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
years of service in the Plan
For example, if at retirement at age 65 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 regular contributions of 4.65% of your earnings up to $5,000 plus 6.15% of earnings above $5,000 to the pension plan, as well as supplementary contributions equal to 2% of your earnings. Both regular and supplementary contributions are mandatory.
Note: Years of service are limited to 35, and the total pension payable is subject to limits set by the Income Tax Act.
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.
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, or
- at least 700 hours of employment.
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
Your pension is subject to immediate vesting upon joining the plan. This means that you are entitled to a benefit from the Plan upon the termination of your employment, no matter how short a period of time you were in the Plan.
If you terminate employment 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 entitled to a pension from the plan, a refund of contributions is not normally available, but there is an exception for “small” pension amounts which may be cashed out.
The amount available for transfer consists of the greater of:
1. The commuted (present) value of your pension, or
2. Twice your regular 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 a transfer agreement with the Province of Nova Scotia Superannuation Plan. If you have enrolled in the Dalhousie Pension Plan and have worked with the Province 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 the Purchase of Past Service application form [login required, PDF-18.5KB], 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.
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 the Portability Arrangement Application form [login required, 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 a Purchase of Past Service application form [login required, PDF-18.5KB], 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.
Prior Dalhousie service not previously pensionable
If you are a member of the Dalhousie pension plan and have old service that was not considered pensionable previously, you can submit a completed Purchase of Past Service Application [login required, PDF-18.5KB] to have the service reviewed. If service is deemed eligible for purchase, a quote to purchase the service will be provided.
Annual Pension statements
The pension plan year is July 1 to June 30. An annual statement of your pension benefits is prepared and made available within 6 months of the year end.
Your contributions to the pension plan are tax-deductible. A Pension Adjustment (PA) will be reported on your T4 to report the value of benefits provided to you under the pension plan each year. 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 Retirement Services at 494-1782 or firstname.lastname@example.org.