Guide for plan members

College 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.

Your pension and your job

What happens if you start a new job with the same employer

If you change jobs with the same employer without a break in service, you will continue to be an active member of BC’s Public Service Pension Plan. Your contributions (and your employer’s contributions) will be adjusted to reflect any changes to your salary.

Your employer will advise you whether your participation in the plan is mandatory or optional if you changed jobs and had a break in your service. If you are eligible to opt out of the plan and choose to do so, you will need to sign a waiver. Being able to opt out of the pension plan would depend on how long the break in service is between leaving your old position and starting your new one.

What counts as leaving your job

If you leave your job, you will no longer be an active member of the plan and you will stop making pension contributions. In most cases, you are considered to have left your job when you permanently stop working for an employer that participates in the plan.

Some special cases:

  • You are not considered to have left your job if you have:
    • an agreement with a plan employer to return to work
    • an established right to resume working for a plan employer
  • You are considered to have left your job if you are on a seniority or recall list but have not worked for your employer or contributed to the plan for one full year

What happens if you take a new job with another plan employer

Each employer participating in the plan is considered a separate employer. When your job ends with your current employer, you will stop contributing to the plan. If you are eligible, you may be able to immediately re-enrol in the plan when you start your new job with a plan employer.

What happens if you leave your job with a plan employer

If you leave your job and are no longer working for an employer participating in the plan, you will need to decide what to do with your pension benefit.

Your options depend on:

  • Your age
  • If you are retiring
  • If your new employer's pension plan has a transfer agreement with the College Pension Plan

Your options could include:

  • Deferring your pension (leaving your money in the plan and taking a monthly pension when you retire)
  • Transferring the commuted value of your pension to a locked-in retirement vehicle
  • Applying for your pension
  • Transferring your service in the College Pension Plan to your new employer's pension plan

What happens if you want to retire

Contact your employer(s) in writing to arrange your last day of paid employment. If you are working for multiple employers in the same plan, you must terminate all employment under the College Pension Plan in order to start receiving your pension.

Depending on your age when you leave your job, we will send you either a Termination selection statement form or a pension estimate outlining your options.

What are the contributions?

Both you and your employer make contributions to BC's College Pension Plan.

Your contributions are automatically deducted from each paycheque. Your employer's contributions are paid directly to the plan. Both your contributions and your employer's contributions are based on a percentage of your salary. The following contribution rates have been in effect since April 1, 2019:

  • You contribute 10.24 per cent of your salary
  • Your employer contributes 10.34 per cent of your salary

These rates also include a contribution amount of 1.85 per cent from both you and your employer that is transferred to the inflation adjustment account. This account is used to pay for annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) that may be added to monthly pension benefits. COLAs are not guaranteed, but once granted, they become part of your basic pension benefit.

Contribution rates for Simon Fraser University (SFU) employees

If you are an SFU employee, you and SFU have unique contribution rates. The following contribution rates have been in effect since July 1, 2021:

  • You contribute 11.08 per cent of your salary
  • SFU contributes 11.18 per cent of your salary

These SFU employer and employee rates include 2.05 per cent to the inflation adjustment account.

When you stop contributing to the plan

Once you start contributing to the plan, you'll remain an active plan member until you leave your job or retire.

If you are on long-term disability, you do not make contributions to the plan; however, you will continue to earn contributory and pensionable service as though you had continued to work.

Will my contribution rate increase?

It is possible that the contribution rates may increase.

At least once every three years, an independent actuary (a specialist in financial modelling, probability theory and risk management) assesses the financial position of BC's College Pension Plan.

This assessment examines the plan's ability to pay all current and future pensions based on a series of economic and demographic assumptions (such as interest rates and life expectancy of members). It also reviews the current contribution rates to see if they are sufficient to fund the plan. Under the College Pension Plan Joint Trust Agreement, trustees may adjust contribution rates when needed to meet the plan's funding requirements.

If the actuary's assessment determines there is a funding shortfall, both your contribution rate and your employer's contribution rate may increase to meet the plan’s funding requirements. Contribution rate increases are shared equally by members and employers.

Employer rights and obligations

Each plan employer has certain rights and obligations to employees:

  • Provide complete, accurate and sufficient personal information and records required to administer the plan for all members
  • Collect your pension contributions and their employer contributions and provide them to us
  • Provide you with any information or records supplied by us or otherwise required by the Pension Benefits Standards Act
  • Enroll new employees or get a signed waiver for employees who have the option to waive enrolment
  • Pay for any costs or damages from not meeting commitments such as reporting information on time or accurately

Nothing in the plan affects the employer’s right to dismiss an individual.