Employer News - March Roundup

Posted for Employers, March 19, 2020

News & Events

COVID-19 update from the CAAT Pension Plan

The CAAT Pension Plan is closely monitoring the developments surrounding COVID-19.

As always, our top priority is to keep the Plan running smoothly, and to ensure pensions are paid on time. During this time, we remain dedicated to serving our members and employers, and supporting the ongoing health and safety of our staff and community.

To do our part in “flattening the curve,” we are encouraging staff to work from home. We are committed to maintaining our services for members, and have been working internally, and with key service providers, to ensure we are prepared for any work disruptions.

For employers, your Pension Analysts (PA) will still be available to support you with all your questions and concerns. You can contact them by email, or call their work number, and you will be forwarded to their local telephone. Working remotely can present challenges – please contact your PA directly with any logistical or administrative process challenges that you encounter. We will work out adjustments so any critical pension processes can continue. We will be communicating with you more frequently as we work through these adjustments.

We are no longer permitting visitors at our office, and have stopped employee travel. As a result, all scheduled member presentations in March and April will be conducted through webinar.

We will continue to assess the situation and follow the guidance of local, provincial, and federal health authorities.

We continue to be focused on providing the same reliable service to our members and employers. Although our response times to calls and e-mails may be slower, we will continue to work diligently on providing our high standard of service.

Visit our website for more updates.

Members on leave due to COVID-19

During this time, the Plan will work with employers to determine the best method of reporting any members who are placed on a leave during the COVID-19 outbreak.

As soon as we are aware of the scope and length of these leaves, we will provide an update on the most efficient solution to report these leaves and purchases to the Plan.

The Plan is stronger, members’ pensions more secure than anytime during the past decade

The CAAT Pension Plan stands 118% funded on a going-concern basis, with $2.9 billion in funding reserves, based on its latest actuarial valuation as of January 1, 2020. There is no change to the benefit you are earning, and conditional benefits have been extended to at least 2023.

Growth benefits all

Growth initiatives contributed to Plan health through 2019. CAAT’s Growing Plan Membership strategy – which saw a significant increase in the number of employers and members in the past year – contributed $0.4 billion to Plan reserves in 2019.

Funded Status and the Discount Rate

The Plan is currently 118% funded. That means that for every dollar of pension earned by members, there is $1.18 set aside to pay it.

This year, the Plan’s discount rate was lowered from 5.5% to 5.15%. That means that every year the investment returns are over 5.15%, the Plan’s funded ratio will improve. The 2020 funded status is slightly lower, but the likelihood that the funded status will grow in the future has increased. The Plan’s lowering of the discount rate is consistent with its focus on long-term benefit security and sustainability. CAAT maintains a healthy funding reserve and uses realistic valuation assumptions to ensure the pension promise remains strong.

What is a valuation?

The actuarial valuation compares the CAAT Plan’s liabilities – the pensions earned by members, and the estimated pensions that will be earned in the future – to the assets of the pension fund and estimated contributions to be received.

The valuation will be filed with the regulatory authorities in the coming weeks, and the report will be posted on the Plan’s websites.

We look forward to sharing with you our 2019 investment results and annual report, coming in May. The CAAT Pension Plan closed out 2019 with assets in excess of $13 billion.

2019 Employer Attestations – due March 31

Thank you to those who have submitted the 2019 Attestation forms. We have received 31 attestations to date.

We know that it is an unusual time for everyone, and there is a lot of work to do. We are here to help. If you have any questions or need assistance to complete the attestation, please contact Sandy Cook, Manager, Employer services at scook@caatpension.on.ca or by phone at 647.837.6752.

Send your completed forms to Sandy at scook@caatpension.on.ca.

2019 DCT update

We are aware that the DCT system was down over the weekend, which may have interfered with your ability to complete your data submission on time. The DCT is now up and running normally.

Your PA will be in touch to provide any assistance in completing your DCT submission.

Employers with expected June 30 retirements – send applications by end of March

We recommend you send retirement applications three months in advance so pensions can start on time. For June 30 retirements, we encourage you to submit your retirement applications as soon as possible.

If a retiring member wants to purchase a strike period, please make sure to let them know that they should have the payment completed at least two months before their retirement date to avoid their first payment being delayed.

Retirement and Termination smart form submissions – review before sending

Before you submit your retirement or termination smart form, ensure the amounts and data on the form are validated. You will know that the data is validated when you see the “okay to submit” message at the bottom of the form.

If the form shows an “error,” and you submit, the data will not be processed, and your employer PA will contact you to review and re-submit.

Change of Employment form – earnings no longer required

If you are a DBplus-only employer, this notice does not apply to you.

Prior to January 1, 2019, for part-time members whose occupation code changed during the year, employers were required to provide the earnings and service to the date of the change in occupation code as it affected the annualization of the member’s earnings.

If you have a part-time or full-time member who changes occupation code during the year, you can advise the Plan by changing their occupation code by sending a Change of Employment form or by changing it on the next DCT file.

If you are reporting the change using the Change of Employment form, you do not need to provide earnings information for the member up to the new occupation date.

Give your employees the benefit of pension knowledge

Did you know that 93% of members who attend CAAT presentations or webinar in the past year would be very likely to recommend it to a colleague? The more members know about their pension, the more they value it.

Book a webinar for 2020

To arrange a webinar for your members, contact presentations@caatpension.on.ca with your preferred date, so that we can secure it for you.

Upcoming Events

Be sure to take note of the following dates, and register for and attend upcoming sessions:

  • March 31 – Employer Attestation forms due
  • April 16 – Employer Education Webinar – Annual Statements
  • April 21 – Employer update

Invitations for the webinars will be sent out approximately 2 weeks in advance.