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A Message from the Pension and Benefits Board

We want to update you on two main events that impacted the pension plan within the past several months. First, for the second year in a row, plan investments had a very strong performance, and secondly, we received a response from the Ontario Ministry of Finance regarding our request for solvency funding relief.

Pension Plan Update

The value of the pension plan increased from $208 million at December 31, 2013 to $227 million at December 31, 2014, an increase of $19 million. This is good news for the pension plan. However, the plan’s funding position was also dramatically affected by the recent drop in interest rates by the Government of Canada. Investment gains have since fallen as the long term bond yield reached an all-time low in January 2015.

As of December 31, 2014, net assets were $227 million, a $19 million increase over 2013. Investments generated a 9.9% return (net of expenses) for the year, exceeding its long-term funding requirement of 6.35%.

Ministry of Finance Update

The Pension and Benefits Board reported to the 140th General Assembly that the Church made a request to the Ontario Ministry of Finance asking for relief from funding additional payments that were to become due in 2014. Representatives from the church and the plan actuaries met with the Ministry over the course of the past two years.

Last month, the Pension and Benefits Board was disappointed to learn that the Ontario Ministry of Finance would not grant the church’s request for special funding relief. Relief has been granted to another denomination.

The Pension and Benefits Board continues to closely monitor the pension plan. A more detailed report, the latest Actuarial Valuation and next steps may be found in the report to the General Assembly.

stop - iconPlanning to Retire? …Retirement Process

Planning your retirement is an important step. Knowing how to apply for pension benefits may help make your planning easier. There are three basic steps:

  1. Contact the Pension and Benefits Office approximately four to six months before you plan to retire and inform us of your intended date of retirement. This is the directive we need to review your member records and prepare a pension calculation—all information is held in confidence.
  2. We will provide you with a Retirement Package that applies specifically to you and includes a number of forms that are required to process your pension.
  3. Return your completed forms and documents within 30 days. When everything is ready, we’ll send you a confirmation letter stating that your pension will be deposited into your bank account on the first business day of the month in which your pension begins.

Retirement Package

There are a number of forms and documents required to process your pension: An Application for Retirement Pension – Certification of Presbytery form is sent to clergy members (as listed on the roll of Presbytery) and an Application for Retirement Pension form is sent to

  1. An Application for Retirement Pension – Certification of Presbytery Form is sent to clergy members (as listed on the roll of presbytery) and an Application for Retirement Pension Form is sent to non-clergy members of the pension plan. These forms will confirm your intention to retire.
  2. We will provide you with a Retirement Calculation and Option Election Form—this form is a personalized statement of how your pension is calculated. It has information related to your pension and payment options to choose a pension that is right for you.
  3. Federal and provincial tax forms are required for income tax purposes.
  4. We’ll request banking documentation for the processing of direct deposits.
  5. If we don’t already have them in your pension records, we will require proof of age for you and your eligible spouse (if applicable).
  6. If you qualify, we will include application forms for the Retiree Health and Dental Plan and the Retiree Group Life Insurance Plan. You have a one-time opportunity at your date of retirement to continue in these plans.


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Still Have Questions?

Question: At what age can I retire?

Answer: The normal retirement age for members of the Presbyterian Church in Canada Pension Plan is age 65. You may retire with a reduced pension any time after you reach age 55.

Question: What if I’m not ready to retire by age 65?

Answer: You may postpone retirement beyond age 65. There is no mandatory age of retirement. However, the income tax act requires that you start your pension, including the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) by December in the year you reach age 71.

Question: Can I receive my pension and continue to work?

Answer: In order to receive a PCC pension you must retire. Retirement means that you are withdrawing from pensionable service, no longer making contributions to the pension plan, and drawing pension benefits from the pension plan.

That being said, it is very common for a retired member to return to work in some capacity. Working after retirement does not impact your pension and member contributions are not required.

Question: How should I prepare for my retirement?

Answer:

  • Take some time to review your Annual Pension Statement. This statement is sent to you each May and provides you with the most up-to-date estimate of what you can expect to receive in pension benefits. It is also a way of verifying the details of how your pension is calculated and is your opportunity to notify us of a change to your personal information that may affect your pension benefits.
  • Consider whether there is any outstanding vacation time to be included before deciding on a date of retirement. Earned vacation is considered pensionable service and may be included in calculating your pension benefit.
  • Notify your employer of your intended date of retirement. When to notify your presbytery and your congregation/employer is an individual decision.

We’re here to help guide you through the process. Contact the Pension and Benefits office if you have further questions.

thumbs up - icon2014–2015 Pension and Benefits Board Members

Mr. Thomas Fischer, Convener, Toronto, ON
The Rev. Cameron Bigelow, Orillia, ON
The Rev. Peter Bush, Winnipeg, MB
Mr. Woon Yong Chung, Toronto, ON
Mr. Eugene Craig, Woodstock, NB
Mr. Timothy Herron, Convener, Trustee Board, Thornhill, ON
Ms. Ann Hysert, Merrickville, ON
The Rev. Dr. Laurence Mawhinney, Lunenburg, NS
The Rev. Katharine Michie, Prince George, BC
Mr. Stephen Roche, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer
Mr. Bruce Templeton, Outer Cove, NL

The Pension and Benefits Board meets biannually each March and October. The board is scheduled to meet next on October 26 and 27, 2015. If you have questions or concerns regarding the pension plan or group benefit plan, you may contact the board: Pension and Benefits Board 50 Wynford Drive, Toronto, ON M3C 1J7 pension [at] presbyterian [dot] ca

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Immediate Vesting for Alberta Members

A change in pension legislation in the province of Alberta effective September 1, 2014, established that all new active members from the province of Alberta are immediately vested upon joining the plan. The plan constitution has been amended to reflect this change.

Vesting is a status whereby a member becomes irrevocably entitled to benefits under the plan and immediate vesting means that new members are no longer required to reach two years of membership before they are entitled to the pension they have earned.

Annual Pension and Group Benefits Statements

The 2014 Annual Pension and Group Benefits Statements are scheduled to be distributed in early May to actively working members of the Pension Plan and Group Benefits Plan.

The Annual Pension Statement provides key information on your 2014 earned pension with the Presbyterian Church in Canada Pension Plan. It also provides a progress report on pension plan finances.

About this Newsletter

This newsletter provides summary information about The Presbyterian Church in Canada’s pension and benefits plans. It is not intended to be complete or comprehensive, or to provide legal or medical advice. If there are any discrepancies between this bulletin and the wording in the legal documents that govern the plans, the legal documents will apply in all cases.

For more information, contact Pension and Benefits by email or call 416-441-1111 or 1-800-619-7301 ext. 287.

Looking for more information about your pension and benefit plans?

Visit the Pension and Benefits web page for forms, newsletters, booklets, worksheets and latest news.

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