Pensions 101

Straight talk on retirement and pensions

September 4, 2018

Let’s celebrate: College Pension Plan turns 50

Big news for College Pension Plan (plan) members: this month, your plan turns 50! That’s right; the plan was registered under the School District and Regional Colleges (Pensions) Act on September 1, 1968.

It’s come a long way since then. The plan started with just six employers: Capilano University, College of New Caledonia, Malaspina University College (now Vancouver Island University), Okanagan University College (now Okanagan College), Selkirk College and Vancouver Community College. It now serves 23 colleges and universities across the province (including the original six). 

A look through past annual reports reveals how the plan has grown and developed over the years. In 1968, the plan started with 302 active members; in 2017, it had 13,639. During this time, there was also a big increase in the number of women in the plan. In 1968, only 17 per cent of members were women; in 2017, that number rose to 56 per cent.

In its first year, the plan offered an estimated annual pension of $2,880. For plan members who retired in 2017, the average pension was $20,653 per year. To help members keep pace with inflation, the plan introduced cost-of-living supplementary allowances in 1975, followed by cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) in 1980. While not guaranteed, COLAs help maintain the purchasing power of your pension by increasing your monthly payment. Once a COLA is granted, it becomes part of your basic pension.

It hasn’t all been easy, though. Back in 1978, there were 75 active members for every retiree; by 2017, that ratio had declined to just 1.8:1. When the boomers started retiring in greater numbers, the plan had to adjust. Thanks to the careful guidance of the College Pension Board of Trustees and its investment management agent, British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI), the plan has adapted and kept pace over the years. By adjusting itself for demographic change and managing its investments for long-term sustainability, the plan remains strong, healthy and well-positioned for the future.

Even with all the changes we’ve seen over the past 50 years, some things have stayed the same. Then as now, the plan remains committed to helping colleges and universities provide a solid retirement option for their employees and helping members—both active and retired—look to their retirement with confidence and security. 

As we recognize our shared achievements over half a century, we look forward to a bright future of preserving plan value, maintaining sustainability and helping you make the most of your retirement years. Here’s to the next 50 years and beyond! 


The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the College Pension Board of Trustees.

Related content for College 50th

Celebrating 50 years

Facts about the plan