Pension plans see slower gains in Canada

Statistics Canada survey shows membership flattening

After several years of growth, membership in Canada’s 15,130 active registered pension plans (RPP) remained about the same in 2005, according to newly released data by Statistics Canada.

At the beginning of 2006, active RPPs covered less than 5.7 million members, an increase of only 0.4 per cent or 20,000 from the year before.

“This pace was substantially slower than the annual rates recorded since the turn of the millennium,” said a release.

On the other hand, the Survey of Pension Plans in Canada found more women in the paid workforce are covered by RPPs, accounting for the net increase in total membership. The number of women rose by 0.7 per cent to more than 2.71 million while men remained unchanged at 2.98 million. In 2000, men accounted for 55.1 per cent of members and women 44.9 per cent but, six years later, the men had declined to 52.3 per cent while women rose to 47.7 per cent.

The public sector added 37,000 members in 2005 for a total of 2.7 million or an increase of 1.4 per cent from 2004. But private-sector members fell by 0.5 per cent to 3.0 million, the first decline since 2001.

The proportion of paid workers with an RPP continued to decline in 2005, falling half a percentage point to 38.5 per cent.
“Despite favourable labour market conditions, RPP membership grew at a slower pace than employment,” said the release.

The vast majority of RPP members belong to defined-benefit plans (about 4.6 million workers or 80 per cent of overall membership, a level that has grown by only 30,700 since 2000). Defined-contribution plans had 893,400 members, up 0.9 per cent from the previous year to a total of 15.7 per cent of total membership.

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