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Getting Started

We’re here for you every step of the way – from the time you join to retirement.

Every pay period, you contribute toward your OMERS pension. Your OMERS pension can be one of your most valuable and secure assets. As aplan, OMERS provides a guaranteed stream of retirement income for life, based on your earnings and years of service.

There are many other benefits of being an OMERS member…

  • Employer-matched contributions

  • Option to bring in your pension service from previous employment

  • Survivor benefits

  • Disability benefits

  • Early retirement options

  • Option to enhance your retirement savings through Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)

As a new OMERS member, there are a few things you should do...

1. Activate your secure myOMERS pension account.

You will need your, date of birth and the last three digits of your social insurance number to complete the registration. Go to myOMERS

2. Check out your benefits.

Your Member Handbook covers your benefits in detail and is always at your fingertips.

3. Plan for the future.

Consider looking out for your loved ones by designating a beneficiary online on myOMERS

4. Think about ways to maximize your OMERS pension.

If you have a pension from a previous employer, you may be able to transfer it into the OMERS Plan. If you cashed out your previous pension, you may qualify to purchase that time and convert it to OMERS service. Find out how to maximize your OMERS pension.

Combining Previous and Current OMERS Service

In many cases, if your current and previous periods of employment/service with your OMERS employers did not overlap and you did not transfer any part of your OMERS Plan benefit from the OMERS Plan or receive a refund of excess contributions (discussed below), your OMERS records may automatically be combined.

In cases where your periods of service with your OMERS employers overlapped (including if your termination date with your former employer is after your enrolment date with your new employer), you may not be able to combine your service. See the Member FAQs.

If you previously elected a commuted value (CV) transfer from the OMERS Plan in respect of your prior service, your prior service cannot be combined with your current service but you may be able to buy back this service. You must wait five years from when you received your CV before you can buy back the service associated with the CV payment. See the Buying Service page.

Former and Retired Members

If your prior OMERS Plan benefit remains in the OMERS Plan as a deferred pension but you received a refund of excess contributions you made (i.e., a), you could have a decision to make regarding whether to combine the service you earned with your former OMERS employer with what you're earning now with your new OMERS employer by repaying the 50% rule refund with applicable interest.

If you are currently in receipt of an OMERS pension and you are re-employed with an OMERS employer, you will need to decide to stop receiving your pension if you wish to re-enrol in the OMERS Plan. Please visit this link for more information. If you decide to re-enrol in the OMERS Plan and you previously received a 50% rule refund, it must be repaid with applicable interest in order to combine your membership records.

Combining your memberships may or may not help you to retire with more pension. It's an important decision and some high-level information to consider is provided below. You may also want to speak to an independent adviser.

Some background facts…

Your OMERS lifetime pension + bridge benefit to age 65

2% x credited service (years) x "best five" earnings

Less OMERS bridge benefit at age 65

0.675% x credited service (years) x lesser of "best five" earnings or $61,840

Equals your OMERS lifetime pension from age 65

$61,840 – the current five-year average (2019-2023) of the Canada Pension Plan’s (CPP) annual earnings limit. You contribute to the CPP up to its earnings limit ($66,600 in 2023).

Your OMERS lifetime pension + bridge benefit to age 65

2% x credited service (years) x "best five" earnings

Less OMERS bridge benefit at age 65

0.675% x credited service (years) x lesser of "best five" earnings or $61,840

Equals your OMERS lifetime pension from age 65

$61,840 – the current five-year average (2019-2023) of the Canada Pension Plan’s (CPP) annual earnings limit. You contribute to the CPP up to its earnings limit ($66,600 in 2023).

Things to consider before you decide

How much will your contributory earnings grow?

Your deferred pension may be eligible to grow to match inflation increases every year if your service is not combined and you retain a deferred pension. More information about inflation protection for deferred pensions is available in the Member Handbook.

If your contributory earnings are growing enough to equal or better than the applicable inflation protection, it may be better to combine your previous and current service, and to have these earnings apply to your combined service.

Note that increases in your contributory earnings and inflationary increases to the can also impact the amount of any applicableyou may be eligible for.

How long do you intend to work?

If you combine your service, and then work for less than 60 months, OMERS has to use some of your earlier contributory earnings to calculate yourin order to determine your overall pension. If your contributory earnings now are higher, this combination of earnings could reduce the benefit you're earning in respect of your current service but increase the benefit you earned before. The overall result for you could vary.

In addition, consider when you terminated your prior employment with an OMERS employer. If your previous period of service included post-2012 service and you terminated employment prior to reaching your early retirement birthday (55th birthday for65, or 50th birthday for normal retirement age 60), then your deferred pension for post-2012 credited service would not include pre-retirement indexing or early retirement subsidies. If you combine your service and work with an OMERS employer until your, your combined service will be eligible for pre-retirement indexing and early retirement subsidies, as applicable.

Is it worth paying back your ?

When you left your previous employer and elected to leave (defer) your pension in the OMERS Plan, you were entitled to a refund of any excess contributions you made. If you want to combine your earlier and current service – to combine your OMERS pensions – you must pay back your 50% rule refund (if any). Note that the 50% rule refund must be repaid on a gross basis (i.e., the amount before applicable taxes) with applicable interest.

Will the amount you pay back to combine your service be offset by an increase to your overall pension? It depends on your personal circumstances, including the factors we've discussed above.

If you decide to combine your service

As noted above, the amount to be repaid is equal to the 50% rule refund (on a gross basis) plus applicable interest. OMERS will reach out to you to let you know the amount.

You can repay your 50% rule refund in one of two ways:

1. Transfer of RRSP funds (not tax-deductible)

If you want to repay your 50% rule refund using RRSP funds, ask the financial institution that holds your RRSP for a Form T2033. Complete the required sections and return the T2033 along with your 50% rule repayment form to your employer. 

The transfer of RRSP funds must be in the exact amount required to repay your 50% rule refund plus applicable interest. (We can't accept any overpayment.)

Note: The amount you transfer from your RRSP is not tax-deductible since it's going straight into the OMERS Plan (i.e., from one tax-deferred retirement savings vehicle to another).

2. Cash (tax-deductible)

If you use cash, the entire amount you pay is tax-deductible. However, there are different rules for repaying the portion of the 50% rule refund that relates to service from 1987-1989. 

Please make your cheque payable to OMERS. OMERS will provide you with an income tax slip, which you must file with your income tax return to get the deduction.

If you decide not to combine your service

If you have the option to and decide not to combine your service, each period of service will be kept separate and will be based on yourduring each period. As noted above, this may result in a lower overall benefit. You will keep your 50% rule refund.

More information

OMERS Member Experience

There’s a lot you can do online

Register for myOMERS to get secure and convenient online access to your pension information.

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