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University of Ottawa Pension Plan

Defined-benefit (DB) plan

The University of Ottawa Pension Plan (UOPP) is a defined-benefit pension plan which means that, at retirement, you will receive monthly payments (a pension) predetermined by a formula based on the average salary for your best 60 months of earnings, and your number of years of credited service in the Plan.

It is subsequently annually adjusted to reflect the cost of living. There is a guaranteed minimum benefit pension, a maximum pension and a survivor benefit if the member dies before or after retirement.

The normal retirement age is 65 (reference "Pension Benefits" section below), but early retirement and deferred retirement options are available.

Additional information can be found on the Pension Plan Publications Site.

Eligibility and membership

Important Note - If eligible to participate to the Pension Plan 
The Human Resources (HR) Pension Sector will send an email to the employee’s 
uottawa.ca email address, within the first month of becoming eligible, with 
the required documents to complete and return. 

For any questions, please contact hrpension@uottawa.ca. Please 
note that the group insurence is handled separately from the pension plan.
 

Regular employees aged 30 or more (mandatory enrolment)

Mandatory enrolment applies to:

  • New employees in a regular position and 30 years old or more as of the effective date of employment.
  • Employees, 30 years of age or more, for whom enrolment was optional, upon obtaining a regular position

New regular employees under the age of 30 (option to defer mandatory enrolment)

New employees in a regular position, and under age 30, are entitled to become a member (join the plan):
  • as of the effective date of employment, or
  • the first day of any month before turning 30 years old, or
  • if new employees elect not to participate, they are automatically enrolled the first day of the month immediately following two (2) continuous years of service at the University, OR on the first day of the month immediately following their thirtieth (30th) birthday, whichever is the earliest.

Contractual/Term employees - all ages (optional enrolment)

Contractual/term employees who accrue two (2) years of continuous service and either earned at least 35% of the Yearly Maximum Pensionable Earnings (YMPE), or worked at least seven hundred (700) hours in each of the two immediately preceding consecutive calendar years are eligible to become a member (join the Plan).

Rehired pensioner

A member who has retired under the UOPP and is in receipt of a pension benefit, who is rehired by the University, is not eligible to re-enroll in the Pension Plan or to accrue further benefits under the Plan.

Contributions to the Plan

For the UOPP to be able to pay pensions, it must collect and invest contributions from members and the employer.

The University's contribution rates are determined based on the most recently filed actuarial valuation to meet the Plan obligations.

Recent yearly member and University contributions are summarized in the Pension plan annual reports.

Member contributions

The member contributions are deducted every pay based on the regular salary, excluding special income such as overtime pay, premium pay, bonus pay or second-salary sources.

In 2023, the member contributions are calculated as follows:

   7.15% x member salary up to and including $43,490, which is the 2023 integration level.
+ 10.95% x member salary exceeding the $43,490, which is the 2023 integration level.
   (Note: 2023 maximum salary is $246,547.20)
----------
= member contributions

The 2023 integration level is set by the UOPP.

As per Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) tax rules, the salary-based contributions made to the UOPP are not subject to income tax. As a result, the member saves on tax immediately.

University contributions

The University's contribution rates are calculated on the total payroll for Pension Plan members.

In 2023, the University contributions (including a provision for adverse deviation) are calculated as follows:

    7.85% x member salary up to and including $43,490, which is the 2023 integration level.
+  12.00% x member salary exceeding the $43,490, which is the 2023 integration level.
             (Note: 2023 maximum salary is $246,547.20)
----------
= University contributions
      
The 2023 integration level is set by the UOPP.

Pension Benefit

Normal Retirement Date

  • Teaching Staff: The normal retirement date is the first (1) day of July coinciding with or following the date on which the member reaches age 65.
  • Support staff or Members on Long-Term Disability*: The normal retirement age is the first (1) day of the month coinciding with or following the day on which the member reaches age 65.

*Members on Long-Term Disability: Members in receipt of monthly disability payments under the University's Salary Continuance Plan.

Early Retirement Date

  • Unreduced Pension: There is no actuarial adjustment (reduction) if a member retires:
    • at age 60 or more, or
    • when they reach factor 90*.
  • Reduced Pension: There is a reduction of approximately 6% for every year of early retirement:
    • between the ages of 55 and 60, or
    • or between age 55 and the age at which the member reaches factor 90 (if before age 60).
*Factor 90: The members age plus years of credited service in the Pension Plan.

Postponed Retirement Date

The member is considered to have retired for the purposes of the Plan on the postponed retirement date, which is the first day of the calendar month coinciding with or following the earlier of the below events:
  • A member terminates service, or the member's service is terminated, after the normal retirement date; OR
  • A member is still employed by the University on November 30 in the calendar year in which the member reaches age 71, or any other age limit as defined in the Income Tax Act.

Leaving before age 55

If an active plan member leaves the University before age 55, the plan member may elect to transfer the commuted value of the pension benefits already earned or, subject to the Plan provisions, leave their earned benefits in the plan. Earned benefits left in the plan are referred to as a deferred pension.

How to calculate your UOPP pension

Two calculations must be made and summed: one for the share of service prior to 2004 and the other for the service following 2003; the formula is the same for both calculations except that the integration levels differ. The pension formula is:

1.3% x 2003 integration level x years of credited service prior 2004
+ 2% x (average salary* - 2003 integration level) x years of credited service prior 2004

PLUS

1.3% x 2023 integration level x years of credited service post 2003
+ 2% x (average salary* - 2023 integration level) x years of credited service post 2003

*Average salary: member's best sixty (60) months of pensionable earnings

Integration levels:
 2003 integration level : $31,790 for service prior to 2004
 2023 integration level : $43,490 for service post 2003
      

Minimum guaranteed pension

The Plan provides a minimum guaranteed pension benefit which is calculated as follows:

1.5% x average salary x years of credited service

If the result of this calculation is greater than the pension calculated per the pension formula, the pension benefit paid will be the higher of the two.

Maximum pension

Under the rules of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the maximum pension payable by a Canadian Defined Benefit Plan, as of January 1, 2023 is, $3,506.67 per year of pensionable service.

Pension plan personalized information site

The Pension plan personalized information website contains personalized information and interactive tools to help plan for retirement.

  • Annual statement: Members can download their annual pension statements. The previous year's pension statement is made available towards the end of June of the current year.
  • Personal file: Members can view information on their pension plan membership such as their salary and contribution history, credited service, and accrued pension.
  • Pension projection tool: In just a few quick steps, members can see their estimated pension at various retirement ages.
  • Retirement Horizon: Only accessible by members, this user-friendly site provides tools to help members build a complete financial plan for their retirement, as well as retirement planning information.

Voluntary contributions

If membership in the Plan started before January 1, 1988, the member will be deemed to have acquired voluntary contributions of $200 per year of participation before 1988. These contributions, along with accrued interest, can be transferred to a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) or refunded to the member when they leave the University, when they die or when they retire, whichever comes first. Note that the transfer or refund is mandatory if the member leaves the University or takes their retirement package.

Excess contributions

If upon termination of employment, retirement, or death, member contributions plus interest are greater than fifty percent (50%) of the value of their earned pension, these ''excess contributions'' can be refunded to the member or transferred to a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) subject to the requirements of the Income Tax Act (ITA).

Buy-back or transfer of service from another employer

Members of the Plan may be able to buy back previous service or transfer service from another employer to the UOPP.

Service Buy-backs (a few examples)

  • previous years of University service where the member could have contributed but did not;
  • previous years of University service where the member contributed, but then received a refunded to;
  • previous periods of leave without pay with no pension contributions;
  • periods of parental leave or special educational leave with no pension contributions;
  • additional service following a transfer of service from another employer where funds were not sufficient to recognize the full period in the University of Ottawa Pension Plan.

Additional information on buy-backs can be found in the Building your pension fact sheet on the Pension Plan publications site.

Transferring pension service from former employer

Please see the Transferring pension service from former employer to the University's pension plan (PDF) fact sheet.

To learn more about buying back service or transferring service from a previous employer, please send an email to hrpension@uottawa.ca with buy-back or pension transfer in the subject line, along with your employee number. The Pension Sector will review the file to verify your eligibility and prepare the necessary calculations. Please note that there are specific timelines to respect and these can vary from one employer to another.