Half of all pension plan members are now women | National Union of Public and General Employees

Half of all pension plan members are now women

Participation of women in pension plans continues the trend upward which began in 1998.

Ottawa (17 May 2011) – Membership in workplace pension plans continued to edge upward for women while male participation fell for the first time since 2006.

In 2009, membership among women increased 1.6% to just over 2,998,000, while among men, it fell 1.0% to 3,026,000.  During the recent economic downturn, the number of male workers in the private sector fell by 4.5%, with the manufacturing sector accounting for almost half of the decline.  The long-term upward trend in pension plan participation for women began in 1998.

As of January 1, 2010, men accounted for 50.2% of total membership, down from 50.9$ on the same date a year earlier, while the percentage of women rose from 49.1 to 49.8 %, the highest ever.

Overall, pension plan membership edged up 0.2% in 2009 to more than six million, the slowest rate of growth in four years, according to Statistics Canada’s 2010 Pension Plans in Canada Survey released last week.

The entire increase came from the public sector, where pension plan membership rose 2.6% to just over three million. In the private sector, the number of members fell 2.1% to just under three million.

The shifts mark the first time the public sector accounted for more than half (50.2 percent) the total membership in pension plans. Public sector plans represented 46 percent of total membership a decade ago.

As of January 2010, there were 19,128 workplace pension plans registered in Canada, down slightly from 19,179 on the same date a year earlier. It was the second straight annual decline.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE