Plan Changes Currently Under Consideration
OMERS keeps a close eye on the Plan to see if changes are either required or desirable due to the funding status and long-term sustainability of the Plan, changes in the pension environment or a need to evolve the plan. The OMERS Sponsors Corporation (SC) will generally communicate any proposed plan change that is being considered by the SC Board on omers.com before the decision.
At its November 16, 2023 meeting, the SC Board reviewed two narrow amendments to address feedback on the administration of the OMERS Plans during certain leaves of absence. Both proposals were referred for a final Board decision on December 6, 2023. A summary of the proposed amendments is as follows:
In response to feedback regarding the administration of benefits for new members (particularly new non-full-time (NFT) members), a proposed amendment would clarify administration of the disability waiver of contributions benefit (“disability waiver”). The amendment would clarify that, where new members qualify for the disability waiver but have not made OMERS Plan contributions due to a leave of absence, their deemed earnings during the disability waiver will be based on their normal annual rate of contributory earnings last received from their OMERS employer. Most members will continue to have their earnings deemed during a disability waiver based on the earnings used to determine their most recent OMERS Plan contributions. More information about disability benefits can be found .
An amendment has been proposed to facilitate continued membership in the OMERS Plans when an existing OMERS member takes a leave of absence to temporarily join another employer. In such a case, the new employer could elect to participate in the OMERS Plans provided they are eligible to become an OMERS employer. More information about eligible OMERS employers is available .
Recently Approved Plan Changes
Below are a list of recent Plan amendments approved by the SC Board.
In response to feedback received by OMERS, the OMERS SC Board considered and approved an amendment that would update the conversion methodology that applies to an eligible member’s existing credited service when the member moves or “converts” from a normal retirement age (NRA) of 65 to 60.
Changes the service adjustment applied to credited service when an eligible member’s NRA changes from 65 to 60 to reflect the NRA 60 early retirement benefits. The existing service adjustment methodology has been updated to add actuarial calculations that take into account actuarial assumptions, contributory earnings, and a member’s age and all service at the time of conversion. The service adjustment calculation will be based on the lowest of the following three percentages:
25% if the member is under age 60 or, if the member is age 60 or more, 5% multiplied by each year between the member’s age and age 65;
The percentage resulting from an actuarial equivalence calculation that uses the same actuarial basis used to determine the conversion cost; and
The percentage resulting from an actuarial equivalence calculation that uses a commuted value basis (taking into account the commuted value of the member’s benefit immediately before and after conversion).
This change is effective June 21, 2023 and applies to Plan members who have the option to have an NRA of 60, subject to negotiation (i.e., police officers, firefighters and paramedics), and whose NRA changes from 65 to 60 on or after June 21, 2023.
In response to feedback received by OMERS, on September 14, 2022, the OMERS SC Board approved a technical Plan change relating to the 2020 Plan amendment that expanded eligibility for non-full-time (NFT) employees to join the Plan.
Changes the enrolment date for non-full-time employees so that a non-full-time employee who elects to enrol in the Plan begins to participate in the Plan in their employer’s next available pay period following receipt of the election, and no later than the end of the month following the month in which the election is received.
This change was effective January 1, 2023.
In 2021, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, , the Sponsors Corporation (SC) Board passed amendments on November 18, 2021 to extend, for an additional year, the temporary changes made in 2020 regarding leaves and temporary layoffs. The approved amendments are described below and were effective January 1, 2022. The third pandemic-related amendment from 2020 regarding the minimum employment requirement for purchases of periods of reduced pay (described above) will continue to recognize applicable changes to the Income Tax Regulations if they occur.
In addition to the amendments listed above, minor housekeeping changes to the Plan were made to align section references. These changes do not impact Plan members.
Following the 2020 Plan Review process, on June 24, 2020, the OMERS Sponsors Corporation Board (SC Board) approved five amendments to the OMERS Primary Pension Plan (Plan). Following are the approved amendments.
The first three amendments were considered because of the exceptional circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and became effective immediately.
The final two amendments were considered as a part of the annual Plan review and became effective January 1, 2023.
Extending leave purchase deadlines
Extends the deadline to complete a leave purchase by one year for members who return from a leave of absence in 2020 or 2021 (i.e., extending to December 31, 2022, or December 31, 2023, depending on the return date).
Allows members to purchase credited service for periods of absence due to temporary layoff that were initiated in 2020 or 2021. The service can be purchased at two times contributions (member only, i.e., by a member who pays both the member and employer share of the contributions).
Reduces or eliminates the 36-month employment requirement for purchases of periods of reduced pay, subject to changes to the Income Tax Regulations. 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 to set aside this requirement for the 2021 year on May 20, 2021. The draft regulations have now come into force. The amendment passed by the Sponsors Corporation (SC) Board on June 24, 2020 placed OMERS in a position to seamlessly adapt to the change in the employment requirement under the Income Tax Regulations. With this amendment, members are eligible to purchase periods of reduced pay in 2020 and 2021 without consideration to the 36-month employment requirement.
Removes the eligibility requirement for non-full-time employees to join the Plan so that all non-full-time employees may elect to join the Plan at any time. 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 is effective January 1, 2023.
Provides the option for the Sponsors Corporation (SC) 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.
This change is effective as of January 1, 2023 and does not affect benefits earned before that date. This means that when you retire, the 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 will depend on the SC Board’s annual assessment of the financial health of the Plan.