The UBC Staff Pension Plan (SPP) was established on January 1, 1972 and serves current and past staff employees and retirees, as well as employees of the University’s related employers. The Plan is sponsored by the University and it provides retirement, termination and death benefits for members. The Plan is among the most valued benefits offered by the University and is designed to provide stable lifetime retirement pensions.
- About the Plan
- Why Join Now
- How to Join
- The Pension Benefit
- Leaving UBC & Retirement
- Potential Changes in Plan Benefits
About the Plan
The UBC SPP is a Target Benefit Plan. Your pension, at retirement, is based on your pensionable service and your best average earnings (salary). The Plan is financed by fixed contributions made by you and UBC. The Plan may be amended from time to time to keep the benefits in line with the Plan’s ability to pay for them.
The Plan is administered by the UBC Pension Administration Office, under the direction of the SPP Board.
The rules for membership in the UBC SPP are changing effective April 1, 2020.
If you are hired before April 1, 2020, membership in the UBC SPP is optional until the earlier of the date you have completed three years of service from the date you become eligible, or April 1, 2020. At this date, membership becomes mandatory and you will be required to join the Plan.
You will receive a letter from the UBC Pension Administration Office that tells you the date you first become eligible to join and the date that your membership is mandatory.
The online enrolment process for new employees displays the Pension enrolment forms under an ‘Optional’ heading.
See the UBC Human Resources website for eligibility details for all benefits by employee group (your entire benefit package).
Full-Time Salaried Employees
Full-time salaried employees with an appointment for a term of one year or more, or employment for a continuous period of one year or more (includes successive appointments that are less than one year provided you did not terminate employment between appointments) are eligible to join the Plan. Before April 1, 2020, you can join on the first day of any month. On and after April 1, 2020, you will be enrolled on the date that you are enrolled for basic life insurance.
Part-Time Salaried Employees & CUPE 116 Hourly Employees
Before April 1, 2020, part-time salaried employees and CUPE 116 hourly employees are eligible to join if you have completed at least 12 months of continuous employment, in which you have earned at least 35% of the Year’s Maximum Pensionable Earnings (YMPE) in effect for the year the 12 month period concludes. On and after April 1, 2020, you will be enrolled on the date that you are enrolled for basic life insurance.
The following appointments are not eligible for the Staff Pension Plan:
- Individuals hired on and after January 1, 2007 whose earnings exceed the earnings threshold defined in the Staff Pension Plan will be ineligible for the Staff Pension Plan. They will join the Faculty Pension Plan instead. The earnings threshold in the Staff Pension Plan is $171,790.12 in 2020 and will be indexed each calendar year.
- Individuals hired on and after January 1, 2007 who have already joined the Staff Pension Plan and whose earnings at a later date exceed the earnings threshold, will be transferred to the Faculty Pension Plan the month of the salary change. For individuals who transfer to the Faculty Pension Plan, benefits earned under the Staff Pension Plan will be calculated and indexed until such retirement or earlier termination of employment.
Each month, you and the University make contributions to the pension plan.
Your contributions are made by payroll deduction on a semi-monthly basis as follows:
- 6.5% of your gross pensionable earnings (basic salary)
Our Contributions Calculator can help you determine your required contributions.
The University, or a related employer, contributes:
- 9.4% of your gross pensionable earnings (basic salary)
Contributions to registered pension plans are not taxed. The amount of your income that’s taxable is reduced each month by the amount you contribute to the SPP. In essence, you receive a tax refund each month, rather than waiting until you file your income tax return. You do not pay tax on the University’s contributions.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) restricts the amount of income that can be sheltered from taxation each year in registered vehicles such as pension plans and RRSPs.
The CRA uses a formula to estimate the value of your earned pension each year, and this value, called the Pension Adjustment (PA) is deducted from your overall RRSP contribution room. Be sure to review the Notice of Assessment you receive from the CRA after you file your income tax each year to see your RRSP room.
Why Join Now
The more pensionable service you have, the greater your pension benefit will be. Your SPP pension benefit is calculated based on a formula using your pensionable earnings (salary) and your years of pensionable service. Therefore, if you join the Plan as soon as you are eligible, you will earn more pensionable service than if you wait until later or until it is mandatory to join.
How to Join
Joining the Plan is an easy process and the UBC Pension Administration Office is available to assist you if you have any questions along the way. Visit the Joining the SPP page for detailed information on joining the Plan.
Once you join the Plan, before or on your mandatory date, contributions and participation will continue for as long as you are in an eligible position, regardless if that position is full-time or part-time. There is no opting-out provision.
The Pension Benefit
You can start your pension from the SPP as early as age 55 and as late as December 1 of the year in which you turn age 71. At retirement, you are entitled to the value of your earned pension, calculated according to the pension formulas. If you retire before age 65, the calculated pension value may be reduced.
If you have pensionable service Pre and Post-July 1, 2009, your pension benefit will be calculated using both of the formulas listed below:
1. If you only have Pre-July 1, 2009 pensionable service, your benefit will be calculated using the following formula:
2% of your Best Average Pensionable Earnings X your years of pensionable service
0.7% of your Best Average Pensionable Earnings up to the Average Year’s Maximum Pensionable Earnings X your years of pensionable service
2. If you only have Post-July 1, 2009 pensionable service, your benefit will be calculated using the following formula:
1.8% of your Best Average Pensionable Earnings X your years of pensionable service
Normal & Special Early Retirement
You’ll receive an unreduced pension, calculated according to the formula(s) above if:
- you retire at or after age 65, or
- you retire at age 60 and you are eligible for Special Early Retirement
Normal retirement age is age 65.
If you are not eligible for Special Early Retirement, your pension will be adjusted for each year that you retire before age 65 to account for the longer period you will be receiving a pension. An early retirement reduction factor of 4% will be applied to any pensionable service accrued up to and including December 31, 2011. Effective January 1, 2012, an actuarially equivalent early retirement reduction factor will be applied to pensionable service accrued on and after January 1, 2012.
For further information regarding early retirement and Special Early Retirement, please review our Retirement Ages & Early Retirement Considerations Information Sheet.
Leaving UBC & Retirement
Under Age 55
If you are under age 55 and leave UBC or move to an ineligible position within UBC, you are entitled to one of three options:
- A monthly lifetime pension that you may start as early as age 55 and as late as age 71
- A lump sum amount, which is the contribution refund or the commuted value of your accrued pension, whichever amount is greater at the time of calculation. Please note: Once you turn age 55, this option is only available if you have a small benefit.
- Defer making a decision on your pension benefits.
For more information, visit the Leaving UBC page.
Age 55 or Over
If you are age 55 or over and leave UBC, retire, or move to an ineligible position within UBC, you are entitled to one of three options:
- A monthly lifetime pension that you may start immediately or defer to as late as age 71.
- A monthly lifetime pension with lump sum amount, which allows you to take a reduced monthly lifetime pension and a lump sum transfer out of the Plan. Only members who have made contributions to the Plan prior to 1993 are eligible for this option.
- Defer making a decision on your pension benefits.
For more information, visit the Retiring page.
Potential Changes in Plan Benefits
The University cost commitment to the Staff Pension Plan is a fixed percentage of earnings. The plan has a written funding policy as part of the plan text that calls for the Plan’s actuary to perform certain funding tests and for the Pension Board to take appropriate action if the Plan’s funding level falls outside certain limits. If the financial health of the Plan falls below a certain level, benefits may be reduced until adequate funding is restored. If at any point, after building appropriate contingency reserves, the Plan has excess funds, they must be used to provide benefit improvements or cash distributions. Please refer to the Plan’s Funding Policy for additional information.
The UBC Staff Pension Plan (SPP) funds are invested in variety of asset classes through external investment managers and in accordance with the Plan’s Statement of Policies and Procedures (SIPP). Please refer to the Investments page for further information.