Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility
Retirement
Termination
Calculating my Pension
Death of a Spouse
Other

If you are an eligible employee working for a participating employer and you work an average of 14 or more hours per week, you must join the plan. There is no waiting period for ministry personnel. Lay employees are enrolled after completing three months of employment.

Once you join the plan, you will remain a contributing member even if you work fewer than 14 hours per week.

There is no mandatory retirement age. Under human rights legislation, age is a prohibited ground for discrimination.

Age 71
The Income Tax Act (Canada) and regulations require you to draw your pension by December of the year you turn 71. There is no need to cease employment.

If you are ministry personnel in a call or appointment in the year you turn 71, you may remain in that call or appointment with no change to the terms of employment. After your call or appointment ends, you can only accept an appointment going forward (The Manual, 2021).

Before Age 71
If you elect to take pension before age 71, you must have a break in employment of at least 13 weeks before you can return as a re-engaged pensioner (sometimes called a “retired supply” minister). There should also be a substantive change to your position: fewer hours, different duties etc. If you are ministry personnel, you must end your call/appointment to meet Income Tax Act requirements. After your call or appointment ends, you can only accept an appointment going forward (The Manual, 2021).

Please notify the Benefits Centre at 1-855-647-8222 or pension@united-church.ca. You will be asked to confirm the following:

  • Your date of birth
  • Your marital status, if you are married or have a common-law spouse, please provide name and date of birth of spouse
  • Your mailing address
  • Proposed retirement date

Once you are sure of your decision, if you are an Ordained , Diaconal or Designated Lay Minister, you will also need to complete Form PR443 located in the document library, to advise the Office of Vocation. Once completed please submit the form to pension@united-church.ca and officeofvocation@united-church.ca

Please allow 30 days from the date of request (confirmation of information above) for your retirement option package to be mailed.

Our usual timeline is to send out the retirement option package two months prior to your requested retirement date, allowing time to set up your pension. If information is missing or the volume of retirements is higher than average, staff will contact you.

If you terminate service with The United Church of Canada at or after age 55 and receive an immediate or deferred pension from the church, and you had group insurance coverage at termination, you are eligible to participate in the Group Benefits for Pensioners Plan once your pension payments commence. The appropriate forms will be included with your retirement package.

Once you start receiving a monthly pension, you may continue as an employee (in certain circumstances) but you can no longer contribute to the pension plan.

If you are a lay employee and you terminate service, Benefits Centre staff will send a pending status notice letter 30 days after the termination date. If you intend to look for work with another participating employer, you will be put on a 6-month leave in search of a position to allow you to seek other employment. If, during that leave period, you find employment with another participating employer, your pension participation will resume.

If you do not find employment with another participating employer or if you notify the Benefits Centre that you are not seeking employment with another participating employer, staff will initiate the termination process and will send you your termination option package. The turnaround time for these packages is approximately one month.

The plan is a career-average defined benefit pension plan. Each year, you earn a percentage of Pensionable Earnings (PE) as a Pension Credit. That percentage has changed periodically over the years, as follows:

  • 1.4% from 2013 to 2019,
  • 1.85% for 2020 (this is a temporary increase),
  • 1.625% for 2021 (this is a temporary increase), and
  • 1.4% for 2022 onward.

Each year’s pension credit is added to what has already been earned, forming the total amount of annual pension payable at age 65.

Please refer to your latest pension statement. Inside, under the heading “Your Future”, the first two amounts refer to the pension plan. Take “THE AMOUNT YOU HAVE EARNED ALREADY” and add it to “YOUR PROJECTED ANNUAL PENSION TO AGE 65”, to see an estimate of the annual pension you would receive from the Plan if you continue working under the same employment conditions until age 65.

Your net monthly pension can be impacted by a change in your benefit premiums or tax deductions.

You contribute 6% of your pensionable earnings, while your employer contributes 9% of your pensionable earnings.

You can request up to two (2) quotes per calendar year.

Please notify the Benefits Centre at pension@united-church.ca or 1-855-647-8222. Staff will:

  • Inform RBC to cease payments to the member going forward
  • Collect your information; and
  • Draft a letter to the spouse (if applicable) or to the executor of the estate, outlining any pension or life insurance entitlements or any overpayments.

The Income Tax Act limits the amount of contributions that can be made to a pension plan. Any contribution must be made in respect of a member’s credited service or as a “special payment” to fund an existing deficit.

If the Plan were to fall into a deficit position, the church might look to the proceeds from property sales to make up all or part of the deficit. However, those funds are disbursed by the community of faith and regional council, not the General Council. Therefore, the proceeds of sales are not actual assets of the General Council to allocate (other than property directly owned by the General Council)

You will need to complete a beneficiary form and return it to the Benefits Centre at pension@united-church.ca. Please visit the document library for a copy of the form.

If you are an active employee (currently working), all address changes must be submitted to ADP by your payroll administrator through the payroll update form found on The United Church of Canada website.

If you are a retired member receiving pension, please advise RBC as they process your pension payment and send you documentation for tax purposes.

All other members, please inform the Benefits Centre by email to pension@united-church.ca. Please note, the Benefits Centre will not be able to process requests for active employees or retired member’s receiving pension.

You can access the Pension Plan Summary online through the document library. You may also want to attend a Pension Information Webinar offered through United in Learning

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