1, you must submit copies of you and your former spouse’s proofs of age (e.g., birth certificate). Certified original documents are not required.

The first Statement of FLV issued to you and your former spouse will be provided at no cost. Any subsequent applications made by you or your former legally married spouse will cost $600 per Statement of FLV.

Note: If you request a Statement of FLV for more than one date, the first statement issued will be provided at no cost, the second date, however, would cost $600.

Make the cheque payable to the "OMERS Administration Corporation."

The $600 fee paid is not considered a contribution to the Plan and it is not tax deductible. OMERS can issue a receipt, but the receipt will state that this is not a Plan contribution.

If you and your former spouse have not agreed to or determined your FLV Date, fill out Appendix A of the FSCO Family Law Form 1.

If you and your spouse later decide to apply for a transfer or division from the OMERS Plan, one FLV Date must be confirmed. That date must correspond with one of the dates on Appendix A.

Submit one Statement of FLV application to OMERS. While only one application is required, two Statement of FLV packages are provided.

Yes. Regardless of who applies OMERS is required to send copies to both the member and the former spouse.

Yes, if you would like a third party (e.g., lawyer) to act on your behalf you and/or your former spouse will have to submit a FSCO Family Law Form 3 - Contact Person Authorization. While all correspondence will be sent to the designated third party, please keep in mind they will not have the authority to sign the forms and required documents on your behalf.

Send your application for the Statement of FLV and required documents to:

OMERS 
900-100 Adelaide St W
Toronto, ON  M5H 0E2
Canada

Important! To avoid delays, be sure to include all required forms, documents and a cheque to cover the cost of the fee (if applicable).


Calculating the Family Law Value (FLV)

The 2012 rules specifically refer to an amount calculated by OMERS and reported on the Statement of FLV. While you are not prevented from getting a second opinion at your own expense, OMERS cannot accept a third-party valuation as a basis for OMERS FLV valuation.

OMERS determination of the FLV will comply with legal requirements. If you believe that the information used in the calculation of the FLV is incorrect, contact OMERS.

If you purchased service in the OMERS Plan during your spousal period (based on the date funds were deposited), it will be included as part of the benefit earned during spousal period even if the actual time period of service purchased did not occur during the spousal period.

If your credited service increased due to an omission period, it will only be included as part of your FLV if the dates that the omission occurred fell within your spousal period.

The pension valuation for marriage breakdown is the process to calculate the FLV. OMERS uses a method that involves using contributory earnings and credited service (as at the FLV Date), legally required assumptions and the terms of the OMERS Plan to calculate the FLV through a formula set in the law.

The assumptions used are disclosed on the Statement of FLV. The FLV must be calculated according to requirements established by the law so the methods and formulae are standardized.

If you transferred service in through a reciprocal or divestment transfer agreement, the service is included if it occurred during the spousal period despite when it may have been transferred. Note: service that is not transferred in under one of these agreements is treated the same as a purchased leave or buy-back.


Dividing the Plan Benefit

If the FSCO Family Law Form 7 is provided to OMERS, we will keep this on the member’s record to note that there was a Statement of FLV issued and that the member and their former spouse have separated. The FSCO Family Law Form 7 does not, however, prevent the member and their former spouse from settling any net family property after this form is submitted to OMERS. The former spouse may still apply to OMERS to transfer or divide the Plan benefit after the fact.

Generally no. If you were active at your FLV Date and your former spouse is eligible for a lump sum transfer the amount must be transferred to a locked-in retirement account (LIRA), a life income fund (LIF) or another registered pension plan (RPP) within Canada.

No, there is no time limit to apply for the division of the member’s pension. However, it is important to keep in mind that the member’s pension can be reduced by more than 50% if arrears are applicable.

No, there is no time limit to apply. However, if a member’s circumstances change, the amount available for transfer may be affected. For example, if a member retires and starts collecting their pension, the amount available to transfer from OMERS to the former spouse will be less than the FLV amount quoted on the Statement of FLV. This is because the member was in receipt of a pension that did not factor in any payments that could have been made to the former spouse. The difference between the FLV amount quoted and the amount that OMERS can pay is outside of OMERS, and between the member and his or her former spouse.

If the settlement between you and your former spouse requires OMERS to transfer or divide the Plan benefit (as applicable), the following must be submitted to OMERS:

If a FSCO Family Law Form 4B or 4D was issued to you and your former spouse:

  • Application to FSCO Family Law Form 5 - Transfer the Family Law Value

  • Certified copy of a court order, domestic contract or family arbitration award (as applicable) executed on or after January 1, 2012, under the Ontario, 

    Family Law Act

     that provides for a division of the Plan benefit

  • Direction to administrator form

If a FSCO Family Law Form 4E was issued to you and your former spouse:

  • Application to FSCO Family Law Form 6 - Divide a Retired Member’s Pension

  • Certified copy of a court order, domestic contract or family arbitration award (as applicable) executed on or after January 1, 2012

  • Form 157 – Claim for former spouse pension

You can use the funds to buy back service (if you haveto buy back). Learn more about maximizing your pension through buy backs.


You can also transfer the funds to an Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVC) account. AVCs are an exclusive savings opportunity for OMERS members. AVCs do not increase your OMERS pension. 


Legal Documents

Yes, OMERS requires the entire document. 

No, to transfer or divide your OMERS pension, OMERS requires a court order issued by the Ontario Superior Court or the Family Court of the Ontario Superior Court. Alternatively, you can execute a domestic contract or a family arbitration award executed under the Ontario Family Law Act in place of a court order.

Yes. A divorce granted outside of Ontario has no impact in regards to your application.

Dual members must address each membership separately in their legal documents and FSCO Family Law Form 5 or 6. Clear direction for the division of pension for each membership must be provided.

OMERS provides “Next Steps” instructions with the Statement of FLV. 

If an amendment has been made to your legal document pertaining to your pension prior to a transfer or division, submit certified copies of the amended documents.

The legal document must give clear direction stating that OMERS is to perform the division under the Ontario Pension Benefits Act (PBA) (do not reference the Pension Benefits Division Act (PBDA), for example). Please ensure the document also includes the following:

  • The FLV Date (which must match FLV Date in the FSCO Family Law Form 4).

  • Clearly specifies the transfer amount or percentage (not to exceed 50%) of the FLV that is to be paid from the Plan.

Important! If you received a FSCO Family Law Form 4B or 4D: Interest will be added to the former spouse’s share of the FLV from the FLV Date to the beginning of the month in which the transfer is made if the former spouse’s share is expressed as a proportion (i.e. percentage) of the FLV in the parties’ legal document or if the legal document explicitly requires that interest be paid on the amount.

Important! If you received a FSCO Family Law Form 4E: OMERS will include arrears in the division from the FLV Date to the month the division is administered unless the marriage breakdown document specifies that the division of pension is to not include arrears.

A “certified copy” is a copy of the original document with the signature and official stamp of an appropriate authority indicating that they have viewed the original document and that the copy they are signing is a true copy.

Please be advised that OMERS will only accept certification of court orders, arbitration awards, separation agreements or other domestic contracts by the following individuals:

  • Lawyer

  • Commissioner of Oaths

  • Notary Public

Yes, OMERS will accept a separation agreement because it is a domestic contract. There are three types of domestic contracts: marriage contract, cohabitation agreements and separation agreements

Separation agreements are the most common type of domestic contract negotiated between couples. Any court order, family arbitration award or domestic contract submitted to OMERS will need to be a certified copy in order to be accepted for the purpose of your FLV application.


Post Division Impact to Your Pension

No, it's not allowed under the Income Tax Act and the OMERS Plan’s provisions.

No, your retirement eligibility for both your normal retirement date and earliest unreduced retirement date will not change as a result of a division. The service you have accrued in the Plan remains the same for eligibility purposes.

No, OMERS cannot provide you an estimate of the impact to your pension. You have to apply for a Statement of FLV and, if you go through with the division, OMERS can calculate the impact at that time.

No, the division will not affect your "best five" earnings.

No, amounts shown on your Pension Report will not reflect the amount that has been carved out. Rather, you will receive an annual Pension Report Supplement, which provides details on the current carve-out amount.

Unfortunately, OMERS can only provide the current value of the carve-out in each year following the transfer, and not an estimated amount of the carve-out at future retirement dates.

Yes, whether the division is affected through a lump-sum transfer or split of the pension payments, your pension will be adjusted and reduced to account for the value paid out to your former spouse.


Death Benefit

Yes, your former spouse can waive their right to a survivor benefit by completing a FSCO Family Law Form 8 - Post-retirement Waiver of Joint and Survivor Pension by the Former Spouse of a Retired Member on Spousal Relationship Breakdown.

Read more at www.fsco.gov.on.ca.

If you and your former spouse were married; and

  • not living separate and apart at your retirement date; or

  • your former spouse did not waive their entitlement to survivor benefits within the 12-month period prior to your retirement date;

your former spouse will get a survivor pension for the remainder of their life.

If you were in a common-law relationship, in addition to the criteria above, your former common-law spouse will be eligible for survivor benefits;

  • provided you and they were not living separate and apart at your retirement date and had a spousal relationship for a period of not less than three years before your retirement date; or

  • you were in a relationship of some permanence at your retirement date, if you were parents of a child as set out in section 4 of the Children’s Law Reform Act.

If you pass away before your former spouse and they are not your retirement-date spouse, there are no further benefits payable following your death.

Normally, your pension will be restored to its full amount. However, if the legal document provides for it, payments can continue to be paid to your former spouse’s estate.


Retirement Compensation Arrangement

The RCA provides pension benefits, using the OMERS pension formula, which are above the maximum allowed for registered pension plans under the Income Tax Act. Benefits below this maximum are provided by the OMERS Primary Pension Plan.

Every member of the Primary Plan is automatically a member of the RCA.  However, only a small fraction of members will contribute to or receive a benefit from the RCA.

As an example, in 2018, a typical active member who retires would need to have aof over $165,000 to receive some of their OMERS pension from the RCA.

Today, a member may only contribute to the Primary Plan and RCA together on the lesser of 150% of the member’s base annual compensation or seven times the year’s maximum pensionable earnings in a calendar year ($391,300 for 2018). It is these capped earnings that may form part of a member’s .

These earnings caps are relatively recent, and so a member may have contributed on uncapped earnings in previous years. In that case, the uncapped earnings may still factor into the member’s.

RCA benefits only apply to post-1991 service credited through payroll deduction with an OMERS employer, as well as certain purchased leaves of absence (e.g., parental leaves).

No, you cannot purchase past service RCA benefits. Benefits payable in respect of purchased past service are only payable from the Primary Plan, and are subject to the applicable Income Tax Act maximums.

No, transfers into the RCA are not permitted.

Yes, your contributions to the RCA are tax-deductible in the same way as Primary Plan contributions. RCA contributions are combined with Primary Plan contributions and shown as “RPP Contributions” on your T4 slip.

No. Since payments are made separately, any tax withholding is determined separately.

The payment of RCA benefits is tied to how you choose to receive your benefit from the Primary Plan.

If you terminate employment and choose to transfer your benefit from the Primary Plan, any RCA benefit would be paid out at the time of transfer. In this case, the full RCA benefit would be taxable in the year it is paid.

On the other hand, if you terminate employment and choose to defer your Primary Plan benefit, the RCA benefit would also be deferred.

Once you elect to start collecting your pension from the Primary Plan, you must also start collecting your pension from the RCA.  In this case, you will receive separate payments from the Primary Plan and the RCA.  Like the pension payment from the Primary Plan, the RCA pension payment would be taxable in the year it is paid.

The features attached to Primary Plan, such as indexing and survivor benefits, are generally the same for the RCA.

Although there are pension splitting rules in both cases, the Income Tax Act has different pension splitting rules for retirement compensation arrangements (such as the RCA) than for registered pension plans (such as the Primary Plan). To split RCA income, the member has to be at least 65 years of age and the splitting is subject to maximums. Please see Canada Revenue Agency’s form T1032 for more information.

Since the RCA is not governed by the Pension Benefits Act, it is not administered like the Primary Plan for the purposes of post-2012 marriage breakdown rules. OMERS does not make any payment from the RCA to a person other than to the member or their survivors. Therefore, the RCA benefit cannot be split at source in the same way as a defined benefit from the Primary Plan. It will be the responsibility of the member to pay their former spouse to complete any split of the member’s RCA benefit.

Find out more about the administration of pensions on marriage breakdown.

The RCA is governed by the RCA’s terms and trust agreement, the OMERS Act, 2006 and the Income Tax Act.

Unlike the Primary Plan, the RCA is not governed by the Pension Benefits Act and is not regulated by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario.  Additionally, the RCA is not a registered pension plan under the Income Tax Act and is therefore not as tax efficient from a fund perspective as the Primary Plan.

The RCA is funded by equal contributions from participating employers and members, and by the investment earnings of the RCA fund.

The RCA is not targeted to be fully funded on a going concern basis like the Primary Plan, and is not subject to the minimum funding requirements under the Pension Benefits Act. Fully funding the RCA on a going concern basis would not be as tax efficient as fully funding the Primary Plan. 

Instead, the RCA is managed and monitored so that current and future RCA contributions, together with the existing RCA fund and investment earnings, are expected to pay for benefit payments and expenses over a 20-year period. This 20-year funding target is renewed each year with the intent of ensuring that the RCA remains sustainable over time. Each year, the OMERS Sponsors Corporation determines the contribution amounts required to meet this 20-year target.

Member and employer contributions on a member’s earnings up to an actively managed threshold (approximately $175,000) are directed to the Primary Plan and contributions on earnings in excess of the threshold, if any, are directed to the RCA. The OMERS Sponsors Corporation sets this threshold annually in such a way so as to meet the 20-year funding target described above.

No. The RCA has its own separate fund, and its assets are invested and accounted for separately from the Primary Plan.  The obligations of the RCA are also valued separately from Primary Plan obligations.

Investment of the RCA fund is based on an asset mix set out in the RCA’s Statement of Investment Policies and Procedures (SIP&P). The RCA SIP&Pwas originally established in 2007 and is reviewed annually by the OMERS Administration Corporation Board.

Since the RCA is not subject to the Pension Benefits Act, benefits accrued under the RCA may be reduced either while the RCA is ongoing or on wind up.

By contrast, since it is governed by the Pension Benefits Act, benefits accrued under the Primary Plan may not be reduced while the plan is ongoing. However, just like the RCA, in the unlikely event of a wind up, Primary Plan benefits may be reduced if net assets are insufficient to match the benefit liabilities.


Buy-back Waiting Period

Currently, a member can buy back prior service at any time after rejoining the Plan.

Effective January 1, 2020, the buy-back change establishes a five-year waiting period between the time a member receives a commuted value of their pension and the time they can buy back service associated with that prior commuted value transfer, if they rejoin the Plan.

This Plan change impacts individuals who re-enrol as members of the Plan on and after January 1, 2020 and who previously transferred the value of their pension (i.e., the commuted value) out of the Plan.

Any member who joins the Plan on or after January 1, 2020 and who previously transferred their commuted value out of the Plan will have to wait five years from the date of their commuted value transfer before being able to buy back service associated with that commuted value.

This Plan change does not apply to members who previously transferred their commuted value out due to a shortened life expectancy or transfers to another registered pension plan under a reciprocal transfer agreement or arrangement.

The Plan change is the result of an annual decision-making process intended to keep the Plan meaningful, affordable and sustainable. This change will limit the use of certain Plan provisions that could give a few members an unintended benefit at the expense of the entire Plan membership.

No.

No, this is a transfer, not a buy-back. Members who rejoin the Plan and elect to transfer funds to the Plan directly from another pension plan with the purpose of establishing service in the Plan are not affected by this Plan change.

No, the buy-back waiting period only applies to OMERS service associated with a commuted value transfer. All other service that is eligible to be purchased can be done immediately upon re-enrollment in the Plan.

No, the buy-back waiting period change does not apply to the Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVC) program.

No. In all cases, a consistent rule will be applied.


Dual Membership

The dual membership affects the timing of a member’s ability to commence receipt of their pension entitlement. Dual members are required to terminate all continuous full-time employment relationship(s) before being eligible to commence a monthly pension.

The Plan change applies to all dual members, and councillors who continue in a continuous full-time employment relationship after terminating their councillor membership.

This change impacts you if:

  • You are a dual member; and

  • You continue in a full-time position with another OMERS employer after terminating employment with another OMERS employer.

This Plan change takes effect on January 1, 2020.

As of January 1, 2020, dual members will not be able to begin their pension while continuing in a full-time position with an OMERS employer.

This change does not impact you if you are a dual member and you commence receipt of your pension before December 31, 2019.

For more information on how the dual membership change affects councillors, please contact us at 416.369.2444 or 1.800.387.0813.

The Plan change is the result of an annual decision-making process intended to keep the Plan meaningful, affordable and sustainable. This change will limit the use of certain Plan provisions that could give a few members an unintended benefit at the expense of the entire Plan membership.

The Plan change does not affect a member’s accrual in the Plan. The Plan change affects the timing of when a pension can begin to be paid from the Plan. Depending on when a member starts his or her pension, a member’s accrued pension in the Plan may change (e.g., a later retirement could result in a larger pension).

The Plan change only applies to dual members who continue to be active under a continuous full-time (CFT) membership.

Members who terminate their other membership and elect to start a pension while at the same time continuing in a second OTCFT membership will be deemed to have been terminated in the second membership despite ongoing employment (i.e., they will stop contributing to the Plan). This will allow them to collect the pension associated with their other membership.

No, the Plan change does not apply to the Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVC) program.

No. In all cases, a consistent rule will be applied.


Commuted Value Election

Currently, members who are eligible to take their CV when their employment terminates (i.e., under age 55 / 50) can choose the CV option as outlined on their pension option form at any time between their date of termination and the date that they first become eligible to start their pension (i.e., age 55 / 50).

The amended CV election places a limit on the amount of time eligible members have to elect to transfer their CV after they terminate employment.

The change affects two membership classes:

  1. Active members who terminate their employment and are eligible to take their CV as a payment option.

  2. Deferred members (as of August 23, 2017), who have not yet attained age 55/50, will have a final chance to elect to transfer their CV.

Members terminating employment who are more than 10 years from their normal retirement date receive the option to transfer the value of their deferred pension entitlement (i.e., the CV) out of the Plan in lieu of a monthly pension payment. The following members will receive the CV transfer option:

  • Members terminating employment prior to age 55 (for NRA 65)

  • Members terminating employment prior to age 50 (for NRA 60)

As of August 23, 2017, eligible active members who wish to receive a CV upon termination of employment have a one-time option to elect accordingly, and must make their election by the later of six months from the termination date and January 1, 2020. If an eligible active member terminates employment on or after January 1, 2020, the election must be made within six months of the termination date.

Deferred members (as of August 23, 2017) who have not yet attained age 55/50, will have a final chance to elect to transfer their CV. This process must be completed by January 1, 2020.

After the applicable time limit has expired, members can no longer elect to transfer their CV out of the Plan.

The Plan change is the result of an annual decision-making process intended to keep the Plan meaningful, affordable and sustainable. This change will limit the use of certain Plan provisions that could give a few members an unintended benefit at the expense of the entire Plan membership.

This change does not affect the existing window where a CV quote is valid. An active member who is close to their 55/50 birthday will continue to have six months to make their election.

No, the Plan amendment does not affect members’ monthly pensions.

No, the CV election change does not apply to the Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVC) program.

A member’s choice to pursue a different option can impact their subsequent ability to choose differently later. The time period continues to apply regardless. The answer depends on whether the member is still within the applicable time period:

  • For active members (under age 55/50) who terminate employment on and after August 23, 2017, they may use the CV option if they are still within six months of the date of their termination or they make the election before January 1, 2020.

  • Deferred member (as of August 23, 2017) who are provided with a final chance to use the CV option, must elect within the time frame specified on their election form.

As of January 1, 2020, members must be within six months of the date of their termination of employment to use the CV option.

No. In all cases, a consistent rule will be applied.


Elimination of the 35-year Cap

The 35-year cap puts a maximum of 35 years on the member's credited service.

Once the cap is reached:

  • The member stops making contributions to the Plan and stops accruing credited service, even if he or she continues to work for an OMERS employer.

  • The member’s employer also stops making matching contributions.

  • To calculate the member’s pension, OMERS uses the 35 years of credited service the member has accrued and the member’s “best five” years average earnings (including any earnings received after the date the member reached the cap). This means that a member who is subject to the 35-year cap could still see an increase to his or her annual pension amount, if the member’s “best five” earnings increase after the date the member reaches the cap.

This plan change takes effect on January 1, 2021. A member’s credited service will not be capped, provided the member has less than 35 years of credited service on December 31, 2020. In that case, the member and employer will continue to make contributions, and the member will continue to earn credited service for as long as he or she is employed by an OMERS employer.

For a member who has already earned 35 years of credited service on December 31, 2020, the 35-year cap remains. The maximum amount of credited service the member can accumulate is 35 years, even if he or she continues to work past 35 years. In other words:

  • a member who will have earned 35 years of credited service on December 31, 2020, will continue to be subject to the 35-year cap; and

  • a member who will have earned less than 35 years by December 31, 2020, will not be subject to the 35-year cap.

The 35-year cap was removed as a result of the Comprehensive Plan Review conducted by the OMERS Sponsors Corporation throughout 2018.

Removing the cap helps to address the needs of long-service members who want to work beyond 35 years. By earning more credited service, members will increase their lifetime pensions.

Yes. If a member who is not subject to the 35-year cap works beyond 35 years, he or she will continue to earn more credited service. The more credited service years in the Plan, the larger the member’s lifetime pension.

The change takes effect on January 1, 2021. A member’s credited service will not be capped if he or she has less than 35 years of credited service on December 31, 2020. The member and employer will continue to make contributions, and the member will continue to earn credited service for as long as he or she is employed by an OMERS employer.

No. Members who are capped at 35 years will no longer make contributions to the Plan, accrue credited service or be able to purchase service over and above 35 years.

No. In all cases, a consistent rule will be applied: a member who will have accrued 35 years of credited service prior to January 1, 2021 will always be capped at 35 years of credited service. Members with less than 35 years of credited service prior to January 1, 2021 are required to make mandatory contributions beyond their 35th year, and their OMERS employers will match those contributions.


NRA 60 for Paramedics

Paramedics and their employers.

January 1, 2021.

Collective bargaining (for unionized employees), and changes impacting non-unionized employees would be subject to the normal procedures for establishing a total compensation package. The employer will have to file a by-law with OMERS (for more information, see the Employer Guide below).

The 2021 NRA 60 contribution rates are:

  • 9.2% up to the CPP earnings limit; and

  • 15.8% over the CPP earnings limit.

Note: 2021 CPP earnings limit is $61,600.

If an employer establishes NRA 60, coverage will apply to all members of the class set out in the by-law (including those who do not wish to convert, and those who may not benefit from converting to NRA 60).

OMERS will reduce the credited service on the record (service adjustment) and send the member a cost to buy the service adjustment (conversion cost). The credited service is reduced because the member is now entitled to retire with a normal retirement pension five years earlier than if he or she had an NRA of 65.

Upon request, OMERS can provide a total group conversion cost for the proposed class of members.

No, this is optional. A member can buy none, some or all of the service adjustment; however, having more credited service on record entitles the member to a larger benefit.

Eventually, yes. Initially, the cost will increase as the member approaches the age they become eligible for an unreduced NRA 60 pension. Typically, it will decrease and reduce to zero around the age of eligibility for an unreduced NRA 65 pension.

The initial cost is valid for 6 months. After the expiry, an updated costing can be requested, which could be higher or lower. The purchase must be completed while still an active member of the Plan.

No, there is no refund option, even if the member continues to work to a point where the cost would have been reduced to below what the member paid for the service adjustment, or reduces to zero. Buying the service adjustment protects the benefit should anything unexpected (e.g., termination of employment or death) arise before the conversion cost starts to decrease.

Yes, but individual circumstances might still mean a reduction to someone's benefit if they retire before age 60. A member may or may not have enough service to qualify for an unreduced pension.

More information

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Comprehensive Q&A .pdf
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Employer Guide .pdf
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NRA 60 for Paramedics .pdf
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Extending Leave Purchase Deadlines

This change extends leave purchase deadlines by one year for members returning to work in 2020 or 2021.

For example, a member who returns from their leave in 2020 would currently have until December 31, 2021 to complete the purchase of their leave. With this change, the member’s leave purchase deadline has been extended to December 31, 2022.

Given the continuing challenges and uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, extending the deadline to purchase a leave of absence provides members with more time to evaluate and purchase their leave period which may alleviate current financial pressures.

I am a member who returned from a leave of absence in 2019.
No change. The deadline to complete the purchase of your leave of absence is December 31, 2020.

I am a member who will return or has returned from a leave of absence in 2020.
The deadline to complete the purchase of your leave of absence is extended from December 31, 2021 to December 31, 2022.

I am a member who will return from a leave of absence in 2021.
The deadline to complete the purchase of your leave of absence is extended from December 31, 2022 to December 31, 2023.

I am a member who will return from a leave of absence after 2021.
No change. The deadline to complete the purchase of your leave of absence is December 31 of the year following the year you return from your leave.

This extension applies to all leave purchases that are currently available (see: Taking Time Off) provided you return from your leave in 2020 or 2021.
 
This amendment does not extend the deadline for making an election for a service buy-back or the 30-day deadline for completing a service purchase for a member who has terminated employment.


Reducing or Eliminating the 36-Month Employment Requirement for Purchases of Periods of Reduced Pay

Currently, under the Income Tax Regulations and the Plan text, members must have 36 months of employment with their employer to be eligible to purchase a period of reduced pay.

This change places OMERS in a position to seamlessly adapt to any future change to the 36-month employment requirement under the Income Tax Regulations.

Given the increased occurrences of members with periods of reduced pay brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, aligning the eligibility requirement with the Income Tax Regulations allows for the seamless administration of this leave in the event any changes to the Income Tax Regulations occur.

If there is a change to the eligibility requirement in the Income Tax Regulations to purchase a period of reduced pay:
The required time you must be employed with your employer to be eligible to purchase a period of reduced pay in the Plan will automatically change to reflect the change to the Income Tax Regulations.

If the Income Tax Regulations are not changed:
No change. OMERS will continue to administer the Plan with the 36-month employment requirement.

A period of reduced pay is a temporary period where a member makes less pay because of a reduction in a member’s hours or days worked.


Permitting Temporary Layoffs as Purchasable Service

This change makes it possible for members to purchase a period of temporary layoff if the layoff was initiated in 2020 or 2021. Prior to this amendment, the Plan did not permit members to purchase absences from work related to a temporary layoff.

The cost to purchase a period of temporary layoff, if completed by the purchase deadline, would be two times the contributions that you would have made to the Plan based on your earnings before you were placed on layoff.

Given the increased occurrences of member layoffs brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, permitting temporary layoffs as purchasable service supports members by allowing them to convert the absence into credited service, which would increase their pension and bring them closer to an unreduced early retirement pension.

If you are an active member of the Plan as of the effective date of the change, June 24, 2020, you will be eligible to purchase a period of temporary layoff initiated in 2020 or 2021.

If you were placed on a layoff in 2020 and your employment was subsequently terminated by you or your employer before June 24, 2020  (whether you started your pension, elected a deferred pension or transferred out the commuted value of your pension), you will not have the option to purchase the period of layoff. This means that your pension or commuted value (if applicable) will not be impacted by this change.

If your layoff was initiated before 2020, the temporary layoff cannot be purchased.  However, if your layoff was initiated in 2020 or 2021, the date you return from your layoff would determine the deadline to purchase the layoff.

If your layoff was initiated in 2020, and you return from your layoff in 2020, then you have until December 31, 2022 to purchase the layoff period.

If your layoff was initiated in 2020, and you return from your layoff in 2021, then you have until December 31, 2023 to purchase the layoff period.

If your layoff was initiated in 2021, and you return from your layoff in 2021, then you have until December 31, 2023 to purchase the layoff period.

If your layoff was initiated in 2020 or 2021, and you return from your layoff after December 31, 2021, then you have until December 31 of the year following the year you return from layoff to purchase the layoff period.

If your layoff was initiated after 2021, the temporary layoff cannot be purchased.


Non-Full-Time Expansion

This change removes the current eligibility rules so that all
non-full-time employees, including those who are currently ineligible, could
elect to join the Plan at any time after December 31, 2022. Enrolment in the Plan would take effect on the first day of the month after the employee’s election is received and would remain in place as long as the member continues working with their current employer.

This change will not be implemented until January 1, 2023. Additional details will be communicated around the administration of this change over the coming months.

In the meantime, more information is available on the OMERS Sponsors Corporation website here.


Shared Risk Indexing

Shared Risk Indexing provides the option for the OMERS Sponsors Corporation Board, based on its annual assessment of the Plan’s health and viability, to reduce future inflation increases on benefits earned after December 31, 2022. Benefits earned on or before December 31, 2022 will be granted full indexation. Benefits earned on or after January 1, 2023 will be subject to Shared Risk Indexing, meaning that the level of indexation is conditional on the financial health of the Plan.

I am retired today (i.e., before January 1, 2023):

  • Nothing changes.

  • Your pension payments will never go down.

  • The pension benefits you earned on or before December 31, 2022 will be granted full inflation increases every year.

I am an active member today retiring on or before December 31, 2022:

  • Nothing changes.

  • Your pension payments will never go down.

  • The pension benefits you earned on or before December 31, 2022 will be granted full inflation increases every year.

  • Your pension payments will increase every year based on inflation.

I am an active member today retiring after December 31, 2022: 

  • Your pension payments will never be less than the year before.

  • The pension benefits you earned on or before December 31, 2022 will be granted full inflation increases every year.

  • The pension benefits you earn after December 31, 2022 will be subject to Shared Risk Indexing, meaning they might not grow as fast as inflation.

I am deferred member today or I become a deferred member on or before December 31, 2022:
Since you earned your benefits on or before December 31, 2022, when you retire:

  • Nothing changes.

  • Your pension payments will never go down.

  • The pension benefits you earned on or before December 31, 2022 will increase every year based on inflation.

  • Your pension payments will increase every year based on inflation.

I become a deferred member on or after January 1, 2023:
When you retire:

  • Your pension payments will never be less than the year before.

  • The pension benefits you earned on or before December 31, 2022, if any, will be granted full inflation increases every year.

  • The pension benefits you earn after December 31, 2022 will be subject to Shared Risk Indexing, meaning they might not grow as fast as inflation.

Shared Risk Indexing will not be implemented until January 1, 2023. Additional details will be communicated around the administration of this change over the coming months.

In the meantime, more information is available on the OMERS Sponsors Corporation website here.