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May 10, 2022

Benefits Canada: A look at the Pension Plan of The United Church of Canada's efforts to be a good shepherd of capital

Derek Hurst, Pension Fund Manager, was interviewed by Benefits Canada about The United Church of Canada Pension Plan.

“Our governance structure is quite robust. I report to an 11-person investment committee which reports to a 11-person pension board,” says Hurst, who’s been overseeing the decisions of the $1.6 billion defined benefit plan since 2015. “Additionally, there’s an advisory committee with eight volunteers. The calibre of these volunteers is very high — it’s incredible to me that we get people so interested in helping the plan.”

Read the full article by Gideon Scanlon here.

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May 9, 2022

New Pension Board Chair

At its meeting on April 30, 2022, the Executive of the General Council approved the appointment of Anne Soh, FSA, FCIA as the next chair of the Pension Board. Anne served on the Pension Plan Advisory Committee since 2011, assuming the chair from November 2013 to December 2020. Anne was then appointed to the Pension Board.

Anne Soh is Vice President and Plan Actuary at the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS). An executive with over 30 years of experience in the pension and benefits industry, Anne advises the OMERS boards of directors on plan funding and sustainability matters, and oversees the in-house actuarial department. Anne also serves on the Board of Directors and the Finance and Audit Committee of Canada’s National Ballet School. Anne is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries and has an Hons. Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Western Ontario. She is also a graduate of the ICD – Rotman Director Education Program.

Anne’s term as Pension Board chair will begin after the June 2022 meeting of the Board where Marcus Robertson, FSA, FCIA will complete his third and final term as chair. The General Council Executive wishes to thank Marcus for his nine years of diligent leadership.

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May 5, 2022

Diversity and Inclusion Shareholder Win!

Constellation Software Shareholder Proposal Approved

(Toronto) The Pension Plan of The United Church of Canada filed a shareholder proposal with Constellation Software urging the company to improve their DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) practices.  The proposal requested the preparation of a report on the company’s plans to identify, address, mitigate, and dismantle racial disparities within its workforce.  Despite the Board of Constellation Software recommending that shareholders vote against the resolution, shareholders approved it!

The United Church of Canada Pension Plan is very proud of this outcome.  In concert with SHARE, we will follow up with the company in the coming months to ensure it issues a report and to review its content and goals.  Marcus Robertson, Chair of the Pension Board commented, “This is great news, and demonstrates the effectiveness of ongoing engagement on diversity and inclusion issues with invested companies.”

SHARE commented, “We are pleased that a majority of Constellation Software Inc. shareholders have voted to adopt our shareholder proposal, filed on behalf of The United Church of Canada Pension Plan to undertake a thorough review of racial equity at the company and report publicly to investors on findings. This is a crucial step for the company, which has previously taken very limited measures to address diversity, equity and inclusion. The majority vote from shareholders sends a strong signal to Canadian issuers about the growing expectations of institutional investors on racial equity. The company announced that the proposal had passed during the AGM.”

For information, Constellation Software is a leading provider of software and services to a select group of public and private sector markets. They acquire, manage and build industry specific software businesses which provide specialized, mission-critical software solution.  The Pension Plan’s current investment in the company is $2 million, and market value of the company is approximately $42 billion.

SHARE's full press release can be found here.

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March 1, 2022

Pension Increase Effective January 1, 2022

Good news! As announced in a recent letter from Pension Board Chair, Marcus Robertson, pension plan members will receive a pension increase effective January 1, 2022.

Pensioners and Deferred Members
Current pensioners and deferred members will receive a 4 percent* increase to their pension amount effective January 1, 2022.

* The Income Tax Act and regulations limit pension increases to the cumulative growth in Consumer Price Index since the pension commenced. For this reason, recently retired pensioners and deferred members who terminated employment recently will see a lesser increase.

Active Members
For active members, the accrual rate will increase to 1.85 percent in 2022 from the base rate of 1.4 percent. In 2023 the accrual rate is scheduled to return to 1.4 percent.

What Does “Accrual Rate” Mean?
The accrual rate is the rate at which you earn your pension. In 2019, you earn your pension at the rate of 1.4 percent of your pensionable earnings.

How Does This Work?
You earn a piece of pension every year that you work and contribute to the plan—like building blocks.

For example, let’s assume that a member’s pensionable earnings stayed constant at $60,000 every year, (for easy figuring). From 2019 to 2023, that member would earn

Year

Accrual Rate Formula

Pension Credit Earned

2019

1.4% 1.4% of $60,000 $   840

2020

1.85% 1.85% of $60,000 $  1,110

2021

1.625% 1.625% of $60,000

$    975

2022 1.85% 1.85% of $60,000

$  1,110

2023 1.4% 1.4% of $60,000

$   840

At the end of your career, the annual pension amounts earned each year will add up to the total annual pension you will receive every year for the rest of your life. So, the higher amount earned in 2022 will continue to benefit you for the rest of your retired life.

What about Future Increases?
There will be no automatic indexing or increase going forward. The Pension Board and Pension Plan Advisory Committee annually assess the resources available and determine whether there are surplus funds that can be used to increase benefits.

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February 3, 2022

Pension Information Seminar

The United Church of Canada provides a Defined Benefit Pension Plan for all employees who work more than 14 hours a week. Join us for this 90 minute program held by Shenagh Rosa, Manager for Pension Compliance and Communication, on February 14, 2022 at 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. ET to learn about how the plan works, what it costs, what it provides, and how to apply for your pension when your are ready.

This seminar will cover:

  • what a “defined benefit plan” is
  • how costs and benefits are determined
  • other ways that you might plan for retirement, including personal savings, government benefits, and coordination with other pension or benefits plans you may have access to
  • options to consider as you prepare to retire.

All Members of the plan will find this information useful, but we particularly recommend it for

  • People who are new to the plan (i.e. those who are recently hired)
  • Members or their family members who are in the midst of a significant life change (birth, marriage, divorce, death, job change)
  • People who are planning for retirement
  • Members of Ministry & Personnel Committees or congregational Boards/Councils
  • Church Treasurers
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Learn more at United in Learning

Register for February 14, 2022

November 3, 2021

Canadian Investor Statement on Climate Change

The United Church of Canada Pension Plan joined 34 other institutional investors to sign a Canadian Investor Statement on Climate Change. Collectively, these investors manage more than $5.2 trillion in assets.

Coordinated by the Responsible Investment Association (RIA), the Statement also makes clear the actions major Canadian investors will take to advance the global pursuit of net zero ahead of the most important climate gathering in history – COP26. This includes disclosing their financed emissions and setting an expectation that their investees will establish emissions targets and report on their progress.

Marcus Robertson, Chair of the Pension Board, said, “The Pension Plan has endorsed the Canadian Investor Statement on Climate Change as part of the Plan’s journey to net zero. The Plan has made strides through its engagement efforts, but this significant commitment to net zero by 2050 will require changes to the Plan’s investment strategy, as long-term goals are established, portfolios are adjusted and progress towards those goals is measured.”

RIA worked closely with the Reconciliation and Responsible Investment Initiative (RRII) in the development of the Statement to ensure Indigenous perspectives are incorporated into the Statement. “Despite Indigenous Peoples often being the first and most affected by the climate crisis, Indigenous perspectives and voices are often left out of investors’ decision-making on climate action,” says Mark Sevestre, Founding Member of NATOA. “This raises the stakes of the transition to a low carbon economy for Indigenous Peoples. For the transition to be just in Canada, Indigenous Peoples’ rights and perspectives need to be centred and prioritized.”

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August 20, 2021

Pension Information Seminar

The United Church of Canada provides a Defined Benefit Pension Plan for all employees who work more than 14 hours a week. Join us for this 90 minute program held by Shenagh Rosa, Manager for Pension Compliance and Communication, on September 20, 2021 at 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. ET to learn about how the plan works, what it costs, what it provides, and how to apply for your pension when your are ready.

This seminar will cover:

  • what a “defined benefit plan” is
  • how costs and benefits are determined
  • other ways that you might plan for retirement, including personal savings, government benefits, and coordination with other pension or benefits plans you may have access to
  • options to consider as you prepare to retire.

All Members of the plan will find this information useful, but we particularly recommend it for

  • People who are new to the plan (i.e. those who are recently hired)
  • Members or their family members who are in the midst of a significant life change (birth, marriage, divorce, death, job change)
  • People who are planning for retirement
  • Members of Ministry & Personnel Committees or congregational Boards/Councils
  • Church Treasurers

Learn more this Pension Information Seminar at the United in Learning website.

Click here to register for September 20, 2021

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March 26, 2021

Pension Information Seminar

Click here to view the recording of the March Pension Information Seminar 2021 presented by Shenagh Rosa.

Learn how your pension plan works, other ways to save for retirement and how to apply for your pension.

For more distance learning opportunities visit United in Learning.

 

February 19, 2021

Pension Improvements as of January 1, 2021

Active Member Accrual Rate set at 1.625% for 2021

The Pension Board is pleased to announce that the accrual rate for active plan members will be 1.625% in 2021.  There will be no change to contribution rates. The accrual rate, which was set to return to 1.4% in 2021, will return to 1.4% in 2022.

Pension Increase to Retired and Deferred Plan Members Effective January 1, 2021

The Pension Board is pleased to announce that current pensioners. survivors and deferred members will receive a 2%* increase to their monthly pension benefit effective January 1, 2021.  If you are receiving a pension, the increase will be added to your April 2021 pension payment, retroactive to January 1, 2021.  If you are a deferred member, (that is, you terminated employment but left your entitlement in the Plan), the increase will be calculated and shown on your 2021 pension statement, which you will receive in June 2022.

* The Income Tax Act and regulations limit pension increases to the cumulative growth in CPI since the pension commenced. For this reason, recently retired pensioners and deferred members who terminated employment recently will see a lesser increase.

These improvements are possible because of adequate funding levels at the end of 2020, according to requirements set out in the Funding Policy.

 

Pension Information Seminar

Join us for the next Pension Information Seminar on March 9, 2021.  Learn how your pension plan works, other ways to save for retirement and how to apply for your pension.  Click here To register.

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January 21, 2021

Government Pension & Benefits statistics 2021

Learn more about the Government of Canada Pension & Benefits statistics for 2021. 

Please note that this Government of Canada Pension & Benefits summary is for information purposes only but provides details of key minimum and maximum values from government sources in one central resource that supports payroll. 

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