There are two pension plans and two pension committees for CUPE 873 members:

Public Service Pension Plan (PSPP)

All members who meet the PSPP eligibility criteria are enrolled in this pension plan. Specific questions about your own pension should be directed to the plan contact centre. Find out more here: https://pspp.pensionsbc.ca/

Supplemental (Union) Pension

The Ambulance Paramedics of BC Benefit Trust which is the supplementary UNION trusteed pension fund separate from the Public Service Pension Plan (PSPP).

The day to day functioning of this Supplemental Plan is managed by a third-party administrator, Coughlin & Associates (www.coughlin.ca), and our investments are handled by three institutional money managers – Leith Wheeler, Gryphon Investments and ACM Advisors. ACM is a manager specializing in commercial mortgages and have been hired given concerns with the current Bond market with the expectation of rising interest rates.  Mortgages offer a higher yield than bonds, and greater downside protection should interest rates continue to rise.  Our other managers, Leith Wheeler and Gryphon managed balanced funds for our plan.  We have also reviewed other strategies to further enhance plan returns and provide for greater diversification in the overall portfolio.  Our overall investment strategy is guided by an investment policy statement that oversees the risk level in our investments through established maximums and minimums for our exposure to stocks, bonds and other alternative investments.  Our job as trustees is to outline the risks we are prepared to take, and then we oversee the investment managers as they go forth and make us money.

Terminating and retiring Members have benefited through the use of the Plan’s option of providing a LIF payment directly from the Plan, leaving their assets in the Plan, as returns have been strong and expenses low (compared to typical mutual funds).  This is a low cost to members of 1.5% for total administration, investment management and disbursements, with Coughlin providing this service.  In effect, these terminated or retired Members continue to enjoy the benefits of being part of a larger group but are not locked in and may transfer the assets out of the Plan at any time if they decide it is not right for them.

WE as trustees strongly advise any member who is fifty years of age or older, to contact a financial institution or Coughlin and review your options for retirement. We as trustees do not offer financial advice but urge those of you who are close to consider the future, as it will be here before you know it. Coughlin will send you retirement information with your annual pension statement the year you turn 50 advising you of what your options are at retirement and other information to assist you and your family with your transition to retirement with the least amount of hassle.

Please take the time to review your annual statements, which includes all information on your individual account, including beneficiary and contact information.

Representatives of Coughlin are pleased to answer any questions you may have about your retirement options and they can easily be contacted toll-free at 1-888-204-1234 or via www.coughlin.ca .

The Board of Trustees, for the Ambulance Paramedics of BC, CUPE Local 873 Supplemental Benefit Trust are:

Troy Clifford, Chair
Gerry Harris
Kevin Lambert
Tom Manz
Ernie Mothus

Overview and Background

Adequate income during retirement is a concern that most of us share. The Ambulance Paramedics of British Columbia Supplemental Pension Plan (the Plan) was established April 1, 1991to help meet this concern (in accordance with article 24.06 of the Collective Agreement) apbc.ca . The Plan was designed to supplement pension benefits provided by other sources such as: The Public Service Pension Plan, Personal Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP), and the Government Pension Plans (Canada Pension Plan / Old Age Security).

This is a Registered Pension Plan and must comply with the provisions of the Income Tax Act (ITA) and the British Columbia Pension Benefits Standards Act (PBSA). Pension plans and the legislation that governs them are complex and not every detail can be contained in a summary such as this. However, this Summary highlights the main features of the Plan.

In the event of any discrepancy or misunderstanding between this Summary and the Plan Text, benefits will be administered according to the official Plan documents and the applicable legislation. The Plan text is available for viewing upon written request to the Plan Administrator. This is your pension plan and it will play an important role in your financial future. We encourage you to learn about it.

Eligibility

Full time members of the Ambulance Paramedics of British Columbia, C.U.P.E. Local 873, are eligible for enrolment in the Supplement Pension Plan. All contributions are fully vested and each plan member is eligible for the benefits outlined in this Summary effective from the date the Employer forwards contributions on their behalf.

Contributions

This Plan is funded through Employer contributions only. While at full time status, your Employer makes contributions equal to 2.75% of your regular salary which are credited to your Member Account. You are not required, nor permitted, to make contributions to this Plan. You are not taxed on the contributions made by your Employer, nor on the investment earnings of the Plan. The benefits you receive from this Plan are taxable only when you receive them.

As many Members inquire about using funds from this Plan for past service buyback from the Public Service Superannuation Plan, please note the BC Pension regulations do not allow for access to Plan assets while you are an actively working participant of the Plan.

Retirement and / or Termination of Employment

You may retire any time after age 50, but no later than age 71. You must start receiving benefits by December 31 of the year in which you turn age 71. If you leave before age 50, you are considered to have terminated from the Plan.

When you retire or terminate employment, you are entitled to the balance in your Member Account. The amount in your Member Account will depend on the contributions received on your behalf, and the investment income earned, net of expenses.

The PBSA sets out rules for the release of registered pension contributions. Accordingly, your options upon retirement or termination are as follows:

For contributions made before January 1, 1993, you may choose one of the following options:

  • receive a cash refund;
  • transfer the funds to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP);
  • transfer the funds to a life insurance company to purchase a Deferred or Immediate Life Annuity;
  • transfer the funds to a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) or
  • transfer the funds to another Registered Pension Plan.

For contributions made after January 1, 1993, you may choose one of the following options:

  • a Locked-In Retirement Account (LIRA);
  • an insurance company to purchase a Deferred or Immediate Life Annuity;
  • a Life Income Fund (LIF);
  • another Registered Pension Plan on a locked-in basis, or
  • maintain your funds in the Supplemental Pension

Plan and have a benefit paid out as a Life Income Type Benefit (LITB).

Locked-in means that funds may only be used to provide pension benefits. Benefits related to contributions made after January 1, 1993 may not be withdrawn as a lump cash payment.

Forms of Pension

The Pension Benefits Standards Act (PBSA) requires that:

  1. if you have a Spouse, your Pension must be paid in a form that, if you die, guarantees at least 60% of your Pension continues to be paid to your Spouse for your Spouse’s lifetime. Please note your Spouse has the right to waive entitlement to your Pension (refer below for definition of Spouse).
  2. if you do not have a Spouse, or your Spouse signs a waiver, your pension may be in any form that complies with the PBSA and the Income Tax Act.

Spouse means, in relation to another person:

  1. a person who was married to and not living separate and apart from you for the 2 year period immediately preceding the relevant time, or
  2. a person with whom you have been living in a marriage-like relationship for the 2 year period immediately preceding the relevant time.

Nomination of Beneficiary

The Pension Benefit Standards Act (PBSA) requires that:

  1. if you have a Spouse, they must be your Beneficiary unless he or she signs a waiver as prescribed under the PBSA;
  2. if you do not have a Spouse, you may designate any Beneficiary to receive the balance of your Member Account. You may change your Beneficiary at any time by providing written notice to the Plan Administrator.
  3. if you designate a minor as a beneficiary, benefits will be paid in Trust to the Public Guardian and Trustee for British Columbia.
  4. if you do not have a Beneficiary, the balance of your Member Account shall be paid to your estate.

Death Before Retirement

In the event a Member dies prior to his or her retirement date, and is not survived by a Spouse, the Beneficiary or estate shall receive an amount equal to the Member’s Account Balance at the date of death.

If the Member is survived by a Spouse, the Spouse may elect to receive the Member’s Account Balance in one of the forms described under the previous section entitled Retirement and/or Termination of Employment – Contributions made after January 1, 1993.

Life Shortening Illness

Provincial pension legislation allows for the withdrawal as a payment in a lump sum, including locked in benefits, of a member’s pension account due to terminal illness or disability that is likely to considerably shorten the person’s life. Please contact the Administrator for additional information regarding this benefit.

For Further Information

Your Plan Administrator can provide further information about your Plan and the regulations which govern it. Please write or telephone:

Plan Administrator Supplemental Pension Plan Ambulance Paramedics of British Columbia c/o Coughlin & Associates Ltd.

PO Box 764 Winnipeg, MB R3C 2L4

Phone: (204) 942-4438 Toll Free: 1-888-204-1234 Fax: (204) 943-5998 E-mail: webmaster@coughlin.ca Website: www.coughlin.ca

To access the Pension Plan website:

type www.coughlin.ca
access “Portal Login Area”
access “Trustee Portal” and press “Go” button Username is “ambulancebc”
(please note this is in lowercase)
Password is “873”

Press “Sign in” button
Press “Trustee Portal”
Click on “Ambulance Paramedics of BC (Members)

All of the Plan Documentation can then be accessed through drop down boxes via PDF files. If you do not have a PDF reader (i.e. Adobe Acrobat), you may download a reader from the Coughlin website.