Recent Plan Changes
OMERS keeps a close eye on the plan to see if plan changes are either required or desirable due to things like changes in the pension environment or a desire to evolve the plan. Such changes are considered on an annual cycle unless, for unforeseen reasons, decisions must be made sooner. In that case the SC will generally, at a minimum, communicate through its website at least 21 days before decision.
Last Approved Changes
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). The following are the approved amendments. The first three amendments were considered because of the exceptional circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and are effective immediately. The final two amendments were considered as a part of the annual Plan review and are not effective until January 1, 2023.
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). This change is effective immediately and will be implemented over the coming weeks.
Reduces or eliminates the 36-month employment requirement for purchases of periods of reduced pay, subject to changes to the Income Tax Regulations. The amendment passed by the SC Board on June 24, 2020 placed OMERS in a position to seamlessly adapt to the changes in the employment requirement under 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. Now members are eligible to purchase periods of reduced pay in 2020 and 2021 without consideration to the 36-month employment requirement.
Removes the current 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, which means that until then, the current eligibility requirement continues to apply. More information will be available closer to the implementation date.
Provides the option for the 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 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.
More information will be available closer to the implementation date.
On February 15, 2019, the SC Board approved two of the six proposed changes as a result of the Comprehensive Plan Review. The following changes are effective as of January 1, 2021:
This change removes the 35-year cap on credited service for members with less than 35 years of credited service prior to January 1, 2021. Members who are retired or deferred prior to the effective date are not impacted by the change. If a member meets the 35-year cap before January 1, 2021, the limit will continue to apply.
This change provides the option for paramedics to have a normal retirement age of 60 (NRA 60), subject to negotiation, starting on January 1, 2021. Paramedics will not automatically be eligible for NRA 60 benefits. As of January 1, 2021, an OMERS employer can elect to provide NRA 60 benefits to all or a class of paramedics. For unionized employees, NRA 60 benefits are subject to negotiation between employers and unions.