Joining OMERS

Welcome to OMERS!

OMERS exists for one purpose: to provide lifetime retirement income for our 429,000 members across Ontario. Your OMERS membership is backed by some of the best pension and investment professionals in Canada – all working towards providing you with competitive benefits at a reasonable cost.

What exactly is OMERS?

  • OMERS (Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System) was established in 1962 as the pension plan for employees of municipal governments, school boards, libraries, police and fire departments, Children's Aid Societies and other local agencies throughout Ontario.
  • By pooling resources and focusing on long-term results, OMERS has grown into one of the largest, most competitive and cost-effective pension plans in Canada.
  • OMERS has a proven investment record. The OMERS team includes some of the best investment professionals in the industry.

Do I have to join OMERS?

  • If you are a permanent, full-time employee with a participating OMERS employer, membership in OMERS is generally mandatory.
  • In OMERS terms, you are known as a “continuous full-time” employee.
  • You join the plan either on your date of hire or on the date you become a continuous full-time employee.

I'm a part-time employee. Can I join OMERS?

Part-time employees may include short-term, casual, temporary, seasonal, student, part-time, 10-month or contract employees. (Part-time may also be referred to as other-than-continuous full-time or OTCFT)

  • If you are a part-time or seasonal employee with an OMERS employer, you may be required to join OMERS.
  • But if you are not required to join OMERS, you may choose to join under certain conditions.
  • As a part-time employee, your employer must offer you membership in the OMERS plan if in each of two immediately preceding calendar years:
    you worked at least 700 hours, or
    you earned at least 35% of the Year's Maximum Pensionable Earnings (YMPE)
  • Once you join the OMERS plan, you cannot opt out. You can only end your OMERS membership if you leave your employer and transfer your benefit out of the plan.

How is OMERS regulated?

  • OMERS is a registered pension plan in Ontario. It therefore has legal obligations dictated by several government Acts and agencies:
    • Canada Income Tax Act (ITA)
    • Ontario Pension Benefits Act (PBA)
    • Ontario Employment Standards Act (ESA)
    • Ontario Family Law Act (FLA)
    • Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)
  • The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO), an agency of the Ontario Ministry of Finance, ensures that OMERS complies with the standards and regulations set out under the PBA.

When can I retire?

You can retire when you reach your "normal retirement age."

  • Normal retirement age is 65 for most OMERS members.
  • Normal retirement age is 60 for most police officers and firefighters.
  • By pooling resources and focusing on long-term results, OMERS has grown into one of the largest, most competitive and cost-effective pension plans in Canada.

You may also retire as early as age 50 (for normal retirement age 60) or age 55 (for normal retirement age 65).

  • There are two types of early retirement pensions: unreduced and reduced.
  • Under standard plan provisions, you will receive an unreduced pension if you:
    • have reached your normal retirement age
    • have reached your early retirement factor (age plus service)
      • 85 Factor if your normal retirement age is 60
      • 90 Factor if your normal retirement age is 65
    • have 30 years or more of credited plus eligible service.
  • You may retire with a reduced pension if you do not have enough service.
  • The average retirement age of an OMERS member is 58.

How much do I have to contribute to OMERS?

  • Your contributions are based on a formula, depending on your normal retirement age.
  • You and your employer contribute equally to OMERS, paying the same percentage of your contributory earnings.
  • Contributory earnings do not include overtime pay and most lump-sum payments, so they may not be the same as your actual income for income tax purposes.
  • Each year you will receive a personalized Pension Report with up-to-date information on your contributions, earnings and service in the OMERS plan.

Related Links

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