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COVID-19 Update: Information for Employers

Updated as of September 21, 2021

We have received numerous questions about how COVID-19 is impacting the OMERS Primary Pension Plan (Plan). As a result, we have compiled these Frequently Asked Questions. Given the continually changing circumstances, we will update this page with new information as it becomes available.

Further, on June 24, 2020, the Sponsors Corporation Board approved three Plan amendments related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The information below has been updated to reflect these changes. More information about these Plan amendments can be found on our Plan Change Announcements page.


Frequently Asked Employer Questions

Our mailroom is still operating, and letters will continue to be sent via Canada Post.

The OMERS Pensions team is still running business as usual. If you need a digital version of a specific letter, we can forward that to you. Our Employer Services team is available via email or phone from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.

No. Employees who wish to start their pensions are encouraged to review and complete applications in a timely manner. Completed applications should include:

1. Form 143 - Request for an OMERS Plan benefit (from the employer)
2. The relevant banking information; and
3. A signed election form or signed advanced waiver election form as applicable.

We encourage employers to send any supporting documents in advance, and to scan and email documents rather than sending by fax or through the mail. If you have any trouble providing these completed documents, please contact Employer Services so that we can help.

The current rules for re-employment of an OMERS pensioner continue to apply in this situation. See section 2.1.5 Re-employed retired members in the Employer Administration Manual.

Pursuant to the requirements of the Income Tax Act, a member cannot accrue service in the Plan while receiving an OMERS pension. If a member wishes to continue receiving their pension payment while working, they will not be permitted to re-enrol in the Plan even if they would otherwise be required to re-enrol (i.e., they are either returning to (a) (CFT) employment or (b)(OTCFT) employment where mandatory enrolment is required for that class of employees).

If the member does not wish to re-enrol in order to continue receiving their pension, the election should be made as close to the re-hire date as possible. The election takes effect from the hire date.

The Income Tax Act also prescribes a maximum age for pension plan participation. Accordingly, despite the above, employees are not permitted to enrol past November of the year they turn age 71.

No. This type of pay must be excluded from contributory earnings. Since the pay is temporary in nature, it falls outside of the description of amounts being received on a regular and recurring basis (whether the additional pay is provided in a one-time lump sum or over a temporary period of time).

Currently, absences from work are treated differently, with some purchasable and others not.

Absences related to Emergency Leave: Declared Emergencies and Infectious Disease Emergencies

OMERS has reviewed the Plan provisions regarding leaves in the context of the recent amendments and regulations to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA). Declared Emergency Leaves and Infectious Disease Emergency Leaves (collectively referred to as Emergency Leave) are purchasable for OMERS purposes.

The cost of contributions to purchase an Emergency Leave is generally one times the cost of contributions (with contribution amounts determined using members’ annual contributory earnings in effect before the leave started).

Pursuant to O. Reg 228/20: Infectious Disease Emergency Leave under the ESA (IDEL Regulation), a non-unionized employee’s period of absence resulting from COVID-19 may be deemed to be an Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL) instead of a temporary layoff. In some cases, this may result in the cost of contributions to purchase the IDEL to be two times the cost of contributions.

Note that an IDEL is also available in other prescribed situations for unionized and non-unionized employees.

See below for additional information.

1. Non-unionized employee who experienced a temporary elimination of hours between March 1, 2020 and January 1, 2022:

If a non-unionized employee experienced a temporary elimination of hours between March 1, 2020 and January 1, 2022 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, their absence from work may be deemed to be an IDEL under the ESA.

If this is the case, the cost to purchase their leave of absence may be one or two times the cost of contributions (with contribution amounts determined using members’ annual contributory earnings in effect before the leave started). In most cases, one times the cost of contributions will apply. However, based on certain exemptions under the IDEL Regulation, two times the cost of contributions could apply depending on when the absence started and whether the member and employer were contributing to the OMERS Plan on May 29, 2020 (employers should refer to the requirements of the IDEL Regulation to determine if this exemption applies).

A leave of absence that is deemed to be an IDEL can be purchased by the member at the applicable cost of contributions when they return from their leave. This is the case for all Emergency Leaves.

2. Employee on a temporary layoff initiated in 2020 or 2021:

If an employee was placed on a temporary layoff in 2020 or 2021, their layoff can be purchased at two times the cost of contributions (based on the employee’s deemed earnings in effect before the leave started) when they return from their leave, as long as their employment was not terminated by you or them before June 24, 2020.

If an employee was placed on a temporary layoff that was initiated in 2020, and their employment was subsequently terminated by you or them before June 24, 2020 (whether the employee started to receive a pension, elected a deferred pension or transferred out the commuted value of their pension), they will not have the option to purchase the period of layoff.

If a non-union employee was placed on temporary layoff that was later deemed to be an Infectious Disease Emergency Leave, please see the first scenario described above.

3. Employee on a temporary layoff that was initiated before 2020 or after 2021:

If an employee was placed on a temporary layoff that was initiated before 2020 or after 2021, the Plan does not provide them with the option to purchase their temporary layoff.

4. Employee who has had their work hours temporarily reduced but not eliminated:

Please see How will OMERS administer employee reductions in work hours? below for more information.


For guidance on which leave type should be reported in e-access for the member’s absence, please refer to 4.1.10 Leaves of absence in the Employer Administration Manual.

Please note that the determination of whether an employee is eligible for a leave of absence under the Emergency Leave provisions is an employment decision. OMERS does not make this determination. Employers should consider seeking legal advice for any questions in this area.

Depending on the circumstances of the employee’s reduction in work hours, the absence from work may be purchasable for OMERS purposes as either a period of reduced pay or as an Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL) pursuant to O. Reg 228/20: Infectious Disease Emergency Leave under the Employment Standards Act, 2000.

See below for additional guidance.

1. If a member’s hours were reduced before March 1, 2020, but their earnings remained unchanged:

If the employee is a(CFT) member whose earnings continue at 100%, even if they work fewer hours, their pension will not be impacted, and you will continue to deduct OMERS contributions for their credited service based on their earnings.

2. If a member experienced a temporary reduction in hours before March 1, 2020, or the member’s hours were reduced for reasons unrelated to COVID-19 (and their earnings were reduced as a result):

The member is only impacted by a temporary reduction in their work hours if their pay is also reduced. If this is the case, the period of temporary reduced hours and pay would be reported as an Authorized Leave.

As an Authorized Leave, the member can purchase the unworked days at two times contribution cost (based on their deemed earnings before the leave) when they return to their permanent work schedule, if they meet the eligibility requirements under the Income Tax Regulations.*

If the member is a non-unionized member whose hours were reduced before March 1, 2020 and who continues to experience a reduction in hours after March 1, 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, two separate leave periods should be reported:

  1. Their leave period up until March 1, 2020 should be reported as an Authorized Leave, purchasable at two times the cost of contributions if they meet the eligibility requirements under the Income Tax Regulations.*

  2. The remainder of their period of reduced hours from March 1, 2020 to January 1, 2022 may be deemed to be an IDEL. If this is the case, the cost to purchase their leave of absence will be treated the same as a non-unionized employee who experienced a temporary elimination of hours between March 1, 2020 and January 1, 2022. See the question How will OMERS administer employee absences from work (e.g., leaves or temporary layoffs) related to COVID-19? above for more information.


*The Income Tax Regulations require employees to be employed with their employer for 36 months before the start of their period of reduced pay. On July 2, 2020 the Department of Finance released draft regulations that set aside the 36-month employment requirement for periods of reduced pay in 2020, and subsequently extended these draft regulations by one additional year on May 20, 2021. In light of this change, members may purchase periods of reduced pay that occur in 2020 and 2021 without consideration to the 36-month employment requirement.


3. If a non-unionized member experienced a reduction in hours between March 1, 2020 and January 1, 2022 because of the COVID-19 pandemic:

The non-unionized member’s period of reduced hours may be deemed to be an IDEL under the ESA.

If this is the case, the cost to purchase their leave of absence will be treated the same as a non-unionized employee who experienced a temporary elimination of hours between March 1, 2020 and January 1, 2022. See the question How will OMERS administer employee absences from work (e.g., leaves or temporary layoffs) related to COVID-19? above for more information.

For guidance on which leave type should be reported in e-access for the member’s absence, please refer to 4.1.10 Leaves of absence in the Employer Administration Manual.

Please note that the determination of whether an employee is eligible for a leave of absence under the Emergency Leave provisions is an employment decision. OMERS does not make this determination. Employers should consider seeking legal advice for any questions in this area.

A member’s pensionable earnings are based on contributory earnings for the 60 months of consecutive credited service during which the contributory earnings are the highest.

See below for information on how a period of temporary layoff could impact a member’s pensionable earnings.

If a member was on a temporary layoff that was initiated in 2020 or 2021:

If a member’s temporary layoff was initiated in 2020 or 2021 and their employment was not terminated by you or them before June 24, 2020, the member can purchase their layoff at two times the cost of contributions (based on their deemed earnings in effect before the leave started) when they return from their leave.

By purchasing their temporary layoff period, their absence is included as credited service and may be considered when determining their pensionable earnings. If earnings are credited for the period and this period makes up part of their highest 60 months of consecutive credited service, it will be used for the purposes of determining their pensionable earnings. If it is not purchased, it will not be treated as a period of eligible service (i.e., to determine when a member is eligible for an unreduced pension).

If a member was on a temporary layoff that was initiated before 2020 or after 2021:

If a member was on a temporary layoff that was initiated before 2020 or after 2021, they will not have the option to purchase the period of layoff.

As a result, their period of temporary layoff will not be included when determining their pensionable earnings. As the temporary layoff will be ignored, the period of credited service before and after the layoff will be linked and considered continuous when determining their pensionable earnings.

1. Can the member purchase the reduction in earnings?

If you temporarily reduce a member’s earnings but require that they continue to work their regularhours, they will not be able to purchase the reduction in earnings for OMERS purposes.

2. How does this temporary reduction in earnings impact contributory earnings and credited service?

During this period, members continue to make contributions, based on actual (reduced) pay, and will continue to accrue credited service. Their contributory earnings for this period will be based on the actual (reduced) earnings.

3. How does this temporary reduction in earnings impact pensionable earnings?

A member’s pensionable earnings are based on their highest 60 consecutive months of contributory earnings. In this case, because they are still contributing on their reduced earnings, these earnings will be included in pensionable earnings if it is part of a member’s highest 60 months of consecutive credited service.

You and your employees can visit the OMERS Community site, which offers resources, including health and wellness information from our Chief Medical Officer Dr. James Aw, and inspirational stories from OMERS portfolio companies and from our member and employer communities.

Please feel free to make use of this resource yourself and to distribute it to your employees who may be seeking support.

If the pay is continued as regular wages/salary (i.e., not a lump-sum payment), then OMERS deductions should be made. In this case the regular pay is considered uninterrupted.

Top-up payments to Employment Insurance benefits are not considered to be amounts received on a regular and recurring basis (i.e., these payments are temporary) and are therefore excluded from contributory earnings.

OMERS remains a defined benefit pension plan focused on paying predictable monthly incomes to its members in retirement. This has not changed, even with the global pandemic situation. Our pension promise is very important, both to our members and to us.

We want to emphasize a key point – the OMERS pension is built for the long run. Our members can be certain that OMERS team of expert investors worldwide has been taking specific measures over the last several years to help safeguard our portfolio as much as possible for events just like this one.

From an investment perspective, we remain focused on long-term returns. Our members should have confidence that our high-quality portfolio and highly capable and experienced team will continue to take steps to deliver on our pension promise.

Recently the CRA released guidance on employer provided benefits and allowances pertaining to commuting and home office costs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance from CRA states that, under certain circumstances, these employer-paid benefits are not considered taxable if received during the period from March 15, 2020 to December 31, 2020.

OMERS instructions on contributory earnings have not changed. An employer paid benefit must be included in contributory earnings if it is both an ongoing part of the member’s compensation and taxable. Employer paid amounts that are not taxable cannot be included in contributory earnings.

As a result, amounts paid or benefits provided by an employer that are no longer taxable under certain circumstances as per the CRA’s guidance should be excluded from OMERS deductions and reporting. Other amounts that are one-time payments (e.g., reimbursement for work from home equipment above $500) are also non-contributory as they are temporary.

Please refer to the guidance on the CRA website for more information.

Yes. If a member is entitled to the Paid IDEL, employer and member contributions are to continue, unless the member notifies you that they do not wish to contribute during the Paid IDEL. Contributions will be deducted at 100% of the member’s annual contributory earnings regardless of whether their pay during the Paid IDEL is capped at $200 per day.

Please see the Employer Bulletin for more information about the Paid IDEL.


Employer Bulletin: Information on Absences from Work Related to COVID-19

We understand that employers are facing significant challenges as a result of the COVID-19 situation which may impact their workforces. This update is intended to assist employers in understanding some of the impacts that different types of employee absences may have from an OMERS Plan perspective.* Please note that this update reflects the information available to OMERS as of July 21, 2021.


*This update only relates to the OMERS Primary Pension Plan, and not the Retirement Compensation Arrangement.


Emergency Leave under the Employment Standards Act, 2000

The government amended some of the leaves of absence provisions in the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) related to emergency leaves, including Declared Emergencies and Infectious Disease Emergencies (collectively, Emergency Leave). You can access the ESA provisions on the government’s e-laws website.

In light of the COVID-19 situation, some examples of an Emergency Leave might include:

  • an employee who cannot come to work due to their business being ordered to close as a result of the emergency declared pursuant to the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act; or

  • an employee who cannot come to work because they are in quarantine, pursuant to the designation of COVID-19 as an infectious disease by regulation (retroactive to January 25, 2020).

Please note that the determination of whether an employee is eligible for a leave of absence without pay under the Emergency Leave provisions of the ESA is an employment decision. OMERS does not make this determination. Employers should consider seeking legal advice for any questions in this area.

IDEL Regulation

On May 29, 2020, the Ontario government filed a new regulation, O. Reg 228/20: Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL Regulation) under the ESA, which has since been amended. You can access the IDEL Regulation on the government’s e-laws website.

With exceptions, the IDEL Regulation deems non-unionized employees whose hours of work have been temporarily reduced or eliminated by their employer due to COVID-19 to be on an Emergency Leave (Deemed IDEL). Entitlement to a Deemed IDEL applies during the period which commenced on March 1, 2020 and ends on January 1, 2022.

Therefore, employers may wish to consider whether they have non-unionized employees who, because of COVID-19, were on an Authorized Leave or on a Temporary Layoff that may now be a Deemed IDEL. Again, employers should consider seeking legal advice for any questions in this area.

Paid IDEL

On April 29, 2021, the Ontario government passed Bill 284, COVID-19 Putting Workers First Act, 2021 that amends the ESA to provide eligible employees up to three days of paid infectious disease emergency leave (Paid IDEL) in addition to the existing unpaid IDEL described above. Employees must meet the applicable eligibility requirements to be entitled to the Paid IDEL, including the absence of a contractual entitlement to sick pay that meets the prescribed requirements under the ESA.

The Paid IDEL became effective on April 19, 2021 and will end on January 1, 2022. If eligible for the Paid IDEL, an employer must pay the employee’s regular wages (as defined by the ESA), up to a cap of $200 per day. The Paid IDEL is capped at $200 per day.

Please note that the determination of whether an employee is eligible for a Paid IDEL must be determined by the employer based on the prescribed eligibility provisions in the ESA, including the contractual entitlement to sick leave. OMERS does not make this determination. As with all employment-related decisions regarding Emergency Leaves, employers should consider seeking legal advice for any questions in this area.


Emergency Leave for OMERS Purposes

Similar to most other ESA protected leaves (e.g., pregnancy or parental leave), under the terms of the OMERS Plan, a member may purchase a period of Emergency Leave by paying one times the cost of contributions, based on the member’s annual contributory earnings as established on the day prior to the Emergency Leave. As further discussed below, in limited circumstances, a member on a Deemed IDEL may be required to pay two times the cost of contributions.

As of April 19, 2021, Emergency Leave also includes the Paid IDEL, during which employers and members can continue to contribute during the leave.

Extended Deadlines for Leave Purchases

The deadline to purchase an Emergency Leave depends on when the member returns from their leave:

  • If a member returns from an Emergency Leave in 2020, the deadline for the member to complete their purchase will be December 31, 2022.

  • If a member returns from an Emergency Leave in 2021, the deadline for the member to complete their purchase will be December 31, 2023.

  • In all other cases, the member has until the end of the year following the year in which they return from the Emergency Leave to make their purchase.

If the member does not purchase this leave by the leave purchase deadline but wishes to do so at a future date, the member may buy back the leave (there would be no employer contributions). Note that the cost of a buy-back is calculated differently.

Any Emergency Leave period that is not purchased by the member would be considered eligible service (i.e., to determine when a member is eligible for an unreduced pension).

IDEL Regulation – Deemed IDEL

As a result of the IDEL Regulation, the cost for non-unionized employees on a Deemed IDEL to purchase their leave may differ from what was outlined above.

In most cases, a member will be eligible to purchase a period of Emergency Leave at one times the cost of contributions. However, based on certain exemptions under the IDEL Regulation (0. Reg. 228/20), two times the cost of contributions will apply depending on when the absence started and whether the member and employer were contributing to the OMERS Plan on May 29, 2020 (employers should refer to the requirements of the IDEL Regulation to determine if this exemption applies).

For more information on Deemed IDEL purchases please refer to the Employer Administration Manual. Any Deemed IDEL period that is not purchased by the member would be considered eligible service (i.e., to determine when a member is eligible for an unreduced pension).

Paid IDEL

Payments made to members during a Paid IDEL are considered contributory earnings for OMERS purposes. Employers should continue to deduct Plan contributions through regular payroll from the payments made to a member during a Paid IDEL, unless the member provides notice to the employer that they do not wish to continue contributions. The member and employer contributions during the Paid IDEL must be based on 100% of the member’s annual rate of contributory earnings (as established on the day prior to the Paid IDEL) and remitted to OMERS in the normal course.

Where a member and employer have contributed to the Plan, no additional reporting of the Paid IDEL is required. If a member has notified the employer that they do not wish to contribute during the Paid IDEL, the employer must report a statutory leave. Further reporting information can be found in the Employer Administration Manual.

Any Paid IDEL period that is not purchased by the member would be considered eligible service (i.e., to determine when a member is eligible for an unreduced pension). If a member has provided notice that they do not wish to continue contributions during the Paid IDEL, the member will not accrue credited service during the Paid IDEL. However, they will have the opportunity to purchase the Paid IDEL within the time periods described above.

Note that if an employer has determined that an employee is not entitled to a Paid IDEL but is receiving sick pay under an employment policy, contract or collective agreement, employers should follow OMERS established practices for reporting leaves and deduct contributions based on whether the employee is on a fully paid leave or partially paid leave. Please refer to the Employer Administration Manual for more details.


Other Authorized Leave

Employers sometimes authorize an employee to take an unpaid leave of absence, which is not provided for under the ESA (Authorized Leave). An Authorized Leave might include, for example, a personal leave of absence.

Under the terms of the OMERS Plan, OMERS members who are eligible to purchase their period of Authorized Leave can purchase their leave by paying two times the cost of contributions, based on their deemed earnings. In other words, if the member is eligible to purchase this leave and elects to do so, the employer would not be required to match the contributions.

Extended Deadlines for Leave Purchases

If the member is eligible to purchase an Authorized Leave, the purchase deadline depends on when the member returns from their leave:

  • If a member returns from an Authorized Leave in 2020, the deadline for the member to complete their leave purchase will be December 31, 2022.

  • If a member returns from an Authorized Leave in 2021, the deadline for the member to complete their leave purchase will be December 31, 2023.

  • In all other cases, the member has until the end of the year following the year in which they return from the Authorized Leave to make their leave purchase.

If a member who is eligible to purchase an Authorized Leave does not purchase the leave by the applicable purchase deadline but wishes to do so at a future date, the member may buy back the leave (i.e., there would be no employer contributions). Note that the cost of a buy-back is calculated on a different basis.

Any Authorized Leave period that is not purchased by the member would not be considered eligible service (i.e., to determine when a member is eligible for an unreduced pension).

Employment Requirements for Periods of Reduced Pay

Prior to any amendments to the Plan text and the Income Tax Regulations, members needed to have at least 36 months of employment with their employer to be eligible to purchase a period of reduced pay.

On July 2, 2020, the Department of Finance released draft regulations that set aside the 36-month employment requirement for periods of reduced pay in 2020, and subsequently extended these draft regulations by one year on May 20, 2021. The Plan amendment passed by the SC Board on June 24, 2020 placed OMERS in a position to seamlessly adapt to the change in this employment requirement under the Income Tax Regulations. Currently, members are eligible to purchase periods of reduced pay in 2020 and 2021 without consideration to the 36-month employment requirement.

IDEL Regulation

Employers may wish to consider whether employees who were previously on an Authorized Leave are now on a Deemed IDEL, as a result of the IDEL Regulation (discussed above). To that end, employers may wish to seek legal advice.


Temporary Layoff

Employers sometimes lay off employees for a period which lasts as long as recall rights exist or the employer reasonably expects to recall the member (Temporary Layoff). Employers who are considering placing employees on Temporary Layoff may wish to consider whether those employees are entitled to a leave of absence without pay under the Emergency Leave provisions in the ESA. To that end, employers may wish to seek legal advice.

Temporary Layoffs in 2020 and 2021

Under the terms of the OMERS Plan, a member can purchase their period of Temporary Layoff as credited service by paying two times the cost of contributions, based on the member’s deemed earnings, as long as their Temporary Layoff was initiated in 2020 or 2021 and the member’s active membership in the OMERS Plan did not cease before June 24, 2020 (whether they started their pension, elected a deferred pension or transferred out the commuted value of their pension).

Extended Deadlines for Leave Purchases

The deadline to purchase the Temporary Layoff depends on when the member returns from their Temporary Layoff:

  • If a member returns from their Temporary Layoff in 2020, the deadline for the member to complete their purchase will be December 31, 2022.

  • If a member returns from their Temporary Layoff in 2021, the deadline for the member to complete their purchase will be December 31, 2023.

  • In all other cases, the member has until the end of the year following the year in which they return from their Temporary Layoff to make their purchase.

If the member does not purchase this Temporary Layoff by the applicable purchase deadline but wishes to do so at a future date, the member may buy back the Temporary Layoff (there would be no employer contributions). Note that the cost of a buy-back is calculated differently.

Any period of Temporary Layoff that is not purchased or is not eligible for purchase would not be considered eligible service.

IDEL Regulation

Employers may wish to consider whether employees who were previously on a Temporary Layoff are now on a Deemed IDEL, as a result of the IDEL Regulation (discussed above). To that end, employers may wish to seek legal advice.


Summary of Leaves

The following chart provides a summary of the impacts of Emergency Leaves, Authorized Leaves and Temporary Layoffs on absence purchases.

Period of absence

Emergency Leave

Emergency Leave

Authorized Leave

Temporary Layoff

Temporary Layoff

Type

Deemed IDEL (Double Cost)

Deemed IDEL (Single Cost)

AND

All other Emergency Leaves that are not Deemed IDELs

All types

All temporary layoffs initiated in 2020 or 2021, as long the member’s employment was not terminated before June 24, 2020

All other temporary layoffs

Purchasable by member?

Yes

Yes

Yes*

Yes

No

Cost of purchase for member?

Member pays two times the cost of contributions (based on the member’s deemed earnings before the leave started)

Member pays one times the cost of contributions (based on the member’s deemed earnings before the leave started)

Member pays two times the cost of contributions (based on the member’s deemed earnings before the leave started)

Member pays two times the cost of contributions (based on the member’s deemed earnings before the temporary layoff started)

N/A

If purchased, are employer contributions required?

No

Yes

No

No

N/A

If not purchased, can the period be purchased as a buy-back at a future date by member?

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

N/A

*For periods of reduced pay, the Income Tax Regulations require employees to be employed with their employer for 36 months before the start of their period of reduced pay. On July 2, 2020 the Department of Finance released draft regulations that set aside the 36-month employment requirement for periods of reduced pay in 2020. The Department of Finance subsequently extended these draft regulations on May 20, 2021 to set aside this requirement for 2021. The draft regulations have now come into force. This means that for 2020 and 2021 the 36-month requirement does not apply.


Important Information for School Board Employees

New as of September 29, 2020

To keep students and teachers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, school boards have reduced classroom sizes and have offered remote learning.

As a result of these changes, the Ontario College of Teachers has warned that there is a shortage of certified teachers in the province. To teach in the province of Ontario, a person must hold a Certificate of Qualification from the Ontario College of Teachers. In unique circumstances where a school board is unable to hire individuals who are members of the Ontario College of Teachers for board teaching positions, they may apply for a Letter of Permission from the Ministry of Education. When a Letter of Permission is obtained, the impacted employee must participate in the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP). An OMERS member with a school board who does not hold a Certificate or a Letter of Permission noted above will continue as an OMERS member.

If a member is issued a Letter of Permission to fulfill a teaching position, this will have implications for their OMERS Primary Pension Plan (Plan) benefit. Below you’ll find information to help you understand the administrative impacts.

The following steps are required:

  1. Member contributions into the OMERS Plan must stop as of the day before the Letter of Permission begins; and

  2. Submit a Form 143 – Request for Plan Benefit terminating membership in the OMERS Plan.

When submitting a Form 143:

  • The event date should be the day before the Letter of Permission begins.

  • Please add a note in the additional comments section, letting OMERS know this is due to a member fulfilling a teaching position under the terms of a Letter of Permission.

Please contact Employer Services for more information on how to administer the members' OMERS benefit.

Yes, once a member starts a position to fulfil a teaching position under the terms of a Letter of Permission, they should be enrolled and begin contributions into the OTPP.

Once OMERS receives the Form 143, we will send a letter to the member providing them with their OMERS benefit options.

The member will have the following options to choose from:

  1. Leave their benefit in OMERS; or

  2. Transfer their OMERS benefit to the OTPP under an existing agreement between the two plans to establish pension service in the OTPP. The transfer process must start within 6 months of the effective date of the Letter of Permission.

A member’s decision will be based on a number of factors such as the term of the teaching position covered by the Letter of Permission. As a result, we encourage members to consult a trusted financial planner who can review potential costs and tax implications to help them make an informed decision.

When their teaching position covered by the Letter of Permission expires, if no extension is granted and the member qualifies, the member should be re-enrolled in the OMERS Plan. The following administration is required:

  1. The member’s OMERS contributions should commence the day they qualify for, and are re-enrolled; and

  2. Submit a Form 102 – Member Enrolment to notify OMERS of the member’s re-enrolment.

Once their Letter of Permission expires, the member must contact the OTPP regarding the options available to them in respect to their OTPP benefit.

Please refer to section 22 of the Employer Administration Manual or contact Employer Services.


OMERS will continue to monitor the COVID-19 developments and consider impacts on OMERS members and employers. If you have any additional questions, please contact Employer Services at the number below, or you can also start a conversation using our secure e-correspondence communication channel in e-access.
 
Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Phone: +1 416.350.6750
Toll-free: +1 833.884.0389