Spring 2017

Message from the Pension and Benefits Board

board meeting room with long table and whiteboardThe Pension Board met in the spring to discuss the financial position of the plan and to meet with our actuaries. The going concern funded status of the plan continued to improve over the last year, however, due to low discount rates the solvency (wind-up) position of the plan remains our primary challenge and the Church continues to be required to make special payments to the pension fund. While the solvency position of the plan has improved over the last year – the solvency ratio is up from 78.1% in December 2015 to 83.5% in December 2016 – it is still below the 85% threshold set by the Ontario Government that would defer valuations for up to three years and provide greater certainty regarding the contribution requirements going forward. Our next valuation will be filed this year.

The Board decided that in light of the upcoming valuation to make a special appeal to congregations to pay any outstanding pension balances and to ensure that first quarter contributions were paid on time.

The response to this request was overwhelmingly positive. Many congregations from across the country answered the Board’s request and sent in their first quarter payments. Still more paid their pension contributions beyond the first quarter, sending funds to cover additional months, up to the full year’s worth of contributions in many instances.

One congregation in particular responded with a very generous gift. The University Community Presbyterian Church in Windsor, Ontario sent $45,000 to be applied to the  pension fund. 

The speed with which congregations answered this request and the spirit of generosity that moved so many to pay beyond what was asked is truly a blessing. The Board extends its sincere thanks.

Special Committee Re Pension Solvency Funding Update

As reported in the Fall edition of Window, the Church has been in contact with the Ministry of Finance both in direct response to the consultation paper they issued last summer and also to request solvency funding exemptions.

A follow-up paper was originally expected to be released from the Ministry early in 2017 as an answer to the stakeholder responses to their consultation paper of 2016. As of the date of this newsletter, no new regulatory information has been released by the Ministry. Without suitable solvency funding reform prior to filing the next actuarial valuation, the Church must continue to make special payments to the pension fund.

General Assembly Lunch & Learn with Pension Benefits

The Pension and Benefits Board will once again be hosting a Lunch & Learn at General Assembly in June. This is an opportunity for members and commissioners to bring their questions, comments, or concerns directly to board members and Pension & Benefits Office staff. Please keep an eye on our website for the date, time, and location of this event. We hope to see you there!

Employee Benefits Package document on an office desk

Group Benefits Review – Update

For the past year the Pension and Benefits Board has been conducting a detailed review of the Group Benefits Plan (Health & Dental benefits and Group Life Insurance). The purpose of the review is to ensure that the plan can meet the current needs of the Church and its members and be sustainable and affordable for congregations and retired members long term.

This is a complicated process as it must take into account not only the current cost and scope of coverage, but also the long term sustainability of the current plan as costs and membership demographics change.

This review is planned to continue through the fall and winter of 2017.

Health and Dental Benefits Overview

In the survey sent out this autumn, respondents overwhelmingly indicated that they wanted to know more about the details of their health and dental coverage.

In response to this feedback we’ve put together the following tables, outlining coverage for vision, dental, and various paramedical services. This is not an extensive list of coverage – please review your plan booklet or log into mysunlife.ca for full details of coverage, including limits, and exceptions.

Massage Therapist (Doctor’s note required) – $300
Chiropractor – $500
Naturopath – $500
Occupational Therapist – $500
Physiotherapy – $500
Registered Dietician– $500
Osteopath – $500
Psychologist or Social Worker – $300
Speech Therapist (Doctor’s note required) – $300
Hearing Aid (Purchase and repair) – $250 over two benefit years

Ophthalmologist and/or Optometrist – $50 over two benefit years, shared expenses

Prescription Glasses and/or Contact Lenses –  Members 18 and older: $100 over 24 month period, shared expense.
Members under 18: $100 over 12 month period, shared expense

Preventive dental procedures, Basic restorative, Endodontic, Periodontic, & Major restorative care –  $2000, shared between all dental care services & procedures


Annual coverage refers to, in most cases, our benefit year: January 1 to December 31. This means that coverage would be “renewed” moving from one benefit year to another. Some coverage, such as vision care, do not follow the benefit year, and instead coverage renews after a set amount time following the last claim. It is important to know these details when making health care decisions. Check your plan booklet, or log into mysunlife.ca to find full details regarding the above coverage as well as services not listed. Our office is always happy to help as well, and can be contacted by phone or email.

Top Three Features – mysunlife.ca

Our insurance provider, SunLife, has an extensive online platform. By logging on to mysunlife.ca you can find details of coverage (limits, deductible, remaining balance, etc.), easily submit claims online and even coordinate benefits if you have coverage elsewhere. We’ve picked our top three features from their online platform.

Getting Started
To get your account set up at mysunlife.ca you’ll need the contract number for our plan and your member ID. Our Contract number is 50380. Your member ID can be found on your drug card – it is the three letters and the three numbers following those letters. For example:

04 050380 0000ABC888 01

The member ID can also be found on the letter you received from our office confirming your enrolment. If you are having trouble finding your member ID, call our office and we will be happy to help.

1. Drug Look up
Being faced with a new course of treatment or prescription can be difficult, especially if you’re unsure of the costs of the treatment . With the drug look up feature you are able to look drugs up by name or DIN (Drug Identification Number) and can see what your coverage is for that particular medication. You’ll also be able to access important information including how that drug works, possible side effects and interactions, and more.
How To: Log in to mysunlife.ca. Click “my Coverage” and then “Drug Coverage” OR Select “Drug Coverage” from the “Take me to” drop down on your home page.

2. The Wellness Centre
This section is a little off the beaten track, but well worth a visit. It offers a helpful health quiz to identify health areas of improvement, and then actions to try implementing to improve your health. You can look up health conditions and drugs to keep yourself informed and it also links to your provincial coverage. This is a great tool for anyone hoping take a proactive role with their health.
How To: Log in to mysunlife.ca. Click “Wellness Centre” under the Health and Dental plan number.

3. Submitting Claims
What top three list is complete without the online claims feature?! Submitting claims online through mysunlife.ca is straightforward and simple. Once your direct deposit information is set up you are ready to go. Make sure that you have all the claim information in front of you when you start (name of provider, their complete information, breakdown of the costs, date of treatment, etc.). You can claim multiple treatments at once, saving you time. After you have received your payment from SunLife all the original supporting documents (receipts, invoices, etc.) must be saved for up to 12 months, as they may ask for it. It’s that easy!
How To: Log in to mysunlife.ca. From your home page, click “my claims.” From there select the type of claim you are submitting and move ahead to enter all the information.

Bonus Feature
There’s an app for that! SunLife offers a free app for iPhone and Android devices that lets you submit claims, look up coverage, access your drug or travel insurance cards right on your mobile device, and find paramedical providers in your area – just to name a few features. This one is definitely worth a visit to

This and That

Happy 90th!
Our Pension Plan turns 90 this year! In 1927, the 53rd General Assembly passed a motion to centralize all benevolent funds from the Aged and Infirmed Ministers’ Fund and the Widows’ and Orphans’ Fund to create a pension fund for retiring ministers. The Pension Fund Committee was established to manage the fund, which later became the Pension Board.

Member Survey
Our survey is still open and we would love to hear from you! What do you most want to see in these newsletters? Is there a question about your pension or benefits that you have been waiting to ask? Take the survey by following the URL below

Next Board Meeting
The next Pension and Benefits Board Meeting is scheduled for October 3-4, 2017

Pension and Benefits Board Webpage
Stay informed: visit the Pension and Benefits Board webpage for resources, newsletters, forms, board updates and information:

Auxiliary Health fees Banned in Quebec
Effective January 26, 2017, auxiliary fees previously charged during your visit at the doctor’s office are banned in Quebec.