Normal retirement age
Most members have a normal retirement age (NRA) of 65. Most police and firefighter members have an NRA of 60 years or “NRA 60”. Effective January 1, 2021, paramedic members are also eligible to have an NRA 60.
The OMERS Plan permits an OMERS employer to elect to provide NRA 60 benefits for all or a class of its police, firefighter, or paramedic employees that participate in the OMERS Plan. NRA 60 benefits are not automatically provided by OMERS, and for unionized employees, NRA 60 benefits can be subject to negotiation between employers and unions.
Your NRA affects:
1. The earliest age you can start your pension.
You can start your pension within 10 years of your NRA if you have stopped working with an OMERS employer. This is called your early retirement birthday:
If you have an NRA 65, you can retire as early as age 55.
If you have an NRA 60, you can retire as early as age 50.
Joe is 52 years old and has an NRA 60. If Joe retires from employment with his OMERS employer, he can start his pension as soon as the first of the month following his last day of work. As explained below, depending on Joe’s service under the OMERS Plan, he may be eligible for a reduced or an unreduced early retirement pension. If Joe had an NRA 65, he would have to wait until he turned age 55 to start his pension.
2. When you qualify for an unreduced early retirement pension.
If you have an NRA 65, you qualify for an unreduced pension at age 65, regardless of your service, or if you are at least age 55 and:
Your age + your credited service + your eligible service = 90 (the "90 Factor")
If you have an NRA 60, you qualify for an unreduced pension at age 60, regardless of your service, or if you are at least age 50 and:
You have 30 years or more of service (credited service plus eligible service); or
Your age + your credited service + your eligible service = 85 (the "85 Factor")
3. Retiring early with a reduced or an unreduced pension.
Sue is an NRA 60 member who is age 59 and has 26 years of service under the OMERS Plan when she decides to retire from employment. Sue qualifies for an immediate unreduced pension because her age plus service equals 85 (59 + 26 = 85).
If Sue were an NRA 65 member, she would not qualify for an immediate unreduced pension because she does not have the 90 Factor or 30 years of service. Sue could still retire early because she is over age 55 at the time she stops working with her OMERS employer, but Sue’s OMERS pension would be reduced. In this case, Sue would have to work another 2.5 years to qualify for the 90 Factor if she wanted to retire with an unreduced pension (in 2.5 years, Sue will be age 61.5 and have 28.5 years of service, which add up to 90).
Note The formula to calculate retirement and disability pensions, inflation protection and survivor benefits is the same for both NRA 60 and NRA 65 members. NRA does not affect the OMERS Plan pension formula, survivor benefits or inflation protection.
4. Eligibility for bridge benefits and commuted value transfers.
Eligibility for bridge benefits can be different for NRA 60 members and NRA 65 members if they terminate employment with their OMERS employer before their early retirement birthday (age 55 for NRA 65 members and age 50 for NRA 60 members).
It is important to remember that, as of January 1, 2013, benefit calculation changes affect all members if they leave employment with their OMERS employer before their early retirement birthday. Read more in the Member Handbook under “ Benefit calculation changes”.
Similarly, the different early retirement birthdays for NRA 60 and NRA 65 members can affect the ability to transfer the commuted value of your OMERS pension. If you leave your OMERS employer, the option to transfer the commuted value of your OMERS pension to another retirement savings vehicle such as a locked-in retirement account (LIRA) or for the purchase of an annuity from a licensed annuity provider ends the day before your early retirement birthday.
Normal Retirement Age Conversion
Your NRA can change (i.e., be “converted”) when:
You move to another OMERS employer or change your occupation while working with the same OMERS employer, (e.g., if an NRA 65 member becomes a police officer in a class that has an NRA 60, the member’s NRA will change from 65 to 60); or
Your OMERS employer elects to change the NRA for the class of employees that you belong to by updating the employer’s OMERS participation by-law/resolution.
In the second type of scenario, the change must be made for all or a class of police officers, firefighters or paramedics of the employer (not individuals). This is the case for all NRA class changes – 65 to 60 and vice versa.
Normal Retirement Age Conversion: 60 to 65
If your normal retirement age (NRA) changes from 60 to 65:
You are immediately entitled to benefits available to NRA 65 members.
You and your OMERS employer begin to make contributions at the NRA 65 rates in each pay period – the rates are lower than the NRA 60 rates (see the " OMERS contribution rates" page).
Your excess member contributions are refunded with interest (paid at the applicable CANSIM rate). Excess member contributions are past contributions made when your NRA was 60 minus the amount you would have otherwise contributed during this time had you been an NRA 65 member.
Jane is 52 years old, has 30 years of credited service, and has had an NRA 60 since enrolling in the OMERS Plan.
If Jane’s NRA changes to age 65:
The earliest age Jane could retire would now be age 55 (i.e., Jane would have to wait an additional three years to start an early retirement pension).
Jane’s employer would immediately start to deduct contributions at the lower NRA 65 contribution rates from her contributory earnings in each pay period.
In respect of Jane’s prior 30 years of credited service, excess member contributions made at the NRA 60 rates, plus interest, would be refunded.
When Jane retires from employment, her OMERS pension amount would be based on her years of credited service at the time of her retirement. For example, if Jane retires at age 55 with 33 years of credited service, 33 years of credited service would be used to calculate her OMERS pension.
Tom is 48 years old, has 21 years of credited service and has had an NRA 60 since enrolling in the OMERS Plan. Tom plans to retire from employment at age 57 when he will have 30 years of credited service.
If Tom’s NRA changes to 65:
Tom’s employer would immediately start to deduct contributions at the lower NRA 65 contribution rates in each pay period.
In respect of Tom’s prior 21 years of credited service, excess member contributions made at the NRA 60 rates, plus interest, would be refunded.
Tom can still retire at age 57 with an unreduced pension because his early retirement birthday will be 55 and he will have 30 years of service at that time.
Tom’s monthly pension amount would be based on years of credited service at retirement. In this case, this is 30 years of credited service if he retires from employment at age 57.
Normal Retirement Age Conversion: 65 to 60
If your normal retirement age (NRA) changes from 65 to 60:
You are immediately entitled to benefits available to NRA 60 members.
You and your OMERS employer begin to make contributions at the NRA 60 rates (see the " OMERS contribution rates" page).
A service adjustment is applied in most cases to your credited service. Generally, past credited service is reduced to reflect entitlement to NRA 60 benefits (see Service Adjustment information below).
Shortly after a conversion from NRA 65 to NRA 60, OMERS provides you with a package detailing your:
(i) updated credited service based on the service adjustment calculation
(ii) the conversion cost to buy the service adjustment;
(iii) an election form and instructions for paying the conversion cost.