PENSION FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The following are the most commonly asked questions by members regarding the Pension Plan.
If you still have questions after reading this information, please consult the Pension
Plan Booklet or contact
the Plan Administrator
What is the objective of the Plan?
The Plan is designed to provide monthly income for life to Plan Members who retire under the Plan.
Additionally, benefits are payable if you leave the Plan, become disabled or die prior to retirement.
Who is eligible for membership in the Plan?
All employees who are represented by either the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 400 or the Seafarers’ International Union of Canada, and who are employed by a signatory employer.
You will be eligible for membership on the first day of the month following completion of three months of service.
If I am eligible, do I HAVE to join?
How do I become vested in the Plan?
All employees will become vested after they have completed three months of continuous service with the Employer, and who are members of one of the Unions.
All benefits described in the plan are available to vested Plan members.
How much does my employer contribute to the Plan?
Your employer contributes fixed percentage of your basic monthly wage, as set out in your Collective Agreement.
Am I required to contribute to the current Plan?
May I make additional contributions to the Plan?
Yes, providing you are an active member in the Plan, the Plan will accept voluntary contributions from you. You will need to make sure that contributions to all your registered plans do not exceed the CRA annual limit, presently set at 18% of your total taxable income to the maximum limits allowed. You will be issued a tax receipt for these additional contributions.
Additional voluntary contributions may be made through your Employer by way of payroll deduction or through the Plan Administrator. These voluntary contributions are not locked into the Plan.
Do my contributions earn interest?
Yes. Interest is credited to your accounts at a rate equal to the rate the fund earns, less the costs of running the Plan.
When can I retire on pension?
You can retire at any time after your 55th birthday, assuming you have retired from active employment.
You must retire from the Plan before the end of the year in which you turn 71.
How much pension will I receive?
Retirement benefits are based upon the total contributions your Employer(s) makes to the
Plan, plus any voluntary funds and the total amount of interest earned on those contributions.
This total amount will be used to buy you a pension, in the form of an annuity, or a Life Income Fund (LIF) which will provide you with retirement income.
What happens to my pension if I stop working for a contributing employer?
You have a choice. You may:
a) leave your contributions in the Plan and receive a pension or transfer at any time prior to the end of the calendar
year in which you turn 71 (a "deferred pension"), or
b) transfer the accumulated value of your contributions to a locked-in RRSP or, under certain statutory conditions,
to another pension plan or to purchase a deferred life annuity or a LIF or LRIF.
Voluntary Funds can be transfered to a regular RRSP.
How long do I have to wait to access my pension funds?
You will be deemed to be terminated from the Plan when you have not worked for a contributing employer for 6 months.
What happens to my benefits if my marriage breaks down?
Where required by the B.C. Family Law Act, your benefit will be divided between you and your former spouse and your account balances will be adjusted accordingly.
There is an Administration Fee incurred for processing the division of pension.