Guide for plan members

WorkSafeBC Pension Plan is committed to helping you make the most of your pension. This guide is a provincial requirement. Please use the links at right to explore the topics most relevant to you.


When you can retire


While the normal age of retirement is 65, you can choose to retire as early as 55 or as late as the year in which you turn 71. Your age at retirement will affect the value of your pension.

The age at which you choose to retire will affect the value of your pension.

The earliest age you can start receiving your pension is 55. The latest is the end of the year in which you turn 71.

Your age at retirement and your years of contributory service will determine if you are eligible for an unreduced pension.

You will receive an unreduced pension   if, at the date of your retirement, you are:
 
  • Age 55 or older and your age plus your years of contributory service equals 90
  • Age 60 or older, with two or more years of contributory service
  • Age 65 or older, with any amount of contributory service

For example, if you are 57 and have 33 years of contributory service, you are eligible for an unreduced pension because your age plus your years of contributory service equals 90.

If you are 60 and have two years of contributory service, you are also eligible for an unreduced pension.

You will receive a reduced pension, if, at the date of your retirement, you are:

  • Over 55 but under 60, and your age plus your years of contributory service is less than 90
  • Over 60 but under 65, with fewer than two years of contributory service

For example, if you are 57 and have 20 years of contributory service, you are not eligible for an unreduced pension. If you choose to retire, you will receive a reduced pension because your age plus your years of contributory service does not equal 90.

If you are an inactive member working for an employer other than WorkSafeBC, you may apply to begin receiving your pension as early as at age 55.

To learn more about how the changes may affect your pension, sign in to My Account and use the Personalized Pension Estimator to find out what your monthly pension might be based on your salary and years of service.


How we calculate your pension


Your lifetime monthly pension payment is calculated based on your pensionable service (to a maximum of 35 years) and average of your highest five years of salary. Your age at retirement and chosen pension option also determine the value of your monthly pension payment.

The following formula is used to calculate your pension based on a single life pension guaranteed for 10 years:

Before age 65

2% × five-year highest average salary   (HAS) × total pensionable service    

This formula includes the bridge benefit.

At age 65 and after

2% × HAS × total pensionable service

minus the bridge benefit, which is calculated as follows:

0.7% × (lesser of previous year's maximum pensionable earnings or HAS)

× pensionable service

This pension formula is used to calculate a lifetime monthly pension amount. The actual monthly pension payment you receive will depend on several other factors, including:

  • Your age when you retire

  • The pension option you choose

  • If you retire when you are younger than 65 and do not meet the criteria for an unreduced pension

After you retire, your monthly pension payment may increase if there is an annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). This adjustment is added to your pension and, if applicable, your bridge benefit, to help keep pace with increases to the cost of living.

COLA is based on the Canadian consumer price index and is applied to your pension in January each year if sufficient funds are available in the plan's inflation adjustment account.

Although future COLAs are not guaranteed, once you have received the adjustment it becomes part of your lifetime pension for all subsequent years.


Calculating your reduced pension

The amount of your monthly pension payment will be reduced if you decide to retire early and do not meet the eligibility criteria for an unreduced pension.

If you have at least 10 years of contributory service   and are at least 50 when your employment ends at WorkSafeBC, your pension will be reduced by three per cent for each year using the lesser of the age plus service or age rule:
 
  • Age plus service rule—the sum of your age plus years of contributory service is less than 90
  • Age rule—you are under age 60

In all other cases, your pension will be reduced by five per cent for each year under the age of 65.

Age plus service rule

Age rule

For example, if you are 55 and have 33 years of service, your reduction would be six per cent based on the age plus service rule:

(90 - 88 [88 is the sum of your age and years of service] = 2) x 3% = 6%

We use the lesser of the age plus service rule or age rule. If we used the age rule, your pension reduction would be 15 per cent:

60 - 55 = 5 x 3% = 15%

If you end your employment at WorkSafeBC with fewer than two years of contributory service, your pension will be reduced by five per cent per year for every year you are under 65.

For example, if you are 55 and have one year of contributory service, your reduction would be 50 per cent:

65 - 55 = 10 x 5% = 50%

Pension reductions are pro-rated by month for partial years of contributory service.


Who is the beneficiary of your pension?

Your pension gives you a secure and lifelong source of income after you retire. In addition to the financial security it provides you, your pension can also provide financial security to your beneficiaries – your family, other people or organizations – after your death.

If you are not married and have not named a beneficiary, your estate is automatically your beneficiary   when you die.

If you are married or in a common-law relationship of more than two years, your spouse is automatically your beneficiary. However, your spouse can formally waive their rights to the pension benefit they would receive if you die.
 

If your spouse has given up their rights to both the minimum 60 per cent lifetime survivor's benefit and their beneficiary rights, you can name other people or organizations as your beneficiary. These can include a combination of:

  • People
  • Organizations (such as societies, charities, trusts or corporations)
  • Trusts

You can name one or more alternate beneficiaries for each beneficiary. This means that if a beneficiary dies before you, an alternate beneficiary or beneficiaries may receive your pension benefit when you die.

You can also name your estate as your beneficiary. If you do, your pension benefit will be paid to your estate and distributed as outlined in your will.

Sign in to My Account to view your current beneficiary information.


Preparing for retirement


One year before you retire

□ Use the Personal Pension Estimator in My Account to explore your pension options

□ Talk with an independent financial adviser to determine which pension option is best for you and your situation

□ Consider who you want to name as the primary beneficiary for your pension; if you are married or in a common-law relationship, your spouse is automatically your beneficiary

□ Consider who you want to name as alternate beneficiaries

□ Apply to transfer your service from another pension plan or buy service for an approved leave, if applicable (you must apply before you retire and there are deadlines for transferring or purchasing service)

□ Submit documents to the WorkSafeBC Pension Plan to confirm your age and identity and, if applicable, your spouse’s age and identity

□ If you have not yet informed the plan that you are married or in a common-law relationship, update your information in My Account

□ If you are separated from a former spouse and they have a claim to a portion of your pension, submit the separation agreement or court order to the plan so we know how to divide your pension benefit

□ If you will be age 60 or older when you retire, contact the federal government for information on the Canada Pension Plan

□ If you will be age 65 or older when you retire, contact the federal government for information on old age security benefits

90 days before your pension-effective date

Once you’re within 90 days of your pension-effective date (the earliest you can submit your application), apply for your pension online by signing in to My Account or by completing a retirement application package.


  Print