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This week we are proud to publish our 2021 annual “Highlights for Members” report. The report includes an overview of WISE Trust’s yearly performance for current, retired and deferred members.

As of December 31, 2021, the plan was 100% funded with $4.2 billion in net assets. In 2021, we also selected a new Strategic Asset Allocation for implementation starting in 2022 to support our investment objectives in the coming years.  

Key Highlights from 2021

Data as of December 31, 2021  

$4.2B net assets  

100% funded ratio 

$88M employer contributions  

$30M member contributions  

6 participating employers  

2021 investment performance (gross of investment costs) 

11.8% 1-year return (11.2% net return)  

9.7% 3-year return  

7.7% 5-year return  

Plan membership 

5,053 active members  

4,259 retirees and beneficiaries  

765 deferred members  

10,077 total members  

 

“We spent a good part of 2021 reviewing our investments and potential funding outcomes. This has been particularly important as the global economy continues to be impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in unpredictable market behaviour and uncertain returns on investments. Despite these challenges, we are pleased with the Plan’s strong performance in 2021”.

– Wayne Gladstone and Harry Goslin (Co-Chairs of the WISE Trust Board of Trustees)

“2021 was another remarkable year of progress for WISE Trust as we marked our first full calendar year of operations in July 2021. Over 2021, we accomplished many foundational items supporting our efforts to deliver on the defined benefit pension promise as a stand-alone pension plan organization”.

– Susan Kay-Dunn (Chief Pension Officer and Plan Manager)

2021 Highlights for Members Report

Check out the report to learn more about how we are fulfilling our defined benefit pension promise to our members in 2021 and in the future!
A recent study has found that the average retirement age is 62. Yet more than 53% of Canadians are unsure how much they will need to retire. If you’re thinking about retiring, now is the time to start planning.

Tip

If you’re coming up to retirement, we recommend that you notify your manager and contact the WISE Trust Pension Contact Centre six to nine months before your desired retirement date to ensure that your pension begins on your desired retirement date.

Here are some pointers to help you plan out your retirement

How much income will I receive?

Ever heard of the term “three-legged stool”? The three-legged stool is made up of your WISE Trust pension, government benefits like the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS) and, your personal savings. Look closely at these three sources to understand what your income could be and, keep in mind, like many sources of income, your WISE Trust pension is subject to income tax.

Start by estimating your WISE Trust pension on My Pension Resource. You can estimate your pension at a specific age, date, or a “quick date” – your earliest retirement date, earliest unreduced retirement date, or normal retirement date.

To estimate your CPP and OAS payments, visit Canada.ca.

Also on My Pension Resource, check out the Total Retirement Modeler Tool which will allow you to pull together all three legs to give you an estimate of your total income.

How much will I spend?

Your spending habits will change when you retire, you’ll likely spend less on gas but spend more on your hobbies.

Create a budget to ensure you can afford the necessities and have a rainy-day fund when sudden expensive purchases pop up. You should speak to a financial advisor who can help in establishing a long-term plan.

When can I retire?

The normal retirement age is 65. You can choose to retire earlier if you qualify for early unreduced retirement.

You can retire without any reduction to your lifetime pension if you qualify for:

Factor 85: Your age when added to your years of membership or pensionable service equals at least 85 years

60/20 rule: You are at least 60 years old and you have at least 20 years of membership or pensionable service in the plan

Learn more about when you can retire.

Survivor Benefits?

Planning for retirement may involve decisions relating to what you want to leave for your beneficiaries when you pass away.

Your WISE Trust pension has survivor benefits which help protect your loved ones if you pass away before or after retirement. This includes your spouse and any dependents with or without disabilities. Learn more about survivor benefits.

Learn more

These questions are important to consider when planning your retirement. Our website has answers to your retirement questions. If you can’t find the answer you are looking for contact us.

In response to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine and ensuing humanitarian crisis, we are partnering with Investment Management Corporation of Ontario (IMCO), our Investment Manager, to exit our minimal holdings in Russia.  Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine, their families and friends.

Read IMCO’s full statement for more information.

Winter is ending and spring is just right around the corner. Flowers will begin to bloom and soon our taxes will be due. But we’re here to help you prepare for the April 30 deadline.

Here are some reminders

Do you have your T4 or T4A?

If you haven’t received your T4, check to make sure your employer has your correct mailing address on file or if you signed up for paperless communications. If it still hasn’t shown up, contact your HR department.

If you are a retiree, you can find your T4A in the mail or on WorkforceNow if you registered and signed up for paperless communications. Learn more if you are already retired.

Pensionable contributions are tax deductible

Did you know you can deduct your pension contributions made to the Plan on your 2021 income tax return? Learn more about registered pension plan deductions on the CRA website.

Home office expenses for employees

If you have worked more than 50% of the time from home for at least four consecutive weeks in 2021 due to the pandemic, you can claim a deduction on your income tax return. Learn more about this claim through the CRA.

Donations and tax credits

If you report charitable donations made in 2021 or unclaimed donations from the past five years, it can be used to reduce your taxable income Your tax savings will equal the amount of tax credit calculated. Learn more about calculating your charitable tax credits.

Do it yourself or outsource

Depending on the difficulty of your taxes, you may decide to do it yourself or hire a professional. If you have the time, consider using certified tax software to ease the workload. If you don’t have the time, and have available funds, consider hiring a professional.

The tips provided should help you prepare your important documents to take on the tax season. Now you can sit back and enjoy the spring weather.

We struggle to commit to a long-term goal because of the initial hump – we just don’t know where to start. We can’t save for the future because we’re unsure about the present. Get over the initial hump using these three suggestions.

Identify your own motivations

You don’t have to picture yourself at 65 to start saving. Instead, picture the version of yourself one year ahead. You know in the next year you need to replace an aging laptop or car. Save for that version of yourself and once you achieve that goal focus on the long-term.

Understand the future benefits of saving

We can understand the future benefits of saving when you have met your short-term goals. Try setting a smaller saving goal, save $200 a month rather than $400. After a year, you will have saved $2,400 and you still get to enjoy a little bit of spending money each month. Now you’ve laid the foundation for your long-term goals. Like the Chinese proverb goes “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.”

Understand your pension

Get to know how your WISE Trust pension is saving money for your future self. A good jumping point to learning your pension is the Five Ws – Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Who is WISE Trust? What is a pension? When do I start making contributions? Where can I learn more? Why should I care about my pension?

Tip

Get the Five Ws answered by checking out Pension 101.

Now, you know where to start. Try one of these three suggestions to get saving for your future self. Good luck!

Relationships begin and end. Children grow up. Careers start and stop. As you go about the ups and downs of life, it is important to make sure things like spousal and beneficiary information, Wills, and Powers of Attorney, are up to date.

As a rule of thumb, try to review this information annually, around your birthday or when you receive your annual pension statement in June, for example. By doing this, you ensure your information is current which is an important part of your family’s future well-being.

Your spousal and beneficiary information are a vital part of survivor benefits. Survivor benefits can help protect your loved ones financially when you pass away. The type and amount of survivor benefits provided under the Plan on whether you have an eligible spouse and/or eligible children and whether you have started receiving a pension when you pass away. You should name a beneficiary, a person, organization, or your estate, to receive survivor benefits, if any.

It is easy to update your spousal and beneficiary information for your pension through these easy steps:

  1. Register or log in to My Pension Resource
  2. Select “Profile” and then click on “Beneficiaries”
  3. Confirm that the beneficiaries listed are correct
  4. If you need to make updates, complete the Spousal Declaration and Beneficiary Designation , and mail it to the WISE Trust Pension Contact Centre.

Life changes quickly. That’s why it’s so important to keep this personal information up to date, especially if your family or relationship status looks different now than it did a few years ago. Five minutes today can save your family time and worry in the future.

At WISE Trust, we know that financial literacy is a vital component of everyday life because managing your daily finances and making secure investments in your future are both closely related. We understand that navigating financial decisions can be complicated, which is why we are committed to helping you understand your pension and strengthen your financial planning skills.

Why financial literacy is important

As the financial marketplace grows increasingly complex, it is crucial that Canadians have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to make informed decisions about the financial products and services that best meet their needs. Understanding the basics about money is as essential today as basic literacy.

Three goals for you this month

To start on the right track this month, consider making these three goals for yourself:

  1. Build your knowledge. Read up on various financial topics. Whether its spending 15 minutes reading an online blog, scrolling through our website, or attending one of the events we have on at WISE Trust, every little bit counts.
  2. Let your goals be your guide. Setting financial goals and tracking your progress will drive you to learn and persevere. For example, if you are someone thinking of retiring, model your retirement income with the tool on My Pension Resource, to get a full picture of what your pension and other personal savings look like for your retirement income.
  3. Get familiar with your financial situation. Track your spending by making a budget and make sure you understand key personal financial documents including your pay stubs, investment statements, annual pension statements, loans, Wills, and Powers of Attorney.

Resources for you

  • Register for an education session hosted by WISE Trust, or one of our partner sessions with CPA Canada and the Ontario Securities Commission.
  • Check out the Government of Canada’s financial literacy month page that includes helpful resources and initiatives.
  • Find out how financially savvy you are compared to your fellow Canadians by taking an 8-minute quiz.

Resources for your family

Enjoy learning!

There are more benefits than just a healthy planet when you switch to paperless communications.

Choosing to receive your communications online allows you to get the information you want in a matter of minutes, skipping the process of snail mail.

Paperless communications also adds a layer of protection to your privacy. You reduce the risk of your mail ending up in the hands of someone other than you.

And of course, the environmental benefits are significant because when paper is not needed, you help cut down on deforestation and pollution, leaving more trees to do the dirty work of absorbing carbon dioxide.

Here’s how you can make the change in just a few minutes:

  1. Login to My Pension Resource – or register if you haven’t already!
  2. Click on Profile > Communication Preferences
  3. Change your election to “I elect and consent to receive all pension related materials electronically via the Message Centre”

Be WISE with the way you receive your communications.

On July 1, 2021, pension contribution rates will increase by 0.6 per cent of your pensionable earnings.

Learn more about how you contribute and the contribution formula.

When will this be reflected on my pay?

Your contributions are deducted directly from your bi-weekly pay. Depending on what WISE Trust participating employer you work for, you’ll see the contribution increase on the following pay date:
WISE Trust Participating Employer Pay
Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) July 29, 2021
Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA) July 29, 2021
Public Services Health and Safety Association (PSHSA) July 29, 2021
Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (WSPS) July 15, 2021
Workplace Safety North (WSN) July 15, 2021
Workplace Insurance and Safety Employee Trust (WISE Trust) July 29, 2021

Why is this happening?

Since July 1, 2020, member contribution rates have gradually increased by 0.6 per cent of pensionable earnings per year and will do so until the funding for the Plan reaches a 50/50 employer-member cost-sharing ratio. By doing this together, we help maintain a sustainable pension plan!

Learn more about how your WISE Trust pension is funded.

Got a minute to learn more about your pension?

Pension definitions

The estimated amount of money needed today to be invested to pay the future benefits you have under the Plan. The actuarial present value is based on assumptions such as interest rates, inflation, mortality, and salary escalation.
The YMPE in each year in the averaging period used to determine your best average earnings for calculation of your pension benefit at termination or retirement. Here is how we determined the 2021 average YMPE for a member who is retiring on January 1, 2022:
YMPE Earnings
2021 YMPE $61,600
2020 YMPE $58,700
2019 YMPE $57,400
2018 YMPE $55,900
2017 YMPE $55,300
Subtotal $288,900
Divide by five $57,780
You can name any person, organization, or your estate as your beneficiary to receive survivor benefits in the event that you do not have an eligible spouse, or spousal benefits have been waived, or you do not have eligible children at the time of your passing. To make an update to your beneficiary information, log in to My Pension Resource and complete the Spousal Declaration and Beneficiary Designation form.

The annual average of your pensionable earnings for the highest 60 consecutive months of service during the last 120 months of pensionable service before your retirement or termination from the Plan. If you worked less than 60 months, your best average earnings will be based on your average earnings as a member of the Plan.

A temporary benefit provided to employees who retire prior to the age when unreduced CPP benefits begin. It is paid when you retire from your participating employer before age 65 (even if you collect an early CPP pension). The bridge benefit is payable until the earlier of age 65 or your passing.

Learn more about the bridge benefit.

 

The CPP is a contributory, earnings-related social insurance program that is paid by the federal government. It provides a measure of income to contributors and their families upon retirement, disability, and death. For further details, contact Service Canada.

The CRA is the federal regulatory agency that administers the Income Tax Act.

The lump-sum value of your earned pension. The commuted value changes based on factors such as age, life expectancy, inflation and interest rates.

An inflation measure computed by Statistics Canada that calculates the change in prices of a fixed set of commodities purchased by Canadians each month. If the combined cost of these goods goes up, inflation increases. The CPI is used to calculate annual cost-of-living increases for pension benefits, also referred to as “indexing”.

This is the pension benefit earned up to the date of termination of employment, which is calculated at the time of termination of employment but payable at a later date. Learn more about this onleaving your employer.

A pension plan that defines the ultimate pension benefit to be provided in accordance with a formula, usually based on years of service and earnings. WISE Trust is a defined benefit pension plan.

Learn more on the advantages of a defined benefit pension plan.

Retirement before you reach age 65, in which you may receive a reduced pension or an unreduced pension.

Learn more about this on the retirement page.

 

An eligible child includes your natural, adopted, or step child in respect of whom you are acting in the role of a parent and who is:

  • under age 18; or
  • 18 or older but less than 25 and attending full-time, continuous education; or
  • 18 or older and suffers from a physical or mental disability that has prevented them from earning a living since reaching 18 or since your death, whichever occurred most recently.

Eligible spouse means, on the relevant date, either of two persons who are

  • married to each other; or
  • not married to each other but are living together in a conjugal relationship, either:
    • continuously for a period of not less than three years; or
    • in a relationship of some permanence, if they are the parents of a child, as set out in Section 4 of the Children’s Law Reform Act pursuant to subsection 1 (1) of the Pensions Benefit Act.

On termination of employment, the Plan compares 50 per cent of the commuted value of the member’s deferred pension to the total of their contributions plus interest. If the member’s contributions plus interest equal more than 50 per cent of the commuted value of the pension, then that member is entitled to a refund of the difference, called excess contributions.

An independent regulatory agency, an objective of which is to improve consumer and pension plan beneficiary protections in Ontario.

Learn more about them on FSRA’s website.

The Policy, which is approved by the WSIB and the OCEU as Sponsors of the Plan, provides a framework for the financial management of the pension benefits earned under the Plan and the corresponding assets of the trust fund that secure those pension benefits.

A federally legislated act with underlying regulations that outline, among other things, the maximum limits for registered pension plans. The Income Tax Act allows employees and employers to deduct pension contributions from their respective income for tax purposes and sets standards for the benefits a pension plan can provide. It is regulated by CRA.

A method in which pension benefits are adjusted to take into account changes in the cost of living.

A pension plan in which decision making and funding of the benefits is shared jointly by both employees and the participating employer. It’s a pension plan where there is a partnership in the governance of the plan.

The lifetime pension is the amount paid to you for the rest of your life once you retire, inclusive of any further indexation. This amount does not include the bridge benefit, which is paid on top of the lifetime pension up to age 65. Once you reach age 65, the bridge benefit ends and you continue to receive the lifetime pension.

A legislative requirement stipulating that vested entitlements under a pension plan must be used to provide pension payments at retirement and are not available as immediate cash.

A tax-sheltered retirement savings arrangement in which the funds are subject to locking in under pension legislation. Funds in a locked-in retirement savings arrangement cannot be withdrawn prior to the age of 55 and the payment of retirement income from the arrangement must begin no later than the end of the year in which you reach age 71. Examples include annuities, locked-in retirement accounts, life income funds, and other registered pension plans that will accept the commuted value of a deferred pension.

Learn more about this on leaving your employer.

 

A type of RRSP available to maintain funds that are locked-in as required by pension legislation. These funds must be used to purchase a life annuity or be transferred to a life income fund no later than the end of the year in which you reach age 71.

An employee of a participating employer who is contributing to the Plan or has contributions made on their behalf. Member also includes a former employee of a participating employer who made contributions to the Plan and has either terminated employment or terminated membership in the Plan and (i) retains the right to a deferred pension payable from the Plan or (ii) is receiving a pension payable from the Plan.

This includes the period commencing on the date an employee becomes a member of the Plan until the date the employee terminates the employment that relates to the Plan or terminates membership in the Plan. Any period during which a member was absent from work on a leave of absence, as well as any period of pensionable service transferred into the plan or purchased subject to the Plan’s terms will be included in the calculation of the member’s period of membership. Membership will not be broken for the sole reason that an employee ceased employment with one participating employer and immediately began employment with another participating employer.

An online self-service site for members to log in to view their personal pension details, estimate their pension, request a quote to purchase pensionable service, download forms, tip sheets, the guidebook, and more.

Login to My Pension Resource.

Normal retirement age under the Plan is age 65. The normal retirement age does not compel retirement at age 65, but rather sets the age when unreduced pensions are paid regardless of the years of pensionable service you have under the Plan.

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA), Public Services Health and Safety Association (PSHSA), Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (WSPS), Workplace Safety North (WSN), and the Trustees of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board Pension Plan Fund (WISE Trust).

The deemed value of additional pension benefits purchased for service in previous years. The CRA generally must approve the PSPA before the purchase of additional benefits can be completed and before the purchase can be included in any benefit calculation.

The CRA’s deemed value of the lifetime benefit a member earns during a calendar year under a pension plan, and it affects the member’s RRSP contribution room for the following year.

The pension adjustment is the annual pension amount earned by the member during the year, multiplied by nine, and then the prescribed amount of $600 is subtracted.

The pension adjustment is reported on your T4 tax slip, and your available RRSP contribution room for the following year is reduced by the pension adjustment amount.

Provincial legislation enforced by FSRA, which regulates pension plans in Ontario and determines minimum standards for eligibility, funding, and benefits for Ontario-registered pension plans.

Learn more about the legislation: Pension Benefits Act (PBA).

The basic amount of remuneration actually received for the position held by you, as a member of the Plan, and includes:
  • the amount of benefits that you are in receipt of under the Workplace Safety & Insurance Act (WSIA) for loss of earnings and any amount supplemented by the WSIB up to the maximum of your regular earnings
  • non-bargaining unit lump-sum merit awards
  • earnings if you are receiving long-term disability benefits

Pensionable earnings do not include:
  • overtime pay
  • irregular-hour premiums
  • performance bonuses
  • job differential pay
  • second-language bonuses
  • pay in lieu of vacation or Management Compensation Option
  • any payment in lieu of a benefit provided by your participating employer

Represents the total years, months and days of service during which you or your employer have contributed to the Plan on your behalf. Subject to the Plan’s terms, it includes any pensionable service you have purchased, transferred in, or service during which you were receiving short-term or long-term disability benefits or while you were in receipt of benefits from a claim filed under the WSIA.

If you are a part-time employee, your pensionable service is calculated as a proportion of the pensionable service that an equivalent full-time employee in the same employment category would accrue. Learn more under pensionable service.

 

A pension that starts before age 65 and is subject to a reduction for starting your pension early. The reduction for starting your pension early means the pension is reduced by three per cent for each year (and any fraction thereof) your retirement falls before the date you would have qualified for your earliest unreduced pension.

Learn more about this on collecting your pension.

This is a savings arrangement available from most financial institutions that accumulates contributions and investment earnings on a tax-sheltered basis.

The annual statement of earnings and deductions provided to employees and to the CRA by the employer.

The annual statement of pension earnings and deductions provided to retirees and to the CRA by WISE Trust.

An unreduced pension is a pension that is not subject to an age reduction. You may receive an unreduced or lesser reduced pension at age 65 or, earlier provided you have qualified under the early retirement provisions of the factor 85 or 60/20 rule.

Learn more about this on collecting your pension.

A term used in the CPP that refers to the earnings on which CPP and Quebec Pension Plan contributions and benefits are calculated. The YMPE is re-calculated each year according to a formula based on average wage levels. The YMPE is published annually by the CRA.

The WISE Trust Pension Contact Centre will be closed on Thursday, July 1, 2021 for Canada Day. You can leave us a message and we will return it the next business day. You can also send us a secure message through the message centre on My Pension Resource.

We hope you have a safe and happy Canada Day!