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Pension Info for New Employees

Planning for your future

This information is intended to provide a very general overview of the Dalhousie University employee pension plan to new employees. It does not cover all features of the plan. Please refer to the pension plan summary or full pension plan  [PDF-190kb] for additional information.

Pension Plan overview

The Dalhousie University employee pension plan is registered under the Income Tax Act (federally) and the Nova Scotia Pension Benefits Act (provincially). The registration number is 0242297.

Our plan is a defined benefit pension plan. This means the pension that you receive from the plan will be determined by a formula and not directly related to the amount of contributions that you make.

Calculating your pension

The benefit formula is:

The average of your best three years of earnings
x
years of service in the Plan
x
2%

For example, if at retirement your best three years’ earnings averaged $50,000 and you had contributed to the Plan for 25 years, you would be entitled to a pension of:

$50,000 x 25 years x 2% = $25,000 per year

Currently you contribute 4.65% of your earnings up to $5,000 plus 6.15% of earnings above $5,000 to the pension plan.   

The pension plan provides full, unreduced pensions as early as the first of the month after you reach age 65. Early retirement pensions are available as early as the first day of the month after age 55; however, an early retirement reduction will be applied.

Eligibility requirements

You will be enrolled automatically if:

  • You have a full-time position expected to continue for one year or longer.
  • You move from a regular part-time position to a full-time position, and you were not previously in the pension plan.
  • You have a regular part-time position after 5 years of continuous employment and were not enrolled in the plan when hired.

You have the option to join the plan if:

  • You have a regular part-time position expected to continue for one year or longer.
  • You do not have a regular position, part-time or full-time, but have two consecutive calendar years of employment with either:
    • earnings greater than 35% of the Years Maximum Pensionable Earnings “YMPE” for Canada Pension Plan purposes (earnings of $16,520 for 2010), or
    • at least 700 hours of employment.

Enrollment date

Provided that you meet the pension plan eligibility requirements, you will be enrolled in the pension plan on the first day of your first full month of employment.  For example, if your first day of employment is January 15, you will be enrolled in the plan effective February 1.

Termination of employment benefits and vesting

After two years of continuous service you will be entitled to receive a retirement pension from the plan. If you terminate employment; the following benefit provisions will apply:

Termination prior to one year of service: You will receive a refund of your contributions plus interest.
 
Termination after one year but before two years of service: You will receive a refund of your contributions plus interest plus a portion of the contributions remitted on your behalf by the University. 

Termination after 2 years of service: You may transfer your benefits to a locked-in retirement account (LIRA) or to the pension plan of another employer, if the new plan will accept the funds. As you are now entitled to a pension from the plan, a refund of benefits is no longer available (there is an exception for “small” pension amounts).

The amount available for transfer consists of the greater of:

1.    The commuted (present) value of your pension, or

2.    Twice your contributions plus interest

Transfers from former employer pension plans

The Dalhousie University employee pension plan will accept transfers of pensionable service credited under pension plans of former employers. Service may be credited under a Reciprocal Transfer Agreement that the university has entered into with another employer or under the Portability rules of the plan in respect of benefits with other employers not covered under a Reciprocal Transfer Agreement.

Reciprocal transfer agreements

The university currently has transfer agreements with the Province of Nova Scotia Superannuation Plan and the University of Kings College. If you have enrolled in the Dalhousie Pension Plan and have worked with one of these institutions immediately prior to your Dalhousie employment, you may apply to receive a quote (certain restrictions may apply depending on the specific terms of the agreement). By completing an application form  [PDF-23kb], you will be provided with a quote indicating the amount of service that may be credited under the Dalhousie plan should you choose to have pension benefits transferred from your prior employer.

Portability

If you have membership in a prior Canadian employer’s registered pension plan you may be able to transfer these benefits to the Dalhousie pension plan. You have one year from your date of enrollment in the pension plan to apply for a portability quote.  By completing an application form  [PDF-23KB], you will be provided with a quote indicating the amount of service that may be credited under the Dalhousie plan should you choose to have pension benefits transferred from your prior employer.

Reinstatement of prior Dalhousie pensionable service

If you are returning to the university and had transferred or received a refund of pension benefits from a prior period of service, you may be able to combine this service with your current benefits. You have one year from your date of enrollment in the pension plan to apply for a reinstatement quote. By completing an application form [PDF-25KB], your prior employment history will be reviewed and if sufficient information is available you will be provided with a quote indicating the amount of service that may be reinstated under the Dalhousie plan.

Annual Pension statements

The pension plan year is July 1 to June 30. An annual statement of your pension benefits is prepared shortly after the June 30 year end.

Income tax

Your contributions to the pension plan are tax-deductible. A Pension Adjustment (PA) will be reported on your T4 to report the level of benefits provided to you under the pension plan. The PA will reduce the amount that you may contribute to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP).

For more information

If you have additional questions concerning the Dalhousie University employee pension plan, please contact Human Resources at 494-1122 or pensions@dal.ca.