The percentage of paid workers who are members of registered
pension plans (RPPs) declined from 41% in 1999 to 39% in 2009, a
drop of only 2%. Interestingly, this decrease appears to be due to
a significant decrease in the percentage of men who participate in
RPPs – with their participation rate declining from 42%
in 1999 to 38% in 2009. During this same time, the coverage for
women increased from 39% to 40%. Also of note is the fact that the
number of workers covered by pension plans actually increased
during the period, from 5.3 million to 6 million; however, the
workforce grew at a faster pace, thus leading to the decline in the
percentage of workers with pension coverage.
The statistics also demonstrate the well-known disparity between
the public and private sectors, with RPP coverage for the public
sector at 86% in 2009, versus only 25% for the private sector.
There is also a large disparity in the type of pension plans
offered. While the proportion of pension plans offering defined
benefit (DB) coverage in the public sector has been stable between
1999 and 2009 (at 94%), there has been a significant reduction in
the proportion of pension plans offering DB coverage in the private
sector (from 76% to 56%).
These statistics make it clear that while overall pension
coverage is not declining as quickly as some might have thought, DB
plans are indeed on the decline, at least in the private sector.
Whether the various pension reform initiatives introduced across
Canada will serve to slow this trend remains to be seen.
Douglas Rienzo practises exclusively in the
area of pensions and employee benefits, with a particular focus on
pension surplus issues and family law issues related to
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