Pension Backgrounder

Pension Briefing Note #1 – 20 Feb 2019

Pension Briefing Note #2 – 4 March 2019


Membership in the Faculty Pension Plan is mandatory and effective from the date of hire of TUFA members hired in probationary or permanent positions. Members holding limited term appointments are eligible to join at the beginning of the limited-term appointment in which employment will exceed two years when added to the duration of previous limited term appointments. Under the terms of our pension arrangement, members contribute 9% of regular earnings into the plan while the University’s contribution varies depending on the funding requirements of the Plan: currently, these payments exceed members’ contribution. This is a reflection of the fact that our registered pension plan has both a solvency deficit and a going-concern deficit requiring special payments. Trent’s Human Resources webpage has additional information on the terms of the Plan.

Bargaining Framework

The agreement ratified by the Parties in November, 2016, included a new Appendix R: Fifth Pension Framework 2016-2019 which reinforced the progress being made by the Employer and the Union to migrating our existing pension arrangement into a Joint-Sponsored Pension Plan (JSPP). TUFA, along with other faculty unions in Ontario, has been exploring the option of developing a stand-alone pension plan for the University sector. Failing that, the TUFA Pension plan could be folded into an existing JSPP. Under provincial regulations, no migration often existing pension plan into a JSPP can occur without the consent of the plan’s members.

A Word on the Supplemental Retirement Arrangement (SRA)

As a top-up to our existing retirement benefits, the SRA does not fall under the provincial legislation and regulations governing registered pension plans. That said, it is a component of our retirees’ total retirement income that is practically indistinguishable from their payments from the registered plan. In the event of a plan merger, there are several ways in which the Employer might meet its obligation to provide SRA benefits to TUFA retirees, but TUFA has maintained from the outset of discussions with the Employer about plan migration that a holistic solution must be found for the entire Retirement Arrangement that includes our members’ SRA benefits.

Pension Subcommittee

A joint sub-committee oversees reporting on the operation and financing of the pension plan. The Committee is currently comprised of:

  • Steven Pillar – Vice-President, Finance and Administration
  • Cheryl Turk – Associate Vice-President, Financial Services
  • Byron Lew – TUFA Representative
  • Susan Wurtele – TUFA Representative
  • Jaime Morales – TUFA Representative
  • Bruce Cater – Academic Exempt Representative