Skip to main content

Terms Explained: Pensions

Explaining some of the terms we use when we talk about pensions

Celine Chiovitti Headshot

Celine Chiovitti, Executive Vice President & Head of Pensions

November 12, 2021

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Terms Explained: Pensions

In the second of our ‘Terms Explained’ series, this week we cover pensions. Below are our top terms and their definitions in case you’re not sure what some of them mean. We hope it’s helpful!


Active, Deferred, Retired

These three terms describe the type of member you are:

  • An active member is an individual who is working for an OMERS employer and contributing and/or accruing to the pension plan.

  • A deferred member is a member who has left their OMERS employer but kept their pension in the OMERS Plan.

  • A retired member is an individual who is now receiving a monthly pension.

Defined benefit / defined contribution pensions

OMERS is a defined benefit pension plan, which means as a member you can expect a predictable monthly income for life. The advantage of defined benefit pensions is that you have a guaranteed income in retirement. In contrast, a defined contribution pension results in a lump sum amount with no guaranteed income stream.

NRA65 / NRA60

NRA stands for ‘Normal Retirement Age’. Most members in the OMERS Plan have a normal retirement age of 65 (NRA65). Police officers, firefighters and paramedics have the option of having a normal retirement age of 60 (NRA60).

Early retirement

You can elect and begin to receive an early retirement pension on or after your early retirement birthday, for example age 55 for NRA65 and age 50 for NRA60. There are two types of early retirement pensions: unreduced and reduced. More information can be found here.

Commuted value

The commuted value of your OMERS Plan pension is 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.

Survivor benefit

Survivor benefits are a key feature of the OMERS Plan, and part of our commitment to providing a secure future for members and their survivors. OMERS Plan survivor benefits are paid according to a set order of entitlement that complies with the Ontario Pension Benefits Act. Further information can be found here.

Canada Pension Plan

The Canada Pension Plan, also known as ‘CPP’, is a monthly, taxable benefit that replaces part of your income when you retire. If you qualify, you'll receive the CPP retirement pension for the rest of your life. CPP benefits are paid by the government, outside of the OMERS Plan.

Maple 8

Maple 8 is an informal term for 8 of Canada’s pension plans, including OMERS. The other 7 are: AIMCo, BCI, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, CPP Investments, HOOPP, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, and PSP Investments. You can read more about the sustainability work we are doing together here.

Celine is Executive Vice President & Head of Pensions at OMERS. She is responsible for leading a team of more than 200 employees in the delivery of exceptional services and prudent pension administration to members, employers and stakeholders. Celine has been with OMERS since 2013.