Number of pension plan members steadily increasing: OSFI

But DB plan participation declining
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 09/08/2011

The number of plan members covered by a registered pension plan (RPP) increased steadily from 5.3 million in 1999 to six million in 2009, an increase of 14 per cent over the last 10 years, according to a new fact sheet from the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OFSI).

Amongst the six million plan members covered by an RPP, three million were men and three million were women. The proportion of female members increased from 45 per cent in 1999 to 50 per cent in 2009. Female members increased from 2.4 million to three million, while male members increased from 2.9 million to three million over the last decade. Only two million female members were covered twenty years ago (in 1989), according to OSFI.

The number of RPP members as a percentage of the labour force declined slightly from 34 per cent in 1999 to 33 per cent in 2009.

The proportion of paid workers covered by an RPP declined from 41 per cent in 1999 to 39 per cent in 2009, a drop of two percentage points in the last 10 years. Although the number of RPP members has increased in the last 10 years (5.3 million in 1999 to six million in 2009), the number of paid workers has grown at a faster pace, which explains the decline in the proportion of paid workers with an RPP.

While the RPP coverage as a percentage of paid workers declined significantly for men, from 42 per cent in 1999 to 38 per cent in 2009, the coverage for women increased from 39 per cent to 40 per cent over the same period. As a proportion of paid workers, the coverage for women is now higher than the coverage for men since 2004.

The RPP coverage in the public sector decreased from 88 per cent to 86 per cent of public sector employees from 1999 to 2009, while the number of members increased from 2.4 to three million (2.9 million in 2008), said OSFI.

The RPP coverage in the private sector decreased from 28 per cent to 25 per cent of private sector employees from 1999 to 2009, while the number of members covered increased from 2.8 to 3.0 million (3.1 million in 2008).

In addition to the decline in RPP coverage, there has been a shift from defined benefit (DB) to defined contribution (DC) plans and other hybrid plans. Overall, the proportion of paid workers in DB plans has declined from 85 per cent to 75 per cent over the last 10 years, said OSFI.

While the reduction in DB coverage has been significant in the private sector (from 76 per cent to 56 per cent), it has not occurred in the public sector (stable at 94 per cent).

In the last ten years, there has been a trend to convert DB plans into plans that have both DB and DC components. As a result, the proportion of plan members in these types of plans has increased from two per cent to 16 per cent in the private sector, but remained stable at one per cent in the public sector.

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