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Frequently asked questions

Most asked

Participants in the Advantages Retirement Plan™ pay fees of 0.6 per cent of assets plus HST — 0.15 per cent of the asset fee will be paid to OMA Insurance for cost recovery and services — plus $10 per month, along with HST.

The fees are considerably lower than average investment management fees that Canadian retail investors pay. According to the Investment Funds Institute of Canada, the average Canadian investment fund has fees of about 2.1 per cent of assets.

The fees are in line with, and in some cases lower than, those for robo-advisors and other online investment solutions, though these tend to lack some of the features of the Advantages Retirement Plan™ (e.g., guaranteed lifetime income, legal duty to put physicians’ interests first).

Some Canadians who do their own investing through discount brokerages would be able to find lower fees for exchange-traded funds (ETFs), but this often requires them to do their own fund selection, portfolio management, asset rebalancing and management of the post-retirement phase.

The Advantages Retirement Plan™ is a group retirement income plan composed of a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), Tax-free Savings Account (TFSA) and Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF).

The Advantages Retirement Plan™ is not a pension plan, but rather a group retirement income plan. Most physicians are self-employed, and a traditional pension plan requires an employer-employee relationship. In addition, traditional pensions require mandatory, locked-in contributions, where physicians are looking for greater flexibility with regards to their funds.

The Advantages Retirement Plan™ was based on feedback received from OMA member focus groups and surveys. The plan is based on a few guiding principles such as:

  • Putting members’ interests first (fiduciary duty)
  • Value for money (low investment management fees)
  • Providing a guaranteed stream of income through an annuity program

Plan members can select a BlackRock target-date fund, which provides a mix of equities, fixed income and property. The fund is matched to each plan member’s expected retirement date and automatically adjusted as you get closer to that date. Target-date funds provide a saving solution that can reduce the complexity and stress of investing over time.

For members age 50 or older who are interested in guaranteed lifetime income, an annuity is an option for contributed funds. A life annuity is a fixed amount of income paid for a person’s lifetime and is typically used to provide regular income in retirement.

The plan’s Investment Committee selected BlackRock to provide target-date funds and Brookfield Annuity to offer life annuities, both approved by OMA Insurance. You can learn more about BlackRock and Brookfield Annuity, as well as how the Advantages Retirement Plan™ is governed.

Please check your RRSP contribution room on your Notice of Assessment from the Canada Revenue Agency to know the maximum amount you can contribute to the RRSP. You are solely responsible for any taxes or fines if contributions exceed the RRSP or TFSA limits. 

The current TFSA contribution limit is $6,000 per year. However, if you have unused contribution room from previous years, these limits accumulate and are lifetime limits. The lifetime contribution limit is currently $81,500. 

To ensure you do not exceed your yearly limit of $6,000, your ongoing monthly TFSA contributions will be capped at $500 per month. The one-time lump sum contribution option is available to address unused contribution room from prior years. 

Additionally, the plan does allow for transfers of registered funds from other financial institutions. Learn more about transfers-in and what to know before making a transfer into the program. 

The plan requires a minimum monthly contribution of $50, if you decide to contribute on a monthly basis, or a minimum transfer-in of $100. 

Yes, you can transfer any existing TFSA, RRSP or RRIF funds into your Advantages Retirement Plan™ account. Log into your Advantages Retirement Plan™ account and initiate the transfer-in process.

A direct transfer of your TFSA or RRSP does not affect your TFSA or RRSP contribution deduction limit.

Your money is secured in the following ways: 

  • Your cash transfers held by Canadian Western Bank, through its Canadian Western Trust Services division, are protected under the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) insurance program. Canadian Western Trust is a CDIC member, and deposits held in CWB Trust Services’ registered account are eligible for CDIC insurance coverage of up to $100,000
  • Once your cash is invested by BlackRock, your assets are held on your behalf by an independent custodian, State Street

State Street is the largest custodian bank in the world with US$43.3 trillion under custody and administration. BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager with US$10 trillion in assets under management. 

Lump-sum contributions and direct transfers can happen at any time that is convenient for you once you’ve completed the enrolment process. Lump-sum contributions should appear in your account in seven to 10 business days, while transfers-in may take four to six weeks. Please read the information on transfers-in and be aware of any fees from your current financial institution(s) before making a transfer.

All OMA members can enrol in the plan, including students and retirees. A spouse or common-law partner of an OMA member is also eligible to join the Advantages Retirement Plan™ even if the OMA member decides not to join.

There is no maximum age limit to joining Advantages Retirement Plan™. Even retired OMA members can enrol in the plan.

All plan members must be Canadian residents for tax purposes.

Retired OMA members can join the plan. There is no maximum age limit to joining the Advantages Retirement Plan™, and there are a number of ways retired members can benefit.

First, the plan offers members the option to use some of their savings to purchase guaranteed lifetime income through a life annuity. This can help members to protect against market fluctuations in retirement and to ensure they do not outlive their savings.

Also, the competitive fees on invested savings would likely result in better outcomes for members over time. The plan would also help members convert their nest egg into monthly retirement income by making regular monthly payments to retired members.

General questions

The Advantages Retirement Plan™ was established to help OMA members and their spouses/common-law partners build a foundational level of retirement savings through a self-serve online platform. It is designed to assist physicians of all ages in preparing for a financially secure retirement.

Over the years, members have asked the OMA about providing them with a retirement plan. Retirement security has been a long-standing concern for physicians in Ontario and is a higher priority for members in light of the changing economic environment and recent small business tax reforms. The OMA recognized this need raised by members and directed OMA Insurance to take action and create a new retirement plan for Ontario physicians based on extensive research and consultation.

The OMA Council and board approved the setup of a group retirement plan. The OMA initiated a study on the retirement needs of physicians and then directed OMA Insurance to develop a new group retirement income plan to enable members to save for their retirement security.

The OMA has been providing value for members for decades through its insurance program. Since 1956, OMA Insurance has offered members and their spouses insurance products that protect their lifestyle throughout the various stages of their career. The insurance programs range from OMA Insurance’s proprietary group life, living benefits and specialty insurance programs to individual life insurance solutions.

The group retirement plan is a natural fit for the OMA Insurance team, as staff is available to support the online enrollment process for members if and when required. Staff can also assist in guiding members to where they can find information related to the Advantages Retirement Plan™, as well as answering any questions they have on the features and benefits of the program.

As plan administrator, OMA Insurance will oversee the Advantages Retirement Plan™ under a governance and legal structure that puts the interests of the physician community first. OMA Insurance will be responsible for:

OMA Insurance has retained industry experts to support the implementation and ongoing operation of the Advantages Retirement Plan™, and an investment committee made up of investment experts and physicians will guide the investments.

It means that OMA Insurance (as plan administrator), Common Wealth, and the investment committee all have to act in the best interests of plan members.

The investment committee has a duty to put plan members’ interests first with respect to the selection of investment managers and the oversight of the plan’s investment program.

As the third-party administrator, Common Wealth is legally required to act in the best interests of plan members in administering the plan.

OMA Insurance has delegated the day-to-day administrative responsibilities, including record-keeping, to Common Wealth. Common Wealth designs and administers value-for-money group retirement plans for Canadians without access to traditional pensions.

Common Wealth has partnered with some of the world’s leading pension institutions, and its team includes former executives from some of Canada’s largest pension plans.

The Advantages Retirement Plan™ follows the same profit-for-members structure as other OMA Insurance offerings. Fees collected from the plan will be used to cover the costs of setting up and running the plan; 0.15 per cent of the asset fee will be paid to OMA Insurance for cost recovery and services.

The Advantages Retirement Plan™ is a retirement income plan composed of a group Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), group Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) and group Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF).

The Advantages Retirement Plan™ is not a pension plan, but rather a group retirement savings plan. Most physicians are self-employed, and a traditional pension plan requires an employer-employee relationship. In addition, traditional pensions require mandatory, locked-in contributions, where physicians are looking for greater flexibility with regards to their retirement savings. 

The design of the Advantages Retirement Plan™ was based on feedback received from OMA member focus groups and surveys. The plan is based on a few guiding principles such as:

  • Putting members’ interests first (fiduciary duty)
  • Value for money (low investment management fees)
  • Providing a guaranteed stream of income in retirement through an annuity program

Incorporated physicians can participate in the plan, if they take a certain portion of their income as salary. Where they have RRSP contribution room, they can take advantage of tax deductions through an RRSP. Incorporation would not impact TFSA contribution room. Get tax, accounting, and/or financial planning advice to determine what is best for you.

At this time, OMA Insurance is only able to offer the Advantages Retirement Plan™ consisting of registered products. In the future, OMA Insurance, along with the investment committee, will review and consider the possibility of offering non-registered accounts to OMA members.

The Advantages Retirement Plan™ helps physicians and their spouses with each stage of preparing for retirement: saving, investing and converting your nest egg into monthly income in retirement. The plan is unique because it combines all of these elements.

While most investment options on the market focus on accumulation of assets, the approach for the Advantages Retirement Plan™ is based on monthly retirement income.

OMA Insurance does all this with lower fees and a legal duty to administer and manage the plan in the plan members’ best interests. And as the plan grows, the benefits of scale flow back to members in the plan, as opposed to shareholders.

The Advantages Retirement Plan™ member is responsible for choosing their plan investments, but a default fund option is available. The targets, estimates and projections provided in the plan are based on assumptions and the information you enter. They are not intended to provide you with personalized financial, retirement, accounting or tax advice, and should not be interpreted as a guarantee of the benefits you will actually receive from the Advantages Retirement Plan™ or other retirement income sources. The targets, estimates and projections provided do not take into account the details of your individual financial situation, including, for example, your tax situation, your spouse’s financial situation, any pension entitlements, real estate assets or other investments held by you or your family or the existence of a professional corporation. If you feel you need individualized assistance with your retirement planning, we encourage you to seek the advice of a qualified independent financial advisor.

Eligibility and enrolment

All OMA members who are residents of Ontario can enrol in the plan, including students and retirees. A spouse or common-law partner is also eligible to join the Advantages Retirement Plan™, even if the OMA member opts out.

There is no maximum age limit to joining Advantages Retirement Plan™. Retired OMA members can enrol in the plan.

All plan members must be Ontario residents for tax purposes.

You can contact a member of the OMA Insurance team at 1-800-758-1641.

View enrolment videos that show you how to set up monthly contributions or make a transfer from a registered account.

No. Only OMA members and their spouse or common-law partner can join the plan.

You can continue to participate in the Advantages Retirement Plan™, but you are not allowed to make additional contributions while you are a non-resident of Canada.

It is your responsibility to ensure you accurately characterize your residency status for tax purposes. If you are unsure about your status, you should contact the CRA or seek advice from a qualified professional. For further information, refer to CRA’s RRSPs and Other Registered Plans for Retirement, Guide for Individuals (T4040) or CRA’s Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), Guide for Individuals (RC4466).

Fees

Participants in the Advantages Retirement Plan™ pay fees of 0.6 per cent of assets plus HST — 0.15 per cent of the asset fee will be paid to OMA Insurance for cost recovery and services plus $10 per month along with HST.

If a plan member chooses to purchase an annuity to receive some guaranteed lifetime income, the member would pay premium rates (updated quarterly to reflect changing market conditions) that are inclusive of a one-time commission of 1 per cent, distributed to OMA Insurance, the broker of record, over three years at a fee of 0.33 per cent per year on premiums paid. The commission on annuities is charged in lieu of the 0.6 per cent annual fee, which is only applicable to non-annuity investments through the plan.

Certain transactions will also incur fees. Transaction and processing fees of $75 per transaction are charged for fund withdrawals, and death and marriage-breakdown processing. For non-sufficient funds (NSF) transactions, the fee is $40 per failed withdrawal.

The fees are used to cover the cost of the plan, including:

  • OMA Insurance’s implementation and operational costs
  • Common Wealth’s fees for plan administration, management and technology
  • BlackRock’s fees for investment management
  • CWB Trust Services’ fees for custodial and trustee services

No, HST will be charged on all fees as required by tax legislation.

Participants in the Advantages Retirement Plan™ pay fees of 0.6 per cent of assets plus HST — 0.15 per cent of the asset fee will be paid to OMA Insurance for cost recovery and services — plus $10 per month, along with HST.

The fees are considerably lower than average investment management fees that Canadian retail investors pay. According to the Investment Funds Institute of Canada, the average Canadian investment fund has fees of about 2.1 per cent of assets.

The fees are in line with, and in some cases lower than, those for robo-advisors and other online investment solutions, though these solutions tend to lack some of the features of the Advantages Retirement Plan™ (e.g., guaranteed lifetime income, legal duty to put physicians’ interests first).

Some Canadians who do their own investing through discount brokerages would be able to find lower fees for exchange-traded funds (ETFs), but this often requires them to do their own fund selection, portfolio management, asset rebalancing and management of the post-retirement phase.

The fees were set by OMA Insurance. The fees are based on CEM global benchmarking data of typical fees for large pension plans. OMA Insurance has the discretion to increase or lower fees in the future; 0.15 per cent of the asset fee will be paid to OMA Insurance for cost recovery and services.

The online platform will show plan members exactly how much is paid each month in fees. Here are two examples:

  • A member with an average of $10,000 of assets in the plan would pay $180 per year
  • A member with an average of $100,000 would pay $720 per year

Seemingly small differences in fees can make a big difference to your retirement. Just like investment returns, fee differences add up to large numbers over long periods of time due to the effects of compounding. The Plan for You provides illustrative examples of this.

Students can participate in the OMA Advantages Retirement Plan™ to start saving with as little as $50 a month through a Tax-Free Savings Account or Registered Retirement Savings Plan. The monthly $10 fee will be waived for medical students.

Target retirement income and contributions

The benefit of the Advantages Retirement Plan™ is you have control of how much income you want to receive in retirement. The plan provides tools that help you set a default target retirement income backed by evidence-based data and research. A member may or may not reach their target retirement income based on many factors, but once enrolled, you have the ability to go into the plan and change your income needs to ensure that you’re making the appropriate contributions toward those retirement needs. The plan is limited by the Income Tax Act, so other sources of retirement savings may be needed for a sufficient level of replacement income.

Please check your RRSP contribution room on your Notice of Assessment from the Canada Revenue Agency to know the maximum amount you can put in. You are solely responsible for any taxes or fines imposed if contributions exceed the RRSP or TFSA limits.

The current TFSA contribution limit is $6,000 per year. However, if you have unused contribution room from previous years, these limits accumulate and are lifetime limits. Currently, the lifetime contribution limit is $81,500.

To ensure you do not exceed your yearly limit of $6,000, your ongoing monthly TFSA contributions will be capped at $500 per month. The one-time lump sum contribution option is available to address unused contribution room from prior years.

Additionally, the plan does allow for transfers of registered funds from other financial institutions. Learn more about transfers-in and what to know before making a transfer into the program.

The plan requires a minimum monthly contribution of $50, if you decide to contribute on a monthly basis, or a minimum transfer-in of $100.

Learn how to enrol and set up monthly contributions for the Advantages Retirement Plan™.

Yes, the plan requires a minimum monthly contribution of $50, if you decide to contribute on a monthly basis, or a minimum transfer-in of $100.

Keep in mind that plan members also pay $10/month and an annual fee of 0.6 per cent of assets (both plus HST). Annuities have a fee of 0.33 per cent per year for three years on premiums paid, which the plan charges in lieu of (and amounts to less than) the 0.6 per cent annual fee charged on investments through the plan.

The amount you’ll need to save in order to hit your target retirement income will depend on the amount you’ve collected to date, and how it's invested. The Advantages Retirement Plan™ will set a default amount to save. However, you have the ability to change the contribution amount, so that it fits into your budget and proposed spending in retirement, subject to Income Tax Act limits.

You can choose how much to save each month, but the plan will set a default amount as a starting point.

Your contribution deduction limit for 2022 is the lesser of $29,210 or 18 per cent of your pre-tax earned income for 2021. The limit is further reduced if you were a member of a Registered Pension Plan or Deferred Profit-Sharing Plan in 2021.

Unused contributions can be carried forward and added to the following years of RRSP deduction limits.

You can contribute to an RRSP as long as you have available contribution deduction room or until Dec. 31 of the year you turn age 71. Please check your RRSP contribution room on your Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Notice of Assessment to know the maximum you can add. It is your responsibility to ensure any contribution you make does not exceed your limits under the Income Tax Act. You are solely responsible for any taxes or fines imposed if contributions exceed the RRSP limits.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will track your TFSA and RRSP contribution limits and determine your current available contribution room. It is your responsibility to ensure any contribution you make to the Advantages Retirement Plan™ is allowable under the Income Tax Act (ITA).

You can contact CRA at 1-800-267-6999 to find out your limit or unused contribution room. If you have an account under the MyAccount service provided by CRA, you can check your limit online.

Advantages Retirement Plan™ members are solely responsible for any taxes or fines imposed if contributions exceed the RRSP limits.

You can monitor your contributions through the Advantages Retirement Plan™ online platform.

To ensure you know your contribution limits, you can contact the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) who will provide you with information on your limits or unused contribution room. Contact CRA at 1-800-267-6999 or through its website.

It is your responsibility to ensure any contribution you make does not exceed your limits under the Income Tax Act. You are solely responsible for any taxes or fines imposed if contributions exceed the TFSA or RRSP limits.

You can contribute to more than one TFSA and more than one RRSP as long as the total contributed for the current calendar year does not exceed your personal limit as determined by CRA.

You can also transfer any existing TFSA or RRSP funds into your Advantages Retirement Plan™ account. A direct transfer does not affect your TFSA or RRSP contribution deduction limit. Log into your Advantages Retirement Plan™ account and initiate the transfer-in process.

It is your responsibility to ensure any contribution you make does not exceed your limits under the Income Tax Act. You are solely responsible for any taxes or fines imposed if contributions exceed the TFSA or RRSP limits.

Yes, you can transfer any existing TFSA, RRSP or RRIF funds into your Advantages Retirement Plan™ account. Log in your Advantages Retirement Plan™ and initiate the transfer-in process.

A direct transfer of your TFSA or RRSP does not affect your TFSA or RRSP contribution deduction limit.

Learn how to enrol and make a transfer into the Advantages Retirement Plan™.

After you’ve completed your transfer-in, make sure to reduce your “other savings” amount in your account so that your retirement plan reflects this new information.

Your money is secured in the following ways:

  • Your cash transfers held by Canadian Western Bank, through its Canadian Western Trust Services division, are protected under the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) insurance program. Canadian Western Trust is a CDIC member, and deposits held in CWB Trust Services’ registered account are eligible for CDIC insurance coverage of up to $100,000
  • Once your cash is invested by BlackRock, your assets are held on your behalf by an independent custodian, State Street

State Street is the largest custodian bank in the world with US$43.3 trillion under custody and administration. BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager with US$10 trillion in assets under management.

There are several contribution options: regular monthly contributions, flexible one-time, lump-sum contributions and direct transfers from existing TFSA or non-locked-in RRSP funds. Lump-sum contributions and direct transfers can happen at any time that is convenient for you.

Lump-sum contributions and direct transfers can happen at any time that is convenient for you. Lump-sum contributions should appear in your account in  seven  to 10 business days, while transfers-in may take four to six weeks. Please read the information on transfers-in and be aware of any fees from your current financial institution(s) before making a transfer.

Learn how to make a transfer and lump-sum contribution into the Advantages Retirement Plan™.

No. Under the TFSA and RRSP rules, each person has their own contribution limit and is tracked separately by CRA.

It is your spouse’s responsibility to ensure any contribution made does not exceed their limits under the Income Tax Act. Your spouse is solely responsible for any taxes or fines imposed if contributions exceed the TFSA or RRSP limits.

During periods where you are no longer making contributions to the plan, you can still remain a member.

Yes. If you are making ongoing monthly contributions, you can stop contributions or change the contribution level at any time.

Yes. Former OMA members with an entitlement in the plan can continue to participate. Your spouse’s ongoing membership is permissible even if you leave the OMA.

Once you set up a regular contribution from your bank account, the plan will trigger a withdrawal on the 15th of every month. Your first contribution will happen on the 15th of the month following the setup of your withdrawal. Within two to three business days of the money leaving your account, you will receive a confirmation that your contributions have been received. Due to processing time, there may be a delay of up to one week before you see an updated account balance.

Savings options

There are nine BlackRock target-date funds available in five-year intervals starting with 2025. BlackRock LifePath target-date funds are invested in at least six different asset classes — including global stocks and U.S. bonds, as well as real assets such as real estate and infrastructure — so each is diversified and managed allowing you to invest in just one fund. LifePath is designed to bring more consistent returns to help stay you on track to grow and preserve retirement savings.

A target-date fund offers a balanced portfolio within a single fund calibrated by the investment manager based on a retirement date.

Each BlackRock LifePath target-date fund holds a number of underlying investments — from stocks to bonds, including U.S. and global markets, as well as real assets such as real estate and infrastructure — creating diversified funds with one main objective: helping to manage your investment risk throughout your working years and into retirement.

When you’re young and far away from retirement, the investment mix is more aggressive to help your savings grow. But as you approach retirement, the fund automatically shifts to a more conservative allocation with the goal of preserving your savings. When you arrive at your desired retirement date, the fund shifts to protect your savings.

The Advantages Retirement Plan™ has a default path that helps guide your savings until you select the most appropriate target-date fund based on your retirement time horizon.

The default target-date funds provided by BlackRock are built to help balance investment returns and risk.

Plan members can select a BlackRock target-date fund, which provides a mix of equities, fixed income and property. The fund is matched to each plan member’s expected retirement date and automatically adjusted as you approach it. Target-date funds provide a saving solution that can reduce the complexity and stress of investing over time.

For members age 50 or older who are interested in guaranteed lifetime income, an annuity is an option for contributed funds. A life annuity is a fixed amount of income paid for a person’s lifetime and is typically used to provide regular income in retirement.

The plan’s investment committee selected BlackRock to provide target-date funds and Brookfield Annuity to offer life annuities, both approved by OMA Insurance. You can learn more about BlackRock and Brookfield Annuity, as well as how the Advantages Retirement Plan™ is governed.

No, the Advantages Retirement Plan™ is meant to be a long-term savings plan. To assist with that objective, OMA Insurance has chosen to make target-date funds available at this time.

BlackRock LifePath funds’ asset-and-risk allocation is monitored on a daily basis, and the funds are typically rebalanced at the end of the month. Each target-date fund is designed to continuously reduce risk exposure until your target date, the year when you want to retire.

The value of your target-date funds can fluctuate due to stock market performance. The purpose of target-date funds is to help you save for the long-term. It’s not a short-term approach.

If you are interested in reducing your investment risk and exposure to market fluctuations, you may consider the option of a guaranteed lifetime income program, which is available through the Advantages Retirement Plan™.

Target-date funds are not guaranteed at any time, including at the target date, and will fluctuate based on stock market performance.

At this time, the Advantages Retirement Plan™ only offers target-date funds. Based on demand from our members, OMA Insurance and the investment committee will review the use of alternative products in the program.

Based on your age and estimated retirement date, the Advantages Retirement Plan™ online platform will provide a default target-date fund. Funds are carefully chosen by the plan’s investment committee for the physician community.

The program is designed to allow plan members to consider different target retirement dates and adjust the time horizon accordingly. If you need assistance with navigating the online platform, OMA Insurance staff is available to help guide and educate members.

The Advantages Retirement Plan™ is meant to provide you with foundational savings. It is not meant to replace any other financial vehicles that you currently have in your overall retirement plan.

Yes, your personal financial advisor can assist you. The Advantages Retirement Plan™ was designed to simplify and automate savings for retirement through a self-serve online platform, which includes tools and information that can assist you with your retirement savings strategy.

You will be able to view your retirement savings at any time through the Advantages Retirement Plan™ online platform.

Guaranteed lifetime income

Under the Advantages Retirement Plan™, you have the option starting as early as age 50 to use funds in your RRSP to purchase guaranteed lifetime income. Guaranteed lifetime income is provided through a life annuity. A life annuity is a life insurance product that pays a fixed amount of income for a person’s lifetime and is typically used to provide regular income in retirement.

You’ll are able to choose how much retirement income you want to guarantee and direct a portion of your RRSP assets to purchase guaranteed lifetime income. 

Guaranteed lifetime income is designed to help protect you against the risk of outliving your savings and the risks associated with exposure to market volatility during your retirement years. 

You can make premium payments to purchase your guaranteed lifetime income regularly through an allocation of your monthly RRSP contributions in the Advantages Retirement Plan™ or through one or more lump-sum premium payments. 

Your premium payments will purchase an amount of guaranteed lifetime income based on the annuity rate table in effect at the time of each individual purchase. 

Once a premium is paid, the guaranteed lifetime income purchased with that premium will not change. 

As you consider guaranteed lifetime income, we encourage you to speak to an OMA Insurance advisor by calling 1-800-758-1641 (select option one) or emailing retire@omainsurance.com. 

Before you can purchase an annuity, you will need to first complete an application form and provide supporting documents. Education materials and the application form will be available in the online platform. 

The cost to purchase an annuity is based on a rate table set by the insurer that accounts for a number of factors including your age, sex, assumptions about life expectancy, prevailing interest rates, and features of the basic annuity form (payable for life starting at age 71 and guaranteed for 10 years). The rate table is updated at least every quarter to reflect changing market and economic conditions, and plan members will be able to access pricing information through the online platform.

Over time, premium payments to purchase guaranteed lifetime income will buy more or less guaranteed income. This is because the rate table is adjusted to reflect your changing age, as well as changing market and economic conditions, in particular shifts in interest rates. 

Your purchase of guaranteed lifetime income is based on income commencing on the first of the month in which you reach age 71 and with payments for your lifetime with a 10-year guarantee. You can retire as early as age 60, however, your monthly annuity income will be adjusted to reflect the earlier start date.

When you purchase guaranteed lifetime income, the amount is based on 120 monthly payments. When you choose to start receiving annuity income, you have the option to change that payment to a life annuity with 180 guaranteed monthly payments or to a life annuity with a 60 per cent survivor benefit payable to your spouse (after your death, your spouse will receive 60 per cent of your annuity amount for their lifetime.) If you choose one of these optional forms, there will be an adjustment to your monthly annuity payment.

No.  Once a premium payment has been made, you cannot cancel or cash out the lifetime income that was purchased. However, you can change or stop future premium payments at any time with appropriate notice to the program administrator.

The guaranteed lifetime income under the Advantages Retirement Plan™ is provided through a life annuity policy underwritten and issued by Brookfield Annuity Company, a Canadian life insurance company. 

Life insurance companies like Brookfield Annuity Company back life annuities like the Guaranteed Lifetime Income Annuity primarily with fixed income investments. Given the size of their asset base, they can typically invest in a broader range of financial products than an individual retail investor can access, such as corporate bonds and private placements. This means an insurance company can usually generate better returns from fixed income investing than an individual investor. 

For example, a life annuity from Brookfield Annuity Company currently provides yields that are generally higher than those of a typical bond-based Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) in Canada. Historically, Brookfield Annuity Company yields have been 0.5 per cent to one per cent higher.  

This higher yield results in your dollars invested in the Guaranteed Lifetime Income Annuity buying more lifetime income than you could generate from investing in fixed income. It has the added benefit that this lifetime income is guaranteed by Brookfield Annuity Company.  

Canadian life insurance companies are subject to strict oversight by regulators who monitor the financial results and capital reserves of insurance companies on a regular basis. Life insurers are also required to be members of Assuris, a not-for-profit organization that protects Canadian policyholders if their life insurance company should fail. If a life insurer fails, Assuris facilitates the transfer of its policies to a solvent company and guarantees that the policyholder of an annuity policy retains up to $2,000 per month or 85 per cent of the promised monthly benefit, whichever is higher.

If you wish to stop participating in the Advantages Retirement Plan™ and transfer your accumulated RRSP or RRIF assets to a different RRSP/RRIF provider, you can transfer the annuity policy to the new RRSP/RRIF trustee. This means the annuity policy is transferred in its existing form, and the new RRSP/RRIF trustee becomes the policy owner. You will no longer be able to make premium payments under the policy to purchase additional annuity income under the policy, however, all other terms and accumulated entitlements remain unchanged. It is possible some RRSP/RRIF trustees will not be able or willing to accept the annuity policy as part of the RRSP/RRIF transfer. In that case, your RRSP/RRIF with Canadian Western Trust, which is providing the plan’s custodial and trustee services, will remain in place and it will continue to hold the annuity policy.

Ordinarily, an annuity policy cannot be commuted or cashed out. The sole exception is when an instruction to divide the annuity is provided to the RRSP or RRIF trustee in a court order, domestic agreement or separation agreement on the breakdown of a spousal relationship.

Receiving benefits from the Advantages Retirement Plan™

The plan will provide you with planning tools to assist you with developing a retirement plan — converting savings to income in retirement and integrating various income sources, such as government benefits. 

You’ll be able to access your Advantages Retirement Plan™ retirement income in a number of different ways. This includes setting up a regular withdrawal based on a percentage of your assets and/or a fixed pension-like payment. You will also have the option to withdraw funds in a lump sum or through a transfer to another TFSA, RRSP, or RRIF. 

If you have been contributing to the guaranteed lifetime income program, you can receive regular (monthly) income in retirement. 

Unlike in a registered pension plan, the Advantages Retirement Plan™ offers flexibility in when you can start receiving retirement income because it is composed of a RRSP/TFSA/RRIF. For example, you can start payments even as you are working part time later in your career. 

The guaranteed lifetime income option must start on the first of the month in which you reach age 71. Your RRSPs must be converted to a RRIF no later than the end of the year you turn 71, at which time minimum payments must be made. You can elect to convert to a RRIF earlier than age 71 to meet your retirement needs. Your TFSA is flexible, and you can start receiving retirement income at an age that accommodates your needs. 

If you want your guaranteed lifetime income option to start before age 71 (as early as age 60), there will be a reduction to compensate for the early age and longer payout period. 

The plan will provide you with tools to assist you with developing a retirement plan converting savings to income in retirement and integrating various income sources, such as government benefits. You may want to seek financial planning and/or tax advice. 

Most of the Advantages Retirement Plan™ funds can be accessed before you retire, however, any amounts you contribute to the guaranteed lifetime income program can only be paid to you over your lifetime. In other words, your guaranteed lifetime income program can’t be cashed out. All other funds can be transferred to another TFSA or RRSP/RRIF or paid out in cash.

The Advantages Retirement Plan™ savings strategy will be impacted by the age you say you want to retire. By changing your retirement date, your contributions to the plan and target-date fund may need to be adjusted so you can still achieve your target retirement income. You will also need to consider the impact this may have on your government benefits (Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security). 

There are rules on when certain retirement payments must begin. Your RRSPs must be converted to a RRIF no later than the end of the year you turn 71, at which time minimum payments must be made. You can elect to convert to a RRIF earlier than age 71 to meet your retirement needs. Your TFSA is flexible, and you can start receiving retirement income at an age that accommodates your needs. 

The guaranteed lifetime income option must start on the first of the month in which you reach age 71. However, if you want to retire earlier (as early as age 60), your monthly income will be adjusted to reflect the start date. 

Learn more about setting your own target retirement income that is geared to your individual preferences and goals. 

With registered accounts including TFSA, RRSP and RRIF you can designate how your investments are transferred to your beneficiaries or your spouse as a successor upon your death. The assets in your accounts can be paid directly to the beneficiaries you designate on the account documentation bypassing your estate.

Beneficiary designations for the Advantages Retirement Plan™ apply individually to the TFSA, RRSP and RRIF accounts (if applicable), and do not need to be the same person for all three accounts. 

If you want your spouse or common-law partner (“spouse”) to be your sole beneficiary, you can designate your spouse for all three accounts you would need to complete the beneficiary designation process individually for each account.

If you are married or common-law, designating your spouse as the “successor holder” (TFSA) and “successor annuitant” (RRIF) simplifies the process of transferring assets from your TFSA and RRIF to your spouse upon your death. This means your spouse would take over your accounts upon your death. They would then have the following options: 

  • Join the plan and have the benefit continue in their own account. Note that minimum RRIF payments will be recalculated based on the age of your spouse
  • Transfer the benefit to their own account on a tax-deferred basis if they are already a member of the Advantages Retirement Plan™
  • Transfer the benefit on a tax-deferred basis to another TFSA or RRIF outside of the Advantages Retirement Plan™

If you are married or common-law, you can designate your spouse as the “beneficiary” for your RRSP. Upon your death, your spouse can transfer the assets of your RRSP to their own account either within or outside the Advantages Retirement Plan™ to continue the tax deferral. Generally, only a spousal beneficiary is permitted to directly transfer the assets of a bequeathed RRSP and continue the tax deferral. 

If you wish to designate a non-spouse as your beneficiary for any one or more of your accounts, you can complete the beneficiary designation process for your RRSP, TFSA and RRIF after you enrol in the Advantages Retirement Plan™, listing the beneficiaries individually for each account. If you choose this option, your beneficiaries will receive a cheque in the event of your death. There is no direct transfer of funds for beneficiaries. 

If you do not designate any beneficiary for your Advantages Retirement Plan™ assets, the Advantages Retirement Plan™ will pay assets to your estate. 

If you purchased guaranteed lifetime income and die before annuity payments have commenced, then a refund of the total premium that you paid (without interest) will be made to your registered plan and will be distributed based on your beneficiary designation for your assets. If you die after annuity payments have commenced, any death benefit will be based on the form of annuity that you chose. If you chose a form with a guarantee period, remaining payments will be made to your registered plan. If you elected a lifetime annuity with a 60 per cent survivor benefit, it will be payable to your spouse’s registered plan for their lifetime. If that spouse dies before you do, no survivor benefit will be payable on your death. 

You will be able to view your progress at any time on the dashboard section of the online platform. In addition, you will receive an annual statement that will provide you with key information about your account.

Retired OMA members can join the plan. There is no maximum age limit to joining the Advantages Retirement Plan™, and there are a number of ways retired members can benefit.

First, the plan offers members the option to use some of their savings to purchase guaranteed lifetime income through a life annuity. This can help members to protect against market fluctuations in retirement and to ensure they do not outlive their savings. OMA Insurance is the distributor for the annuities.

Also, the competitive fees on invested savings would likely result in better outcomes for members over time; 0.15 per cent of the asset fee will be paid to OMA Insurance for cost recovery and services.

The plan will provide you with tools to help you prepare for retirement — converting savings to income and integrating various income sources, such as government benefits. 

Administration

Your privacy is important to us, and, as such, this information is kept confidential and not shared with any person not associated with the plan setup and administration. We use this information as it is required by the Canada Revenue Agency to set up the TFSA and RRSP and to report on TFSA and RRSP contributions and withdrawals, as well as RRIF and annuity payments.

If an expected contribution is not received, you will be notified that the contribution did not get transferred from your bank account. 

An NSF withdrawal automatically stops any further contributions. To restart your contributions, you will need to log in to your Advantages Retirement Plan™ account and initiate the contribution process.

Your Advantages Retirement Plan™ account will also be charged an NSF fee of $40 to cover the processing costs.

There is an option in the online platform to change your bank account. If you do so, the system will indicate the date of the next contribution from your new bank account. To ensure there is no interruption in contributions, you should only close your existing account once contributions have started to be withdrawn from the new bank account. 

You can update your banking information in the online platform. 

You can contact a member of the OMA Insurance team at 1-800-758-1641 for information about the plan, its products and features. OMA Insurance staff are not able to provide any investment advice.

You will be able to view your retirement savings at any time in the Advantages Retirement Plan™ online platform. In addition, you will have access to quarterly fund fact sheets from BlackRock (investment manager) and receive an annual statement.

You will be able to view your account details at any time in the Advantages Retirement Plan™ online platform. In addition, you will have access to quarterly fund fact sheets from BlackRock (investment manager) and receive an annual statement. An email notification will let you know when your annual statement is available.

You can change this amount in the “my plan” section of your account. You can update your current income by clicking “edit” at the top right of the screen or on the “my projected monthly retirement income” chart.

Because your income is used to estimate how much income you will need in retirement, your target retirement income will be recalculated. Other key elements of your retirement plan may also change, such as your government benefits and RRSP contribution room.

Impact on government benefits 

A higher income may reduce how much you receive in Old Age Security (OAS) or Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) because these benefits are clawed back based on your income level in retirement. If your income is lower, these government benefits may increase. Please note you will see no change to your government benefits if you have previously customized these amounts.

Impact on RRSP contribution room

Lowering your income may affect your RRSP contribution room, so you want to make sure you are not over-contributing. Learn about the government-set general contribution limits.

Impact on monthly contribution rate and auto-escalation schedule

If you are contributing from your bank account, your suggested monthly contribution rate and your auto-escalation schedule may change based on the update to your income. You can view the new suggested amount by clicking “edit” next to your current contributions and “back to suggested amount” and enter the contribution rate you would like. 

You can change this amount in the “my plan” section of the member dashboard. You can update your outside savings by clicking “edit” on the “my projected monthly retirement income” chart.

If you completed a transfer-in after enrolling in the plan, you should make sure to reduce your “other savings” amount so that your retirement plan reflects this new information.

Because your outside savings are included in your plan, key elements of your retirement plan may also change, such as your suggested monthly contribution rate and your auto-escalation schedule. Your government benefits can also be impacted. For example, if you increase your savings outside to reflect additional RRSPs, you may impact how much you receive in Old Age Security (OAS) as any RRSP income you receive in retirement reduces your OAS entitlement. 

You should review your plan at least once a year or when you have a significant change in your income. You can update elements of your plan in your account, which provides an up-to-date view of your retirement readiness. It is also important to review your beneficiaries after you’ve experienced any major life events.

Tax implications and CRA reporting

Contributions to a RRSP are tax deductible.

Tax receipts will be issued for all ongoing and lump-sum contributions to the RRSP. You will receive two tax receipts, one for all contributions made during the first 60 days of a taxation year and one for each in the last 10 months of the taxation year. 

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