Transferring your pension to OPTrust
Are you a new OPTrust member? Do you have service in another public sector pension plan? You may have the option to combine your earned pension credit from a former pension plan with your OPTrust pension.
OPTrust participates in transfer agreements with a number of public sector pension plans. Under a transfer agreement, new OPTrust members who have pension credit in another registered pension plan may be able to transfer their pension credit to OPTrust. We suggest you contact that plan to find out if this option is available to you.
Transferring your pension means that at retirement you would collect a single pension from one pension plan. The value of your entire pension will continue to grow as your salary increases.
Combining your pension can maximize the value of your retirement income for the following reasons:
- your OPTrust pension is calculated based on your credit and best five-year 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.
How to qualify for a transfer
As an OPTrust member, you have the option to transfer your pension credit from another pension plan if the following conditions are met:
- there is a transfer agreement in place between your former plan and the OPSEU Pension Plan.
- you qualify and apply for a transfer within the specified time limits, and
- you have pension credit in your former 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 HOOPP member (working at a hospital) may be able to transfer his or her pension credit to OPTrust (working for the Ontario Public Service).
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 pension credit if you meet all the following conditions:
- you ended your membership in a participating plan and left your pension credit in that plan
- you started working for your new employer - who contributes to the OPSEU Pension Plan - within 18 months from the date you left your former employer
- you joined the OPSEU Pension Plan within six months of becoming eligible to do so
- OPTrust must receive a Request for Transfer Quotation form (Appendix A) within six months from the date you joined our plan.
You are responsible to initiate the transfer. OPTrust must receive a signed Request for Transfer Quotation form (Appendix A) within six months of your joining the OPSEU Pension Plan. This form may be requested directly, or by completing an Application for Past Service Credit. This form is not a commitment to transfer, but rather an authorization for both pension plans to exchange your personal data.
Once OPTrust has received the signed Appendix A, OPTrust will forward a copy to your former plan.
Your former plan will provide to OPTrust your required pension data and we will calculate the transfer value of your earned pension according to our plan. This value will be included on the Request to Transfer (Appendix B) and mailed to you. You must sign and return the form within the stipulated timeframe to OPTrust. This must be completed whether or not you want to proceed with the transfer.
If you started your pension payments with your former plan before rejoining as a contributing member and want to transfer into the OPSEU Pension 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. A new OPTrust member may be able to transfer his/her pension credit earned in another pension plan for which we have a reciprocal transfer agreement into the OPSEU Pension Plan.
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 Commission 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. OPTrust must receive a Request for Quotation form (Appendix A) within the specified time limits. Please note that 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 former plan or OPTrust.
Paying for a transfer
To qualify for a transfer under MOPPs or an RTA you must not only meet the time limits, but your pension credit must still be in the former plan. You will not qualify for a transfer if you moved your pension entitlement to a locked-in retirement account or if you received a refund of your pension contributions.
Once you receive your quote and decide to proceed with the transfer, the value of your pension service will be transferred from your former plan, to the OPSEU Pension Plan.
You then obtain credit in the OPSEU Pension Plan.
You are responsible for initiating the transfer into the OPSEU Pension Plan. You must contact OPTrust for an Appendix A form. You are required to sign and return to form to OPTrust by the deadline.
In some cases, pension credit in the OPSEU Pension Plan may not be equal to the credit you accrued in your former plan. You may be eligible to make an additional payment to purchase the “shortfall” to receive full pension credit. Shortfalls typically occur where the benefits provided by the OPSEU Pension Plan are more costly than those provided under the former plan. OPTrust will provide you with the available options, if applicable.
If you do not qualify for a transfer under MOPPs or an RTA
You may have another means of consolidating your pension assets and increasing your OPSEU Pension Plan benefit. If there is:
- no agreement between your former pension plan and the OPSEU Pension Plan,
- an agreement, but you missed the time limits, or
- an agreement, but your pension credit is no longer in the former plan.
You may be able to purchase some or all of the credited service earned in your former pension plan (there may be limits to the amount you can purchase). As with a transfer, the credit you purchase will be added to your credit in the OPSEU pension Plan.
For more information please refer to our booklet Your Pension and Buying Back Credit. This may also be an option if your former employer had a defined contribution plan.
Public Service Pension Plan (PSPP)
If you were a member of the Public Service Pension Plan (PSPP) and now work in a bargaining unit position, with no break in employment, your pension credit must be transferred to the OPSEU Pension Plan. OPTrust will contact the PSPP to arrange for the transfer.
If you join the OPSEU Pension Plan after a break in employment, a transfer is not mandatory. You may have the option transfer your credited service earned in the PSPP 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.