Facts about the plan
Learn why BC's Municipal Pension Plan is valuable, sustainable and beneficial to members, their families, communities and the province as a whole.
BC's Municipal Pension Plan members are vital to British Columbia and care deeply about the work they perform for our communities. Members include firefighters, police, nurses and other healthcare workers, city workers, non-teaching staff at schools and colleges, community social service providers and more. British Columbians count on our members every day, and our members count on the Municipal Pension Plan to help them save for their retirement years.
Here are some facts about the plan:
Plan design and governance
- The largest pension plan in Western Canada, with more than $59 billion in assets.
- Jointly trusteed by both employer and member representatives, who share the governance of the plan.
- The plan is a pre-funded pension plan and is designed so each generation pays in advance for its own basic pension benefits.
- For every dollar a member contributes to the plan, the employer also makes a contribution.
- The plan’s sustainability is monitored and managed through its valuation process. An actuarial valuation is performed at least once every three years. If a valuation reports an unfunded liability, then member and employer contribution rates are increased equally to pay off the unfunded liability over 15 years. The intent is to keep the plan at or near a funding ratio of 100 per cent.
- Cost-of-living adjustments to retiree pensions and access to group health and dental coverage are not pre-funded, and therefore not guaranteed. These are contingent benefits and are offered to retired plan members provided they can be sustainably funded.
- The plan is subject to various legislation, including:
- Pension Benefits Standards Act
- Public Sector Pension Plans Act
- Income Tax Act
- Wills, Estates and Succession Act
- Family Law Act
Dollars and good sense
- The plan’s 2018 valuation determined it has a funded ratio of 105.1 per cent on the basis that current contributions continue.
- In addition, the rate stabilization account, which was set up to help offset potential future contribution rate increases, has a balance of about $2.5 billion.
- In 2019, the market value of the plan’s investment portfolio was more than $59 billion and earned a net return of 12.5 per cent.
- The plan paid out over $2 billion in pensions, benefits and expenses in 2019.
- The average annual pension paid by the plan in 2019 was $18,338.
- More than 105,000 retired Municipal Pension Plan members are receiving their pensions.
- Approximately 75 per cent of the cost of pensions paid by the plan comes from investment returns.
- Use of professional investment managers and the scale of the plan means the Municipal Pension Plan can achieve returns for members often better than members could achieve investing on their own.
- Municipal Pension Plan membership includes approximately 210,000 active members working for about 930 employers. Seventy-three per cent of active members are female. This means the Municipal Pension Plan is helping tens of thousands of BC women save for their retirement years.
For more information, read the latest annual report
Doing it right: significant economic and social benefits for BC
- Retirees with pensions from BC's Municipal, Public Service, College and Teachers’ pension plans (BC’s public sector pension plans) supported $1.66 billion in provincial GDP and 31,000 jobs in 2014 by spending their pensions locally.
- The strength of BC’s public sector pension plans helps the province to maintain an AAA credit rating.
- Individual plan members save more for retirement and have a lower cost of plan administration than typical retirement savers in BC.
- In 2014, BC’s public sector pension plans made in excess of $3 billion in payments to plan members and their beneficiaries, and 97 per cent of those were BC residents. The payments supported $1.66 billion in provincial GDP and 31,000 jobs.
- Pension income from BC public sector plans generated $310 million in total government tax revenue.
- Pension-income spending has as strong an economic impact on provincial GDP as the forestry and logging industry.
- Research has proven that retirees with stable, predictable incomes are a benefit for their communities and local businesses, because they spend their pension dollars where they live.
 Urban Futures. 2016. Assessing the Economic Impacts of Pension-Income Spending in British Columbia. Vancouver, BC: BC Pension Corporation, 1, 7.
 de Jong, Michael. 2013. Letter To The Editor: Public Sector Pensions. Vancouver, BC: Vancouver Sun.
 The Conference Board of Canada. 2013. Economic Impact of British Columbia’s Public Sector Pension Plans. Ottawa, ON: BC Pension Corporation.
 Urban Futures. 2016. Assessing the Economic Impacts of Pension-Income Spending in British Columbia. Vancouver, BC: BC Pension Corporation, 1.
 Ibid., 1.
 Ibid., 14.
 Ibid., 12-13.