The total number of active members in registered pension plans rose steadily between 2005 and 2015, from 5.7 million to 6.3 million, an increase of 10 per cent, according to new data from the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.

However, the proportion of employees covered by a registered pension plan has declined very slightly, from 39 per cent in 2005 to 38 per cent in 2015. This is because the number of employees in Canada has grown at a faster pace than the increase in active registered pension plan members, notes the report.

Read: Private sector pension membership fell by 11,600 in 2015: Statistics Canada

Registered pension coverage in the public sector increased during the time period, while coverage in the private sector decreased. Some 87 per cent of the public sector was covered by a registered pension plan in 2015, compared to 84 per cent in 2005. This is in stark contrast to private sector coverage, which was 24 per cent in 2015, down from 26 per cent in 2005.

The report also notes the shift from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans between 2005 and 2015. Overall, the proportion of active members in a defined benefit plan has dropped from 81 per cent to 67 per cent in those 10 years. The change has been most significant in the private sector where coverage decreased from 70 per cent to 42 per cent in 10 years. Meanwhile, in the public sector, the drop was very slight, from 92 per cent to 91 per cent.

Since 2005, there has been a trend, particularly in the private sector, to either establish or convert to a new type of pension plan, notes the report. “These plans may be for different classes of employees or one benefit type may be for current employees and the other for new employees.

Read: Saskatoon transit workers accuse city of trying to convert to target benefit plan

The number of active members in this type of plan has increased, from 40,000 in 2005 to 711,000 in 2015. Of these members in 2015, 10 per cent were in the public sector and 90 per cent were in the private sector.

OSFI’s report also looked at other types of tax-assisted plans, including registered retirement savings plans and tax-free savings accounts. In 2015, six million tax filers contributed to an RRSP, compared to 6.1 million in 2005. And the proportion of tax filers who contributed to an RRSP decreased from 26 per cent to 23 per cent over the same time period. As of the end of 2015, there were 12.7 million TFSA holders, which represents 49 per cent of tax filers. 

Copyright © 2021 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on

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