Pension coverage in Canada continues to drop | National Union of Public and General Employees

Pension coverage in Canada continues to drop

The percentage of workers covered by a pension plan has decreased from 40.6% of the Canadian workforce in 1998 to just 37.9% in 2013.

Ottawa (23 July 2015) — While the number of people covered by workplace pension plans in Canada remained virtually unchanged from 2012 to 2013 (6.2 million workers), the proportion of Canadian workers covered by a pension plan has decreased from 38.5% in 2012 to 37.9% in 2013, according to data released by Statistics Canada.

Rate continues to slide

Pension coverage rates in Canada have been declining for the past 15 years.  In 1998, 40.6% of Canadian workers were covered by a pension plan and in 2003, the coverage rate was 39.2%, a drop of 1.4% in the last decade.

More and more private sector workers face precarious retirement

Despite the growth of the Canadian workforce in the past decade, membership in both private-sector pension plans and defined-benefit pension plans fell in absolute terms.  Over 80,000 fewer private-sector workers had a workplace pension in 2013 than in 2008, and there were 155,000 fewer defined-benefit plan members in 2013 than in 2003.

In 2013, 4.4 million workers were in defined-benefit pension plans, down 0.5% from 2012. They accounted for 71.2% of employees with a workplace pension plan, compared with more than 84% a decade earlier.

Small decrease in number of women covered by pension plans

Although the participation of women in pension plans decreased by 0.5% from 2012, male and female membership remained fairly equal in 2013 at 3.1 million. Women represented 62.8% of membership in the public sector plans in 2013 and 35.9% in the private sector.

More information:

Statistic Canada: Pension plans in Canada, as of January 1, 2014 

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 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