Pensions and marital breakdowns: information for lawyers

Lawyers are often asked to advise clients about dividing a pension benefit between a plan member and a former spouse. Learn more about the information and documents we need to administer a pension following a relationship breakdown.

Estimate the value of the plan member’s pension

The WorkSafeBC Pension Plan is a defined benefit plan. This means pension benefits are calculated using a formula based on the member’s salary, their age at retirement and the number of years they were a plan member. The value of the pension benefit is not based on the contributions made to the plan.

If the plan member has not retired, you can use the following documents and tools to help you estimate the value of the plan member’s future pension benefit:

  • The Member’s benefit statement. This statement is mailed each fall to active members and can be viewed online at any time by signing in to My Account. The statement is a snapshot of the member’s pension, showing the member’s pensionable earnings, pensionable service and contributory service. It also shows up to four estimates of the lifetime monthly pension benefit the member may receive if they continue to work as they have over the past year and retire on one of the dates shown. This information can be used by an actuary to determine the value of the pension asset.
  • The personalized pension estimator, which can be accessed by the plan member by signing in to My Account. This tool uses the member’s personalized service and salary information to estimate the monthly pension benefit.
  • The Person Profile provides a complete history of the member’s participation in the pension plan, such as years of service and salary. It also identifies periods of purchased service and whether the plan member has participated in any other pension plans administered by BC Pension Corporation. The Person Profile does not show the commuted value amount of the pension, and plan member’s contributions with interest shown on this report do not represent the value of the pension.
  • Pension estimates provided by the plan to a member who has applied to retire.

Members who are no longer working at WorkSafeBC and have not yet reached their earliest retirement age will have received a Termination selection statement, which can be forwarded to legal counsel. This statement shows the commuted value amount as well as the deferred pension amount. The WorkSafeBC Pension Plan only calculates commuted values for members who have ended their employment at WorkSafeBC.

If the plan member has retired, they can request a copy of their Person Profile from BC Pension Corporation and then send it along to their actuary. The Person Profile will contain information on the member's salary and service history. You can find the monthly pension benefit amount on their retired member annual pension statement, which is mailed out in January each year. This statement shows the selected pension option, any named beneficiaries, the amount of the monthly pension and information about cost-of-living adjustments and bridge benefits, if applicable.