Types of Service a Member Can Buy Back

posting date Revised: February 1, 2022 print page Print this page Email link to page Email the link
  1. Service with an employer who contributed to the OPSEU Pension Plan, the Public Service Pension Plan (PSPP), or its predecessor
  2. Unpaid leaves of absence
  3. Temporary part-time work arrangements
  4. Service with another registered Canadian pension plan
1. Service with an Employer Who Contributed to the OPSEU Pension Plan, the Public Service Pension Plan (PSPP), or Its Predecessor.

This category of service includes employment in the Ontario Public Service (OPS) or any other employer that participated in the OPSEU Pension Plan, the PSPP, or its predecessor. This service falls into two types:

  • Non-contributory service: This type of service is for periods when the member and employer made no pension contributions. This includes contract, unclassified and/or seasonal employment when the individual was not a member of the Plan. 

    Strikes and lockouts are also considered non-contributory service if employee contributions were not made during the period of the work stoppage.

In certain cases, periods of employment are not considered creditable service for pension purposes. For example:

  • Seasonal employees cannot buy back credit for the time between periods of seasonal employment (hiatus).
  • Members are not eligible to buy back credit for periods of disciplinary suspension without pay.
  • Prior contributory service: This type of service is for periods when the individual was a member of the OPSEU Pension Plan, the PSPP or its predecessor. In this case, the member would have previously terminated his or her membership and may have either received a refund of contributions or transferred the entitlement out of the Plan.

2. Unpaid Leaves of Absence

When a member takes a leave of absence (LOA) without pay greater than one month, and chooses not to make pension contributions while on leave, the member may be eligible to buy back credit for the period after the leave ends. 

The Income Tax Act limits the total amount of credit an individual can buy back for post-1990 unpaid leaves of absence to five years, plus an additional maximum three years for pregnancy, parental and adoption leaves. The limit does not apply to Illness/WSIB and family medical leaves. 

Under the Plan, contributions for an unpaid LOA of one month or less are mandatory and are deducted automatically by the employer. Please ensure that these periods are recorded as leaves of absence in your communication to us to enable us to administer Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) rules.

If the unpaid leave is longer than one month for illness, WSIB, pregnancy, parental, adoption, special or educational purposes, the member has the option of making contributions while on leave. If the member chooses not to continue contributions during the LOA, he or she may apply to buy back credit for the leave after returning to work.

Contributing During the LOA

Before starting an unpaid leave of longer than one month, the member must complete and submit OPTrust’s form  Application to Contribute During an Unpaid Leave of Absence (OPTrust 1025)  to the employer. This form is used to indicate whether or not the member wishes to make contributions during the leave. To calculate the contribution amounts, OPTrust must receive this form before the leave starts. 

icon Important! Pregnancy, Parental and Adoption Leaves: Pregnancy, Parental and Adoption Leaves:Under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act there are specific rules concerning pregnancy, parental and adoption leaves. Since November 18, 1990, both the member and the employer are required to make contributions for these leaves, unless the employee elects in writing not to contribute. During these leaves, contributions can be deducted from the Supplementary Unemployment Benefit (SUB) allowance.

For pregnancy, parental or adoption leaves where a portion of the leave is to be paid through the SUB allowance, the employer must clearly indicate on the OPTrust 1025 form the period for which the SUB payment will apply. In addition, the form must contain the appropriate employer signature, name and contact information. Forms submitted directly to us by members without an employer signature authorizing contribution deductions from the SUB allowance will be returned to the employer for authorization.

WSIB: If the member is off work due to an injury or occupational disease and has applied for WSIB benefits, contributions to OPTrust will continue as long as the member is still paid by the employer. If the member is paid directly by WSIB, the member must indicate whether or not he/she will continue to make contributions to OPTrust by completing the form Application to Contribute During an Unpaid Leave of Absence. If the member chooses not to continue contributions, he or she may buy this period back after the leave ends.

icon Note! Exception: A full-time employee who has been granted approval to regularly take time off is not eligible to buy back this time (i.e. if the member works less than 100% they cannot purchase the portion they did not work).

 

3. Temporary part-time work arrangements

If a member enters a temporary part-time work arrangement on or after February 1, 2022, both the member and employer are required to continue making contributions based on the member’s regular work hours unless the member elects in writing to make contributions on their reduced hours only.

If a member chooses to make pension contributions based on their reduced hours during the arrangement, they can buy back pension service for the time not worked after the arrangement ends. Members who were on an arrangement that started before February 1, 2022 can also buy back pension service for the time not worked. 

The Income Tax Act limits the total amount of pension service an individual can buy back for post-1990 unpaid leaves and/or a period of reduced work hours to five years, plus an additional maximum three years for pregnancy, parental and adoption leaves. 

 

4. Service with Another Canadian Registered Pension Plan

This category includes service with an employer that did not contribute to the OPSEU Pension Plan, the PSPP or its predecessor. To be eligible, the individual must have been a member of a registered pension plan provided by a previous employer. Under CRA rules, certain restrictions may apply. Members should contact OPTrust directly for further details. 

icon Note! In some cases, members may be eligible to transfer their credit from their previous employer’s pension plan directly to the OPSEU Pension Plan under a “reciprocal transfer agreement.” Very strict time limits apply.  Members should contact OPTrust directly regarding specific agreements and eligibility as soon as they join the Plan. For more information, see the section on Enrolling a Member.