Transferring your OPTrust pension to another pension plan
Are you planning to leave your current employer? You may have the option to take your OPTrust pension with you.
OPTrust participates in transfer agreements with a number of public sector pension plans. Under a transfer agreement, OPTrust members who end their plan membership in the OPSEU Pension Plan may be able to transfer their pension credit to another employer’s pension plan. If you work for a new employer it’s important to determine whether you have this option.
Combining your pension can maximize the value of your retirement income for the following reasons:
- pensions are usually calculated based on your credit and best average annual salary. It is reasonable to expect your earnings will be higher later in your career. If you transfer your pension credit, your higher average salary would apply to this additional credit, making it more valuable at retirement.
- the additional credit you receive from the transfer may allow you to retire earlier with an unreduced pension under your new plan rules.
How to qualify for a transfer
If you become a member of a pension plan, you may be able to transfer your OPTrust pension from the OPSEU Pension Plan into your new plan, if the following conditions are met:
- there is a transfer agreement in place between the new plan and the OPSEU Pension Plan
- you qualify and apply for a transfer within the specified time limits, and
- you have pension credit in the OPSEU Pension Plan.
There are two categories of transfer agreements: the Major Ontario Pension Plans (MOPPs) Multilateral Agreement and Bilateral Reciprocal Transfer Agreements (RTA).
The MOPPs transfer agreement gives employees, working for the larger Ontario public sector employers, portability options to take their pensions with them. Under the agreement, transfers are accepted between any of the participating pension plans. For example, a former OPTrust member working for the Ontario Public Service, may be able to transfer his or her pension credit OMERS (working at a municipality).
Current pension plans participating in MOPPs
- Electrical Safety Authority
- Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP)
- Hydro One
- Independent Electricity Market Operator
- Ontario Municipal Employees’ Retirement System (OMERS)
- OPSEU Pension Trust
- Ontario Power Generation
- Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP)
- Providence Centre Pension Plan
- Public Service Pension Plan (PSPP)
- Ryerson University Retirement Pension Plan
- St Joseph’s Health Centre Pension Plan
- St. Michael’s Hospital Employee Pension Plan
- Workplace Safety and Insurance Board Employees Pension Plan
Note: There are special provisions between the OPSEU Pension Plan and the PSPP. If there is no break in your employment (see below).
Time limits apply
The same time limits and requirements apply to all MOPPs participating plans. You may be eligible to transfer your OPTrust pension credit if you meet all the following conditions:
- you ended membership in the OPSEU Pension Plan and you left your pension credit in the Plan
- you started working for your new employer within 18 months from the date you left your former employer
- you joined your new employer’s pension plan within six months of becoming eligible to do so
- your new pension plan must receive a Request for Transfer Quotation form (Appendix A) within six months from the date you joined their plan.
You are responsible to initiate the transfer out of the OPSEU Pension Plan to your new pension plan. You are required to request an Appendix A from your new pension plan, complete and return the form to your new plan within the specified time limit. This form is not a commitment to transfer, but rather an authorization for both pension plans to exchange your personal data.
Once your new pension plan has received the signed Appendix A, they will forward a copy to OPTrust.
OPTrust will provide your required pension data to your new pension plan. In turn, your new pension plan will calculate the transfer value of your earned OPTrust pension according to their plan. This value will be included on the Request to Transfer (Appendix B) and mailed to you. You must sign and return the form to your new pension plan within the specific timeframe. This must be completed whether or not you want to proceed with the transfer.
If you started your OPTrust pension payments before rejoining the OPSEU Pension Plan as a contributing member and want to transfer out of the Plan, please contact OPTrust to discuss your situation.
Reciprocal Transfer Agreement (RTA)
An RTA is a bilateral agreement between the OPSEU Pension Plan and another registered pension plan. Under this agreement, a former OPTrust member may be able to transfer his or her pension credit into another pension plan for which we have a reciprocal transfer agreement.
Current bilateral agreements with the OPSEU Pension Plan
- Alberta Local Authorities Pension Plan (LAPP)
- Alberta Management Employees Pension Plan
- Alberta Public Service Pension Plan
- British Columbia College Pension Plan
- British Columbia Municipal Pension Plan
- British Columbia Public Service Pension Plan
- British Columbia Teachers’ Pension Plan
- La Commision administrative des régimes de retraite et d’assurances (Carra)
- Manitoba Civil Service Superannuation Fund
- New Brunswick Public Service Superannuation Fund
- Newfoundland & Labrador Public Service Pension Plan
- Nova Scotia Public Service Superannuation Plan
- Ontario Public Service Employees Union
- Prince Edward Island Civil Service Superannuation Plan
- Federal Public Service Pension Plan
Unlike the MOPPs agreement, the time limits for each RTA depend on the terms of that specific agreement.
The procedures for an RTA are similar to those for MOPPs. The new plan must receive a Request for Quotation form (Appendix A) within the specified time limits. The time limits and requirements for each RTA depend on the terms of that specific agreement, and may be changed or cancelled at any time. For up-to-date information, please contact your new plan or OPTrust.
You are responsible for initiating the transfer out of the OPSEU Pension Plan. You must contact your new pension plan or employer for an Appendix A form. You are required to sign and return the form to your new pension plan by the deadline.
Paying for a transfer
To qualify for a transfer under a MOPPs or an RTA agreement you must not only meet the time limits, but your pension credit must still be in the OPSEU Pension Plan. You will not qualify for a transfer if you move your pension benefit to a locked-in retirement account or if you receive a refund of your pension contributions.
If you apply immediately after ending your membership in the OPSEU Pension Plan, you must elect to transfer the value of your pension to the new plan. However, if you apply at a later date, you must have elected a deferred OPTrust pension.
Once you receive your quote and decide to proceed with the transfer, the value of your
OPTrust pension will be transferred out of the OPSEU Pension Plan and into your new plan. You then obtain credit in the new plan, based on your new plan’s provisions. In some cases, pension credit in the new plan may not be equal to the credit you earned with OPTrust. You may be eligible to make an additional payment in the new plan to purchase the “shortfall”. Shortfalls typically occur where the benefits provided by the new pension plan cost more than those provided under the OPSEU Pension Plan. Your new pension plan will provide you with the available options, if applicable.
If you do not qualify for a transfer under MOPPs or an RTA
If you do not meet all of the transfer requirements, you may be able to purchase some or all of the pension credit with your new pension plan. For more information, contact your new pension plan administrator to find out if this option is available and the requirements.
If you are affected by a divestment situation, become an employee of the successor employer and a member of the successor employer’s pension plan, you may be eligible to transfer your OPTrust pension credit. Please contact OPTrust for more information.
Public Service Pension Plan (PSPP)
If you move out of the bargaining unit and join the PSPP with no break in employment (e.g., due to a job change), your pension credit is automatically transferred to the PSPP. The PSPP will contact OPTrust to arrange for the transfer.
If you join the PSPP after a break in employment, a transfer is not mandatory. You may have the option transfer your credited service earned in the OPSEU Pension Plan under the same terms as a MOPPs transfer. Please contact OPTrust or the PSPP to discuss your options.
Want more information?
For more information and to find out if you are eligible to transfer your pension benefit, please contact our Member and Pensioner Services staff.
Remember strict time limits apply to transfer your service.