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.
How does the plan work?
The plan will give you a lifetime pension when you retire.
You are entitled to a pension starting at the earliest retirement age of 55 or later, if you have made at least one contribution to the plan. If you ended your employment at WorkSafeBC before September 30, 2015, contact the plan.
Your pension is based on your pensionable service, age at retirement and the average of your five highest salary years.The maximum number of years of pensionable service allowed is 35 years. This means that if you have more than 35 years of pensionable service, you will no longer have to make contributions to the plan.
After your death, depending on the pension option you choose at retirement, the plan may continue to pay:
- Pension benefits to your spouse (if you have one) for their lifetime
- Pension benefits to another beneficiary or beneficiaries for a set period
- A lump-sum payment to your estate or an organization that you have named as your beneficiary
Your pension and your job
You are eligible to join the WorkSafeBC Pension Plan if you are a permanent full-time or part-time employee at WorkSafeBC.
If you are a temporary employee, you are also eligible to join the plan after you work two continuous years and if you earn a minimum of 35 per cent of the year’s maximum pensionable earnings.
You will continue to be an active member of the plan during your employment at WorkSafeBC, even if you take on a new position at the organization.When your employment ends at WorkSafeBC, you are no longer an active member of the WorkSafeBC Pension Plan. However, you can still continue to be a plan member as either an inactive or retired member.
You will need to decide what to do with your pension benefit. Your options will depend on:
- Your age
- Your contributory service
- If you are retiring
- If you begin working with a new employer, and that employer’s pension plan has a transfer agreement with WorkSafeBC Pension Plan
How much do I contribute?
As an active member, you contribute to your pension through automatic deductions from each paycheque.
The amount of these contributions depends on how much you earn and the year’s maximum pensionable earnings (YMPE). This is a salary limit set each year by the federal government to determine maximum annual contributions to the Canada Pension Plan.
Your contribution rates are:
- 6.5% of your salary up to and including the YMPE
- 8.0% of your salary above the YMPE
For example, in 2016, the YMPE was $54,900. If your annual salary was $60,000, your annual pension contribution in 2016 would be $3,976.50. This is calculated as follows:
6.5% x $54,900 = $3,568.50
8.0% x ($60,000-$54,900) = $408.00
As part of your contribution, one per cent of your salary is transferred to a fund called the inflation adjustment account (IAA). The IAA is used to help offset the effects of inflation.This means that the pension payments you receive may include cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) if sufficient funds are available in the IAA; however, COLAs are not guaranteed.
Your WorkSafeBC Pension Plan is a defined benefit pension plan. This means your lifetime pension is not based on your contributions to the plan or the investment performance of plan assets.
Instead, your pension is based on your years of pensionable service and the average of your highest five years of salary.
Will my contribution rates increase?
It is possible that your contribution rates may increase.
At least once every three years, an independent actuary (a specialist in financial modelling, the law of probability and risk management) assesses the financial position of the plan.
This assessment examines the plan’s ability to pay all current and future pensions. The assessment also reviews the current contribution rates to see if they are sufficient to fund the plan.
The last assessment was completed on March 31, 2014, showing a funding ratio of 124 per cent. This means the plan is in a healthy position. The next assessment is scheduled for March 31, 2017.
When can I retire?
The normal retirement age for plan members is 65, and the earliest you can retire is at age 55. The age at which you retire will affect your pension.
Your pension will be reduced if you retire before age 60 and you do not meet minimum age plus contributory service requirements.
As required by the Income Tax Act, you must apply for your pension no later than the end of the year you turn 71. This is the age you must begin to receive your pension, even if you are employed beyond age 71.
Looking for more detail? These links will help you