Frequently Asked Questions

Pension benefits

What type of benefits does the Plan pay?

You can receive one of the following types of benefits from the plan:a Normal pension (starting age 65 or older), an Early pension (starting any time from age 55 but before you reach age 65), a Special Retirement pensionor a Disability pension.

Is my pension indexed after retirement?

An “indexed pension” is one that is increased periodically to reflect increases in the consumer price index (CPI). The consumer price index (CPI) is a measure of the degree of change in the price of goods and services purchased by Canadian consumers and is determined monthly by Statistics Canada.

Only about 32% of all defined benefit plans in Canada provide any form of guaranteed indexing after retirement. Most of them are public sector plans where funding comes, at least in part, from taxpayers.

The Board of Trustees regularly reviews the different types of benefits that the plan provides, and makes changes periodically based on what it believes is in the best interests of the members. Since very few (if any) multi-employer pension plans like ours provide guaranteed indexing, and since the cost is significant, the Trustees have not implemented guaranteed indexing as part of the menu of benefit provisions under the plan

What is a Special Retirement pension?

You may retire on a Special Retirement pension if you:

  • Are at least 55 and not yet age 65,
  • Are vested,
  • Are an active member at age 55 or older and you have at least 15 vested years (for Part 1 contributions) and you have at least 20 vested years (for Part 2 contributions) in which contributions were made each year on your behalf, and the 15 or 20 years do not include any periods that have been cancelled before you were vested.(See “How is my benefit calculated?[link to “How is my benefit calculated?”] to learn about the parts of your pension calculation.)Special Retirement pension is only applicable to work done prior to January 1, 2013

What is a Disability Pension?

You may be eligible for a Disability pension if you:

  • Become totally and permanently disabled while you are an active Member of the Plan,
  • Are not eligible to retire on a Normal pension,
  • Are vested at the time of your disability, and
  • Are not eligible to receive disability benefits from your employer or under an insurance program provided by your employer.

How much will my benefit be?

The amount of your monthly pension benefit will depend on:

  • Contributions made by your employer(s) for your covered employment,
  • Whether you receive a Normal, Early, Special Retirement or Disability pension, and
  • The pension payment form you choose (which is based, in part, on whether you have a spouse on the date your pension payment begins).

How is my benefit calculated?

A.  Your pension is calculated in three parts:

  • Part 1 is your pension benefit related to contributions for engagements taking place up to and including December 31, 2010.
  • Part 2 is your pension benefit related to contributions for engagements taking place from January 1, 2011 up to and including December 31, 2012.
  • Part 3 is your pension benefit related to contributions for engagements taking place on and after January 1, 2013.

For example, here’s how a Normal pension benefit is calculated:

Contribution Type and Timing Monthly pension for each $100 of contributions
Part 1
Contributions for covered employment before 1992: $3.80
Contributions for covered employment from January 1, 1992 up to and including April 30, 2006: $3.70
Contributions for covered employment from May 1, 2006 up to and including December 31, 2010:
  • Contributions up to 10% of scale wages:
$3.70
  •  Contributions between 10% and 12%
    of scale wages:
$2.00
Part 2
Contributions for covered employment from January 1, 2011 up to and including December 31, 2012:
  • Contributions up to 10% of scale wages:
  • $3.25
     
  • Contributions between 10% and 12% of scale wages:
  • $2.00
    Part 3
    All contributions for covered employment on and after January 1, 2013(maximum 18%)*: $3.25

    * Contributions for this period are divided into two equal amounts to be applied as follows:

    • 50% is allocated as regular contributions to be used for calculating your benefits
    • 50% is allocated as sustaining contributions that will help support the actual cost of your benefits and will not be used for calculating benefits.

    For an example of a Normal pension calculation, and for information about the calculation of other types of Plan pensions, please see the Plan Summary.

    Who can be my beneficiary?

    Your beneficiary is any person or persons you designate to receive Plan benefits if you die. If you have a spouse on the date your retirement starts, he or she is automatically your beneficiary (unless you and your spouse waiveyour spouse’s rights to a benefit). If a member is subject to the pension laws of Quebec and designates his/her spouse as a beneficiary, thatdesignation is irrevocable unless otherwise stipulated in the designation.

    How can I change my beneficiary?

    You may change your beneficiary any time by notifying the Fund Office in writing. For the change to be effective, the Fund Office must receive it before any payments are made to your previously designated beneficiary. If you have a spouse when you retire, he/she has the right to receive a survivor benefit if you die and is designated automatically as your beneficiary,unless you and your spouse waive that right in writing.

    Is my pension guaranteed?

    No, your pension is not guaranteed. The benefits provided by this Plan are not guaranteed by the Ontario Government Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund—the Ontario Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund does not apply to multi-employer pension plans. In the unlikely event that the Plan is terminated and it is not fully funded, your pension benefit may be subject to a reduction.

    Will my pension payments increasebased on inflation?

    No—your pension payments will not increase based on inflation. (This increase is often referred to as “indexing.”) Since very few, if any, multi-employer pension plans like ours provide guaranteed indexing, and since the cost of indexing is significant, the Trustees have not implemented guaranteed indexing under the Plan.

    Can I retire before age 65?

    You can retire as early as age 55 and receive a pension from the Plan if you are vested in your benefit when you retire. Your pension will be calculated the same way as a Normal pension. However, because you will receive your pension for a longer period of time than if you retire at age 65, your monthly pension payment will be reduced. The reduction is based on your age at retirement. The younger you are when you retire, the greater your monthly pension payment reduction will be. See the Plan Summary for more information about early retirement.

    What happens to my benefit if I retire after age 65?

    If you retire after age 65, your benefit will continue to accrue until you start your pension. You must commence your pension by December 1 of the year you turn age 71

    Can I continue earning benefits after age 71?

    No. As per the Income Tax Act, no one can accrue benefits after December 1 of the year theybecome age 71.

    What happens to my benefit if I become disabled?

    If you are vested in your benefit and you become totally and permanently disabled, and you are not eligible to receive disability benefits from your employer or from an insurance program provided by your employer, you may be entitled to a Disability pension from the Pension Fund.

    How do the Trustees know that the Plan has enough money to pay benefits to current and future retirees and beneficiaries?

    Every three years, in compliance with pension law, the Fund uses the services of professional actuaries to evaluate the Plan to confirm that it has enough money to pay benefits to current and future retirees and beneficiaries. This is called an actuarial valuation. An actuarial valuation may be conducted more frequently than every three years, at the discretion of the Trustees.