On October 1, 2008, a long-awaited initiative was launched in the Québec community sector. In response to a strongly felt need, the Québec community movement created a supplemental pension plan for its workers. Above all, the new RRFS-GCF Plan is adapted to the real-life needs and operations of community and women’s groups.
The Community and Women’s Groups Member Funded Pension Plan is a collective tool for improving salaried community workers’ income security upon retirement and, consequently, enhancing the sustainability of group action.
The RRFS-GCF pension committee has prepared this site in order to answer your questions and, if you do not already belong to the Plan, to encourage you to join us.
Who can become a member of the Pension Plan?
The Plan is open to community and women’s groups across Québec, including social economy and cultural-sector groups. The pension committee approves the participation in the Plan of each eligible group, based on a set of predetermined criteria.
What are the advantages of participating in the Pension Plan?
- Members are assured of a decent, lifelong retirement income.
- Joining the Plan is a wise decision, seeing that unlike RRSP income, the Plan benefits are guaranteed.
- The Plan administration is aligned with values emphasizing respect for democracy and people’s rights. Plan investments are aimed at generating the necessary returns to pay the promised pension benefits, while complying as closely as possible with the community sector’s social, environmental and governance values.
- The Plan is flexible. Each participating organization sets its total contribution rate (between 2% and 18% of salary). The rate can be raised or lowered on a annual basis.
Participating in the Plan also allows you to help improve the working conditions of people in the community sector and, by extension, facilitate employee recruiting and retention.
What are the main features of this made-to-measure Pension Plan?
The Plan offers security and stability by guaranteeing payment of a pension for life regardless of Plan performance. This means that even after a crisis year like 2008, pensions already being paid under the Plan will continue to be paid without reduction, a major advantage over an RRSP.
The guaranteed pension formula (every $100 paid into the Plan buys a yearly pension of $10 as of age 65) was determined on a deliberately prudent basis, in addition to the fact that part of the contribution is used to establish a provision that will serve for eventual indexation.
Respect of group autonomy
Each employer group decides whether to participate in the plan (30% of salaried workers can block participation). The group also chooses the employer/member contribution rates (notwithstanding that the employer contribution rate must be equal to or greater than the member contribution), which can be increased or decreased annually, as required.
The risk is borne collectively by Plan members. Part of the contributions paid goes into an indexation reserve which, in harder times, serves to absorb shocks, and, when the financial situation is good, is available for pension-indexing. If, under difficult circumstances, this prudent approach and the indexation reserve prove insufficient to attenuate repercussions, active members will have to pay higher contributions to offset a deficit, but pensions already being paid and the vested benefits of members, pensioners and beneficiaries will not be affected in any way.
How does an organization join the Plan?
The democratic procedure for joining the Plan is as follows:
- Your board of directors resolves to join the Plan.
- Following an information and consultation period, the board resolution has to be approved by the labour union or, if there is no union, by at least 70% of the employees.
- The organization and its salaried employees decide on the total contribution rate and the breakdown of this rate between the employer and members. (The employer contribution has to be at least half of the total contribution.)
- The organization completes the membership guide and contacts the Plan secretariat.
List of documents available in English
- The Plan Enrolment Guide and Form.
- Plan Presentation (May2012) The PowerPoint Presentation of the Plan used during the Information Sessions.
- Plan Promotional Pamphlet A brief overview of the advantages of becoming a member of the Pension Plan.
- Plan Promotional Brochure A summary of the Plan’s overall structure, set-up and functioning.
- Plan Promotional DVD A 5 minute introduction to the Pension Plan
The Plan Secretariat will supply you upon request and at no charge with copies of the Pamphlet, Brochure or DVD as long as supplies last.
Plan promotional Web vignette
The Plan Secretariat will send you upon request a Web vignette containing the Plan Website link should you wish to upload it on your group’s Website.
Information sessions are available upon request according to the Plan’s human resources.