Appendix D: A Guide to Retirement Programs in Canada
This document was prepared by Morneau Shepell actuaries to provide an overview of employer-sponsored retirement programs in Canada. It focuses on group plans rather than individual plans and on plans that are registered—in other words, those that are tax-assisted and government-regulated.
Types of Retirement Programs
Retirement programs can be characterized by the type of benefits they provide. The main types are:
- Defined benefit (DB) plans: In a DB plan, the employer assumes most or all of the financial risk. The employer contributions are dependent on how well the pension fund investments perform, in addition to a variety of factors such as turnover, retirement patterns, and mortality.
- Capital accumulation plans (CAPs): In a CAP, the employee assumes the financial risk and the employer contributions are usually a stable percentage of pay.
Defined Benefit Plans
A DB plan provides a pension benefit that is defined in terms of the employee's length of service and/or earnings. If an employer were to adopt a DB plan today, it would probably be one of the three types described below.