You may be part of an employee group that has a special agreement with the plan. If so, contributions under the special agreement may be transferred to a locked-in retirement vehicle or used to increase your lifetime monthly pension.
What is a special agreement?
An employer participating in BC's Municipal Pension Plan may enter into a special agreement with the Municipal Pension Board of Trustees (board) under which employees contribute a fixed percentage of their salary and the employer contributes a fixed percentage to a separate account for each member that earns the fund rate of return. The rate of return is not guaranteed. The special agreement account balance grows in value over time, and the accumulated balance is paid or converted to a pension at retirement.
Are you covered by a special agreement?
Your Member's Benefit Statement will show whether you are part of a special agreement and will state both your and your employer’s contributions under the special agreement.
Special agreements negotiated before January 1, 2007
If your employer’s special agreement was negotiated before January 1, 2007, when you retire, the special agreement balance (consisting of employee and employer contributions with pension interest) can be used to increase your basic lifetime monthly pension or paid out to a locked-in retirement vehicle.
When you apply for your pension, we will send you two separate tables of pension options showing your monthly lifetime pension, one with the special agreement balance and the other without. You can use this information to help decide which option to choose.
Special agreements negotiated after January 1, 2007
If your employer negotiated a special agreement with the board after January 1, 2007, you can only take a lump-sum payment of your special agreement balance transferred into a locked-in retirement vehicle.
When you apply for your pension, we will send you your pension options based on your contributions to the plan excluding your special agreement balance, which will be paid to you as a lump sum.
When you can take your special agreement balance
Whether you're leaving your job or retiring from your job with an employer that participates in the plan, your special agreement balance can be transferred to a locked-in retirement vehicle. Depending on your agreement, you may also have the option to have the balance converted to a portion of your lifetime monthly pension benefit you can begin taking at retirement.
If you qualify, you may also be eligible for a small benefit refund for your entire pension benefit (the defined benefit and the special agreement portions). The Pension Benefits Standards Act considers special agreements to be a defined contribution provision, so your special agreement balance forms part of your entire pension benefit.
What happens to your special agreement balance if you die
If you die before you start your pension, your beneficiary is entitled to a lump-sum payment of your special agreement balance. If your beneficiary is your spouse, they may wish to use it to increase their monthly pension benefit. If you have a former spouse entitled to pre-retirement death benefits, they will also be entitled to a lump-sum payment of the applicable portion of your special agreement balance.