Pension Plan Membership Increases by 1.2.%

By Andrew Rickard | September 02 2014 10:07AM

Data released by Statistics Canada shows that 6,185,000 people were members of registered pension plans (RPPs) in 2012, an increase of 70,300 or 1.2% over the previous year. The trend away from defined benefit to defined contribution or hybrid plans continues.

On August 28th Statistics Canada’s The Daily report highlighted information collected in its most recent Pension Plans in Canada Survey, which shows the state of pension plans as of January 1, 2013. The survey revealed that membership in public sector pension plans increased slightly in 2012, up 0.6% to 3,179,300, while membership in private sector plans increased 1.7% to 3,005,700. Statistics Canada notes that 51.4% of all the people who have pensions work in the public sector.

Membership in defined benefit (DB) pension plans fell by 1.2% in 2012 compared to 2011. DB plans accounted for 71.5% of employees with an RPP in 2012, down from more than 84% a decade earlier. On the other hand, the number of people in defined contribution (DC) pension plans increased by 27,000 to 1,030,300, a gain of 2.7%. DC plans only accounted for 16.7% of all RPP membership, and almost 86% of DC plan members work in the private sector. Hybrid and composite pension plans also continue to gain in popularity, with more than 731,800 plan members in 2012. This is an increase of 15.5% over the previous year.

"In 2012, total employer and employee contributions to RPPs reached a record $62.1 billion. Employer contributions for unfunded liabilities accounted for $12.9 billion of the total in 2012, up from $11.7 billion in 2011," concludes Statistics Canada. "When payments for unfunded liabilities are excluded, employers contributed 62% of the total, while employee contributions accounted for the remaining 38%. The market value of assets in RPPs totalled $1.4 trillion in 2012, up 8.8% from the previous year."