What is the pension plan?
At Okanagan College, we have both the College Pension Plan and the Municipal Pension Plan, which are two of the five public sector plans that are administered by the BC Pension Corporation. As an eligible OC administrator or faculty member (both Faculty and Vocational), you may be required or elect to enrol in the College Pension Plan. As an eligible OC Support Staff member, you may be required or elect to enrol in the Municipal Pension Plan. Additional information about either of the pension plans is available at BC Pension Corporation.
How do I become a member?
Enrolment rules are specific to each pension plan. As an administrator or faculty member in a permanent position at OC, enrolment in the College Pension Plan is mandatory. As an administrator or faculty member in a non-permanent position at OC, enrolment in the College Pension Plan is optional; however, enrolment becomes mandatory once you have reached the minimum earnings threshold of 50% of the Year's Maximum Pensionable Earnings (YMPE). The YMPE is established by the Canada Pension Plan as the maximum amount upon which you pay CPP premiums. For 2011, the YMPE is $48,300.
What does the pension plan provide?
The pension plan provides a regular lifetime income for plan members who retire from work. To fund the plan, both you as a plan member and OC as your employer make regular contributions based on eligible earnings. Your pension plan is a "defined benefit plan" meaning that your pension benefit is based on how many years you make contributions to the plan and the average of your highest five years of salary (not necessarily your last five years).
How much does it cost me? Does OC also contribute to the plan on my behalf?
As a member of the College Pension Plan, you and Okanagan College contribute to the pension plan through payroll deductions. The deductions for you are based on 8.94% of your eligible earnings up to the annual YMPE (Years Maximum Pensionable Earnings), and then 9.69% of your salary above the YMPE. Okanagan College also contributes to the College Pension Plan on your behalf at a rate determined by the Pension Corporation each year calculated using the number of employees, their salaries, ages and occupations.
When can I retire?
Earliest retirement age for members of both pension plans is 55 years of age. Once a plan member becomes "vested", the pension plan will provide a lifetime income for plan members who retire from work. For members for the College Pension Plan, you are "vested" once you make your first contributions to the plan. For members of the Municipal Pension Plan, you are "vested" once you have accumulated two years of contributory service.
How can I determine what my pension will be when I retire?
Both the College and Municipal Pension plans offer tools that you can use to estimate your pension. These tools require you to transfer some information from your most recent Member's Benefit Statement, so you will need to have it available.
I receive a Member's Benefit Statement every year - what do I do with it?
The BC Pension corporation will send you a personalized Member’s Benefit Statement once a year while you are working and contributing to your pension plan. This annual statement will show, based on your salary and service to date, what you would receive in monthly pension payments if you retired at age 55 and what you would receive in monthly pension payments if you retired with an unreduced pension at age 65.
For plan members of the College Pension Plan (Administrators, Faculty and Vocational), your Member’s Benefit Statement is distributed annually near the end of February. For plan members of the Municipal Pension Plan (Support Staff), your Member’s Benefit Statement is distributed annually near the end of June.
Why do I receive a Pension Adjustment statement and what do I do with it?
You can buy RRSPs while you are contributing to the pension plan. However, since you are already contributing to a registered pension plan, which is also a tax-deferred retirement plan, your RRSP contribution limit is affected by the amount of the pension contributions made by you and on your behalf.
Where can I find more information regarding the retirement process?
For those plan members close to retirement age, both the College Pension Plan and the Municipal Pension Plan offer pre-retirement seminars from time-to-time at different locations throughout BC. A schedule of planned seminars and an application form are available on the pension website.