Members
Member Frequently Asked Questions
Break in Service
What is a Break in Service ("BIS")?

If you are under age 55, under the current Plan rules, you can elect to incur a Break in Service if no contributions are received on your behalf for 24 months. You remain a member of the Plan until you make such an election. This twenty-four-month period provides members an opportunity to find employment with another contributing employer to continue participating in the MSPP. The twenty-four-month period does not include periods during which you are away from work due to illness or disability but still on a contributing employer’s payroll; on an approved leave of absence; or on layoff and subject to recall under your collective agreement.

Why didn’t I receive a termination benefit statement package after the 24 months Break In Service?

There are various reasons for not receiving your termination benefit statement package even after the 24 months time frame has passed. The common reasons are as follows:

i) In many cases participating employers do not send the termination information to inform InBenefits of the date you stopped working.

ii) InBenefits does not have your current address on file and the package has been sent to an old address.

Contributions
Is overtime pay subject to pension contributions?

It depends on your collective agreement.

Can I contribute to the MSPP at any age?

No. Members over the age of 71 may not contribute to the Plan. The Income Tax Act requires that a pension must begin to be paid by the end of the calendar year in which the member reaches age 71. Therefore, no contributions can be made after the month of November in the year in which the member turns age 71.

How to join
Can I join the MSPP on my first day of employment?

No. You will join the Plan on the first day of the month after you complete the required hours of employment – typically 500 hours (or as stated in your collective agreement.) This is an eligibility rule.

Can I opt out of the Plan?

You cannot opt out of the Plan. However, if you have a Break In Service, your membership in the Plan will be terminated. Also, membership must end no later than November 30th of the calendar year in which you reach age 71.

My collective agreement says I need to work 500 qualifying hours before I can join the MSPP. Do these hours include overtime?

Yes, the 500 hours include overtime hours.

I am a contract employee/management employee with a Contributing Employer, can I still join the Plan?

Yes. If there is an affiliation agreement. Affiliation agreements permit non-union employees to join the MSPP.

Keeping Track
My Annual Pension Statement shows no beneficiaries on file. What happens to my pension if I die?

Under Ontario pension law, your eligible spouse is automatically your sole beneficiary - unless he or she has waived this entitlement by completing the appropriate form and providing it to InBenefits. But, it’s important to have a designated beneficiary(ies) if you don’t have a spouse, or in case your spouse dies before you. If there are no beneficiaries listed in your records and you don’t have a spouse at the date of death, your pre-retirement death benefit will be payable to your estate and may be subject to estate taxes and/or probate fees.

When will I receive my Annual Pension Statement?

The Annual Pension Statements for our active members are issued every year by the end of June. This statement shows a summary of the total member and employer contributions for the previous calendar year, as well as your accrued monthly pension payable at age 65 – the normal retirement age under the MSPP.

Why is “interest on contributions” shown on the Annual Statement?

Pension law requires “interest on employee contributions”, at a minimum, to be shown on the annual statement. Interest on employee contributions is used for purposes of the “50% rule” only – this calculation is intended to ensure members don’t fund more than 50% of the value of the pension they accrued. If your employee contributions plus calculated interest equal more than 50% of the current value of your pension, this difference or “excess” may be refunded to you as a taxable lump sum, used to provide you with a larger pension or transferred on a tax-free basis to your RRSP, another registered account or another pension plan. In the case of pre-retirement death, any excess contributions will be paid to your spouse/beneficiary, or estate, as the case may be.

Pension Formula
Is my monthly pension based on total employee and employer contributions? What else can affect my pension amount?

Yes - total contributions shown on Line (A) of your Annual Pension Statement are used to determine your monthly pension benefit at your Normal Retirement Age (65).
For example, if your total contributions are $60,000 ($37,500 annual salary x 20 years of participation x 8% combined contribution rate), then your target monthly pension would be $930 ($60,000/100 = $600 x $1.55). This amount will be reduced if you retire before your Normal Retirement Date, to take into consideration the extra payments you will receive. 
Your target monthly pension will also be affected by the normal form of pension payment you choose. See Forms of Payment.

What will my monthly pension be when I retire?

If you want to estimate your monthly pension at retirement, check out the Pension Estimate Calculator available on the member portal. Click on the member sign-in button at the top of this page to access the My InSite member portal and follow the instructions.

You can also request an estimate of your monthly pension amount by calling InBenefits at 905-889-6200 or toll-free at 1-800-287-4816.

How long will the Plan provide me with a pension?

You’ll receive a pension from the MSPP for the rest of your life, regardless of which type of pension you choose. Payments may then continue to your spouse if the form of pension payment you chose included a survivor pension. If no survivor pension is payable, the current value of any remaining payments will be paid to your designated beneficiary or estate. Note that the amount of your pension may increase or decrease depending on the financial health of your Plan during your retirement.

What is a “Past Service” Benefit?

If you are a member who joined the MSPP before April 1, 2017, you may be eligible for a Past Service Benefit for your years of service with your Contributing Employer before that employer joined the Plan. The maximum Past Service recognized under the Plan is seven years. Contact the InBenefits Call Centre to obtain more information. The Past Service Benefit is not available to members who joined the Plan on, or after, April 1, 2017.

I was working for my employer before the employer started contributing to the MSPP. When I joined the Plan I was given Past Service Benefits. How is that used in my pension calculation?

If you are a member who joined the Plan before April 1, 2017, you may have been provided with a Past Service Benefit for your years of service with your employer before that employer joined the Plan. The monthly amount of the Past Service Benefit is $26.60 per year of Past Service Credit to a maximum amount of $186.20 or 7 years. For example, if you were provided with 3 years of past service credit, your age 65 monthly target benefit would increase by $26.60 x 3 or $79.80. This would be in addition to your age 65 monthly target benefit calculated as $1.55/month for every $100 of contributions received. This amount may be pro-rated depending on your total contribution rate during the period.

Pre-retirement Death
Who qualifies as an eligible spouse?

Under Ontario pension law, your “spouse” is the person who is living with you, and is:

1. married to you, or

2. not married to you but has been: 
living in a conjugal relationship with you continuously for at least three years; or 
in a relationship of some permanence with you if you are the parents of a child, as defined in the Children’s Law Reform Act, (Ontario).

You can claim only one person as your spouse at any one time.

NOTE: If you work in a province other than Ontario, the definition of “spouse” may differ. Please contact InBenefits for more information.
What happens if I die before retirement?

If you die before retirement, your spouse, beneficiary or estate will receive a Death Benefit payable from the Plan. A Death Benefit is equal to the current value of your pension earned prior to your death.

If I die before I retire, what are my spouse’s options for the Death Benefit payable from the MSPP?

Your spouse can choose to receive the Death Benefit as:

• An immediate monthly target pension payable for your spouse’s lifetime, or

• A deferred monthly target pension beginning when your spouse reaches age 65 (or on a reduced early retirement basis anytime after age 55),

• A single lump sum cash payment (less applicable taxes) or

• A tax-free transfer to a non-locked-in RRSP.

Ready to Retire
My spouse has his/her own pension. Do I still have to choose a payment option from the MSPP that provides survivor benefits to my spouse if I die first?

Ontario law says you must choose a form of pension that provides a continuing amount of at least 60% of your pension to your spouse after your death, unless he/she waives this right. (This is different from the waiver for pre-retirement death benefits.) If your spouse provides a signed waiver to InBenefits before your pension begins, you may select any of the lifetime pensions. We strongly recommend that your spouse speak with a qualified, independent financial adviser or lawyer before waiving the right to a survivor pension.

Are taxes deducted from my pension? What about from my spouse’s survivor pension in the event I die?

Yes. Taxes are withheld from all monthly pensions based on the TD1 form completed by the recipient.

How do I apply for my pension?

For members who are at least age 55 and are considering retirement, you can call InBenefits to request a pension estimate, showing your monthly pension amount at the date or age requested. When you are ready to start your pension, please call InBenefits three months before your planned retirement date to request a formal pension application and the forms you will need to complete in order to retire.

You can also apply for your pension directly in the member portal. Click on the member sign-in button at the top of this page to access the My InSite member portal and follow the instructions.

Confirmation of your last day worked from your employer is also required before your pension can start.

When is my pension effective and when will the actual payment be made?

Your pension is payable on the latest of (i) the month following the month in which your application is received; (ii) the month following the month you last worked and (iii) the month for which the member elects to begin receiving the pension.

If you retire on your normal retirement date, your pension will be effective the first of the month coinciding with or immediately following the date you reach age 65. If you retire after age 65, the pension is effective the first of the month following your retirement date.

Pension payments are made on the first business day of the month via direct deposit or mailed cheque and will be paid for your lifetime and possibly the lifetime of your spouse, depending on the option you select.

What’s the normal retirement age in the Plan?

The normal retirement date is the first of the month coinciding with or immediately following your 65th birthday. You will be eligible for your full pension on this date.

Can I retire early?

You can start collecting a pension from the Plan as early as age 55. However, there will be a permanent adjustment of approximately 0.5% in the monthly pension amount for every month you start your pension before age 65, to account for the extra pension payments you will receive.

How late can I retire?

By law, your pension payments must begin no later than the December 1st of the calendar year in which you reach age 71.

What happens if I retire later?

You can work past age 65 and continue to accrue a pension, as long as you are working for a contributing employer. If you start your pension after age 65, your pension effective date is the first of the month after your retirement date. In any event, employee and employer contributions will stop on November 30th of the year you turn age 71.

Once I start to receive my pension, can I change the form of payment I chose?

Once a pension has commenced, you may not change or revoke the option you have chosen.

Relationship Breakdown
What happens if I experience a marriage breakdown?

Your pension is normally considered a family asset. This means any pension you earn while you and your spouse are married or living as a common-law couple may have to be divided between you.

The actual amount your former spouse receives will depend on your court order, family arbitration award or domestic contract. Keep in mind, it’s not the contributions that are split, but the pension earned based on those contributions.

The Trustees strongly recommend you get independent legal advice on how your separation or divorce may affect your pension benefits. Laws may differ in jurisdictions outside Ontario. You can call InBenefits to get more information on how to request a family law value of your pension benefits.

I am going through a breakdown of my spousal relationship. Is a Family Law Valuation the same as my Annual Pension Statement?

When going through a spousal relationship breakdown, a Family Law Valuation is required to determine the division of family assets that relate to your pension. Your Annual Pension Statement is not an acceptable document for this purpose. Ontario members can request a Family Law Valuation by visiting the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario website at www.fsrao.ca, and then providing InBenefits with completed FSCO Family Law Forms 1, 2 and 3. Please note: There is a fee of $600 plus HST for InBenefits to provide this calculation.

Why do I have to provide Divorce or Separation Documents to receive termination benefits?

Your spouse may have a right to a share of your pension benefits earned during the period of your spousal relationship. InBenefits requires divorce or separation documents to verify settlement of the spouse's rights and to protect itself from any future claim.

Temporary Absences From work
What are “self-payments”?

Self-payments are additional pension contributions you can make voluntarily to keep your pension growing in one of the following cases:

• You are on a layoff with recall rights or an approved leave of absence (such as sick leave, maternity or parental leave, workers’ compensation leave, etc.); or

• You stop working for a contributing employer and become employed by another contributing employer before having a break in service. 
You may also make self-payments for Temporary Absences from Work due to the Pandemic.

InBenefits will need to be advised by you and your employer if you are on an approved leave of absence. If so, we will contact you to confirm if you would like to make self-payments. Then, you will need to complete an Election to Contribute Form and return it to InBenefits.

If InBenefits’ records do not indicate that you have made any voluntary self-payments, the number under self-payments in your Annual Statement will be $0.

Temporary Absences due to Pandemic
Can my employer stop collecting and remitting contributions to the Plan until the pandemic is over?

Employers are required to collect and remit employee and employer contributions as per their respective collective agreements. The collective agreements generally do not allow for contribution holidays, although in some cases collective agreements have been amended to suspend pension contributions for a period of time. If contributions are suspended, then members will not accrue pension benefits for the period of the suspension. The MSPP has been amended to permit self-payment option for Temporary Absences from Work due to the pandemic. Please contact InBenefits for more information.

I can’t attend work because I have to look after my kids since their school has been closed. What will this mean to my MSPP pension?

Your MSPP pension is based on the employer and employee contributions received on your behalf. If no contributions are received on your behalf, your pension will not grow during this absence from work.

In response to the pandemic, the Ontario government introduced a new job-protected, emergency leave for employees who were unable to work for reasons related to COVID-19. Ontario employees are eligible for this unpaid leave if they are:

  • Under individual medical investigation, supervision or treatment for reasons related to COVID-19;
  • Acting in accordance with an order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act;
  • Directed by their employer not to attend work due to the employer’s concern that the employee may expose others in the workplace to COVID-19;
  • Providing care or support to family members for a matter related to COVID-19, including a school closure;
  • Directly affected by travel restrictions and cannot reasonably be expected to travel back to Ontario; or
  • In quarantine or self-isolation as a result of information or directions issued by a public health official, a qualified health practitioner, Telehealth Ontario, the province, the federal government, a municipal council, or a board of health.

Under the Employment Standards Act, your employer must continue to contribute to the MSPP on your behalf during a COVID-19 leave, unless you provide it with written notice that you do not intend to make your employee contributions for the period of your leave.

Termination from the plan
When am I eligible to apply for termination benefits under the MSPP?

A member of the Multi Sector Pension Plan who is under the age of 55, leaves his/her job or terminates from employment and does not contribute to the Plan for more than 24 months is considered terminated from the Plan. At that point InBenefits issues a termination statement package to the Plan member.

Do I have a deadline to apply and submit documents for my termination benefits?

Once you are terminated from the Plan after the 24 months Break In Service, you will receive a termination statement and a set of application forms for completion. You have 60 days (or 90 days depending on jurisdiction) from the date of the termination statement to return the completed forms and supporting documents to InBenefits. If your application and supporting documents are not received in by InBenefits within the specified time frame, your benefit will be deferred until retirement.

Do I have to pay any fee to receive termination benefits?

There is no administration fee to receive termination benefit payments.

I was not married when I joined the MSPP. Why do I need to provide a Marriage Certificate to receive a termination benefit?

A Marriage Certificate may be required to substantiate the proof of your change of family name when you apply for the termination benefits under your married name.

Can I defer my termination benefits?

Yes. You can decide to leave your termination benefits in the Plan and defer payment until you plan to retire any time after age 55. The normal retirement age under the MSPP is age 65.

Can I defer receipt of my pension beyond age 65?

Yes. However, by law, your pension payments must start no later than December 1 of the calendar year in which you reach age 71. Whether you defer receipt of your pension beyond age 65 or not, it will be calculated in the same way as a normal target pension, based on total contributions to the Plan on your behalf and the target benefit formula.

Can I apply for termination benefits after reaching the age of 55?

No. Plan members are not eligible for termination options after reaching age 55. They are eligible for retirement options after age 55.

What happens if I do not have the required Proof of Age documents?

Plan members sometimes may not have all the Proof of Age documents required for the completion of the application process. A Sworn Affidavit (statutory declaration under oath) document may be provided in this case. Please refer to the list of acceptable Proof of Age documents enclosed with your termination package.

Does InBenefits need a completed Declaration of Martial Status in order for termination benefits to be paid out?

Yes. If you are transferring the commuted value of your pension out of the MSPP, we do require a Declaration of Marital Status form. This form is also required if you are applying for a pension.

What are the payment options for my termination benefits and the associated tax consequences?

You may elect to receive a deferred pension payable from the MSPP at age 65 or as early as age 55, with reduction. Tax is withheld at source when your pension is paid each month.

Alternatively, you may choose one of the portability options. These options are exempt from tax because they involve transferring your benefit to an eligible retirement vehicle which includes:

-a registered pension plan of your new employer (if that plan accepts transfers in);

-a deferred life annuity (lifetime pension purchased from an insurance company);

-a Locked-in Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP); or,

-a Life Income Fund (LIF).

Plan termination
What happens to my pension if the MSPP is terminated?

The Multi-Sector Pension Plan is expected to operate indefinitely. However, if for some unlikely reason it is terminated, your pension benefits will be administered as mandated by the applicable Provincial or Federal legislation.