Trends in Occupational Pension Coverage in Ontario

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1 Trends in Occupational Pension Coverage in Ontario Kendra Strauss School of Geography University of Oxford South Parks Road Oxford OX1 3QY United Kingdom

2 Table of contents Trends in Occupational Pension Coverage in Ontario Executive Summary... 5 Introduction... 8 The role and importance of occupational pensions... 8 Pension coverage and labour market change in Ontario: current and future trends Occupational Pension Coverage in Canada and Ontario The national context Changing patterns of occupational coverage in Ontario Differences in coverage among groups of employees in Ontario Public Sector Private Sector The evolution of plan type and plan design The shift from DB to DC plans in Ontario Ontario in a comparative context Beyond the DB/DC nexus: hybrid and multi-employer plans and the role of RRSPs Changes to pension legislation in Ontario The changing context of occupational pension provision Demographic trends in Ontario Changes in employment and the structure of the economy in Ontario, Labour market participation and changing job types Changes in the structure of the Ontario economy Employment by size of firm Public sector employment in Ontario Unionisation in Ontario Hypothesising the evolution of occupational pensions in Ontario: contextual factors as drivers of change The changing nature of work: precarious employment, industrial decline, and the new economy A unique case? Understanding the pensions context in Ontario Conclusion Directions for future research References List of Figures Figure 1. Occupational pension plan coverage in Ontario. Source: Informetrica, Figure 2. Registered Pension Plan (RPP) members, public and private sectors, DB and DC plans, Ontario, Source: Statistics Canada Figure 3. Number of RPP plans by sector and type, Ontario jurisdiction (annual) Source: Statistics Canada Figure 4. Survey of Household Spending (SHS), household spending on pension contributions, percent of households reporting, Ontario (annual) Source: Statistics Canada Figure 5. RPP members, males and females, Canada, annual (persons) Source: Statistics Canada Figure 6. RPP members, males and females, by sector, Ontario, annual, Source: Statistics Canada

3 Figure 7. RPP members, males and females, by type of plan, Ontario, annual (persons) Source: Statistics Canada Figure 8. Pension coverage by firm size and unionisation. Source: Informetrica, Figure 9. RPP members, public sector, as a per cent of total RPP members, Ontario, (annual) Source: Statistics Canada and author s calculations Figure 10. Public sector occupational pension plan coverage, Ontario (annual) Source: Informetrica, Figure 11. Public sector occupational pension plan coverage by type of coverage, Ontario (annual) Source: Informetrica, Figure 12. RPP members, private sector, as a per cent of total RPP members, Ontario (annual) Source: Statistics Canada Figure 13. Private sector occupational pension plan coverage, Ontario (annual) Source: Informetrica, Figure 14. Private sector occupational pension plan coverage by type of coverage, Ontario (annual) Source: Informetrica, Figure 15. RPP members by plan type as a per cent of total RPP members, Ontario (annual) Source: Statistics Canada and author s calculations Figure 16. RRSP contributions, by contributor characteristics (age), Ontario, annual (per cent) Source: Statistics Canada Figure 17. Past and projected employment to population ratio, Canada. Source: Finance Canada Figure 18. Estimates of population by age group, median age, both sexes, Ontario (annual) Source: Statistics Canada Figure 19. Estimates of population by age group, both sexes, Ontario, annual (persons unless otherwise noted) Source: Statistics Canada Figure 20. Components of population growth, Ontario, annual (persons) Source: Statistics Canada Figure 21. Interprovincial in-, out- and net-migrants, Ontario, annual (persons) Source: Statistics Canada Figure 22. Employment (SEPH), unadjusted for seasonal variation, for selected industries, Ontario (annual), 1991 and Source: Statistics Canada Figure 23. Employment by enterprise size of employment (SEPH) for all employees, unadjusted for seasonal variation, Ontario, annual (persons) Source: Statistics Canada Figure 24. Public sector employment, Ontario, computed annual total, Source: Statistics Canada List of Tables Table 1. Registered Pension Plan coverage rates in labour force and paid work force, unemployment rates, per cent of paid workers in public and private sectors, by province of employment, Source: Statistics Canada Table 2. Occupational pensions and Ontario jobs: Source: Informetrica, Table 3. RPP members by sector and plan type, annual (persons), Ontario, Source: Statistics Canada and author s calculations Table 4. Estimates of RPP members, both sexes, by plan type, as a per cent of all employees, industrial aggregate including unclassified, Ontario, annual (persons), Source: Statistics Canada and author s calculations Table 5. Total RPP and other types of pension plans, by plan type, Ontario (annual) Source: Statistics Canada Table 6. Total members, RPP and other types of pension plans, by plan type, Canada (annual) Source: Statistics Canada Table 7. Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates, males, by age group and employment characteristics (full and part-time), Ontario (annual) Source: Statistics Canada and author s calculations Table 8. Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates, females, by age group and employment characteristics (full and part-time), Ontario (annual) Source: Statistics Canada and author s calculations

4 Table 9. Employment (SEPH), unadjusted for seasonal variation, by type of employee for selected industries, Ontario, annual (persons), Source: Statistics Canada and author s calculations Table 10. Occupational pension plan membership, Canada (annual) Source: Informetrica, Table 11. Per cent employment by enterprise size, North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), Ontario, annual (persons) Source: Statistics Canada and author s calculations Table 12. Public sector employment, Ontario, annual, Source: Statistics Canada and author s calculations Table 13. Union density by industry based on the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC), Ontario, annual (per cent), Source: Statistics Canada Table 14. Labour force survey estimates (LFS), per cent of unionised employees by sector, North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), annual Source: Statistics Canada and author s calculations

5 Executive Summary The future of occupational pensions in Ontario, especially traditional final salary schemes, is being questioned in the face of an ageing population and increasingly global economic competition. This report, part of the Ontario Expert Commission on Pensions consultation on the future of occupational pensions, looks at changing patterns of pension coverage in the public and private sectors and recent demographic and economic trends. It assesses the extent to which traditional pension arrangements have in fact declined, and for whom, and examines whether the pension context in Ontario is driving changes and what the implications are for occupational coverage going forward. It should be noted that this report is primarily based on available data from Statistics Canada (in particular, Pension Plans in Canada) that was published before data commissioned by the OECP. In some places, the available data are limited and these limitations are noted throughout. Readers should compare data sources and limits to other data produced for the OECP. 1. Trends in pension coverage in Ontario Coverage by registered pension plans (RPPs), in terms of the number of workers covered, has increased in recent years after a period of decline. The percentage of workers with access to an RPP has declined however, meaning that the growth in pension coverage is not keeping pace with the growth in employment. The number of pension plans has declined in both the public and private sectors, but public sector funds are fewer and larger. Ontario has a relatively low proportion of employees in the public sector: 18.8% in the year 2000 (Statistics Canada 2003). Pension coverage, however, is high. In the same year 82.6% of public sector employees were covered by RPPs; by 2006, the proportion had fallen slightly to 79.5%. In 2006 just under 60% of all RPP members in Ontario were in the private sector. By some measures, as a percentage of all employees, this group declined from just under 30% in 1992 to just under 25% in According to PPIC, defined benefit (DB) coverage in Ontario has declined since 1992 from 93% to 83% of all RPP members, while defined contribution (DC) coverage has increased from 6% to 15%. Declining pension coverage overall seems to be a function of decreasing DB coverage. As DB coverage falls, the number of workers covered by DC plans is not increasing as quickly as the total number of paid workers. RPP coverage for men fell between 1991 and 1997 from 49% to 42%: from 1997 to 2000, the rate stabilized at 42%, despite an increase in membership. Among women coverage peaked in Between 1993 and 1998, coverage rates fell slightly, from 42% to 40%, and then stabilized at 39% between 1998 and The number of other types of plans (hybrid, composite or combination, etc.) grew between , albeit with significant fluctuations, and the number of contributors and size of contributions to group and individual RRSPs increased. 5

6 2. Changing demographic trends and the structure of the economy The population of Ontario, like the rest of Canada, is ageing. Although the process is less pronounced than in other, especially European welfare states, it will still bring about significant changes in the demographic make-up of the province. In 1986 the median age for women was 32.8 (31 for men); by 2006 it had risen to 39.1 (37.3 for men). The number of people in the and age groups grew most rapidly during the same period while the slowest growth was among the under-24s. Ontario attracted inter-provincial migrants in the late 1980s and late 1990s, and experienced out-migration in the early 1990s and between , in line with the prevailing economic conditions in Ontario and growth in other provinces such as Alberta. The period from the early 1980s to the present was a volatile one for the Ontario economy. Two economic recessions interspersed with periods of rapid growth, the implementation of the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and increasing financial globalisation and integration have presented both opportunities and challenges in the context of employment and economic growth in the province. Labour market trends also reflect economic and social change: Men s labour market participation has fallen slightly (from 94% to 92% between 1990 and 2006), as has their share of full-time employment, but employment rates among men over 60 are increasing. Women s employment increased. Seventy-eight percent of women aged were in full-time employment in 2006 (compared with 75% in 1990). Youth employment has declined for females and males. The total number of salaried individuals fell (from 46% of all jobs to 38% of all jobs between 1991 and 2006) relative to the number of employees paid by the hour. Growth in the absolute number of jobs increased between 1991 and 2006 in all but three industries: manufacturing, logging, and utilities. Large firms (over 300 employees) employ the most people in Ontario, and they generated the most job growth between 2000 and Public sector employment is low in Ontario compared with other provinces. The rate of unionisation has not declined substantially, but there is variability between industries and sectors (the largest declines have been in sectors such as manufacturing). 3. Contextual factors as drivers of change When compared with shifts in the type of coverage in the US and the UK, Ontario has not experienced as dramatic a shift to DC-type plans as in the case of the former, nor as much of a drop in occupational coverage as in the case of the latter. The Ontario context has unique features: Deindustrialisation has not occurred as rapidly or dramatically; Overall levels of unionisation have remained fairly stable; and There may be a pensions culture that sustains support for traditional pension arrangements. 6

7 Nevertheless, the pressures on DB plans are significant. These include an ageing workforce, costs and funding challenges, the competitive disadvantage engendered by pension liabilities, and a lack of flexibility and portability. DB plan coverage in Ontario may continue to decline, but a large-scale retreat from DB plans is not inevitable. Factors that could encourage the continuation of DB RPP coverage include: Innovation in plan design to encourage risk-sharing, as in the case of multiemployer plans; Continued economic and job growth; and Policy and regulatory changes to increase the sustainability of DB plans. 7

8 Introduction This paper is part of the Ontario Expert Commission on Pension (OECP) s consultation process focusing on occupational pension provision. Its purpose is to examine the relationship between occupational pension plan coverage, changing demographics and labour market trends, and economic change in Ontario. It combines a data-driven overview of the context of pension provision in the province with a review of the relevant academic and policy literature. Data are taken from the Statistics Canada s CANSIM database, which provides time series and tables derived from the agency s key survey programs such as the Pension Plans in Canada (PPIC) survey, the Survey of Household Spending (SHS) and the Labour Force Survey (LFS). There are some limitations to these data when examining coverage rates in the Ontario jurisdiction. Membership is defined as employees in Ontario who are members of pension plans registered in Canada (i.e., any jurisdiction). In other parts of this paper, data is drawn directly from preliminary data reports to the OECP made available to the author, and the limits of these sources are noted throughout. Users should compare these data to those produced for the OECP. Where possible data are given for the two decades from 1986 to 2006, but in a number of cases the survey programs started after The goal is to present data on trends rather than to model relationships or investigate causality; as such, the analysis of changing patterns of pension coverage, limited by the unavailability of micro-data, sets out but does not seek to test hypotheses about the drivers of change. The role and importance of occupational pensions From the point of view of employers, occupational pensions have typically served two purposes: attracting and retaining skilled workers; and managing internal labour markets (especially the exit of older, less productive workers). For twentieth-century industrial unions pensions represented deferred income, and for workers they provided economic security in old age for those without significant sources of private wealth. During the post-war period, economic growth and the Fordist consensus between labour and capital meant that pension coverage increased between about 1950 and 1970 in countries such as Canada, the US and UK (Clark 2000). 1 Certain demographic, economic and social conditions prevailed in the first half of the 20 th century which, some have argued, created the illusion of sustainability in defined benefit (DB) occupational pensions (and in pay-as-you-go state pension systems) (see for example Clark 2000, Sass 2006). These included: Shorter average lifespans, meaning that workers were not expected to live (and draw pensions) significantly beyond the age of 65; A large pool of young workers, represented by the baby boom generation born after WWII; A period of expansion in the world economy that sustained relatively high rates of unionisation in many industrialised nations; and 1 The post-war period up to the early 1970s is sometimes called a perfect summer s day for pensions, referring to benign economic and demographic conditions, the growth and consolidation of the welfare state, and the social contract between employers and employees that made defined benefit occupational pensions the norm in many sectors. This of course ignores the fact that the social contract in pensions was based on a male breadwinner mode, which meant few women had access to occupational pensions. 8

9 The development of welfare state models which each embodied, to differing degrees, principles of equality and redistribution. What changed? After the mid-1970s levels of pension coverage began to decline in the Anglo-American countries, albeit at different rates. A range of contributing factors has been identified in the literature to explain the decline in especially DB occupational pension coverage. These include: A dramatic increase in longevity and growing numbers of older people relative to the general population (for example between 1986 and 2006 the fastest growing group in Ontario was the age cohort, see Figure 19); Ageing populations in most industrialised countries; Increased global competition from newly industrialised countries (NICs) with lower average wages and fewer employee benefits; A capital-labour imbalance due to the incorporation of the populations of lowwage countries within global labour markets, reducing the bargaining power of labour in wealthier nations; De-industrialisation, especially in countries such as the US and UK; The decline of unions; The bursting of the stock market bubble in 2002 and associated shocks, which reduced the value of DB plan assets; New accounting standards and increased regulation of DB plans, which increases costs to providers; and The decline of the single-employer career and increases in flexible and precarious employment (Evans 2007; Vosko 2002), making DB plans less attractive to employees and employers (Munell 2006). The question of the extent to which factors such as demographics and labour market change impacted on occupational pensions in Ontario, and whether pension coverage declined, and for whom, are addressed in this paper. Pension coverage and labour market change in Ontario: current and future trends While the state-sponsored occupational pension system in Canada, represented by the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) and Quebec Pension Plan (QPP), is generally thought to be on sound footing after the reforms of the 1990s (OECD 2006), occupational pension coverage in Ontario has been in decline. Although there has been an increase in the number of paid workers in Ontario covered by registered pension plans (RPPs), the percentage of workers covered by RPPs has continued to decline, suggesting that coverage is not keeping pace with employment growth. The number of workers with no access to an RPP is also increasing, albeit slowly. There has been a decline in the percentage of workers covered by DB plans but it has not been nearly as pronounced as in countries such as the US; nevertheless, while the shift from DB to DC may not be happening as quickly as predicted, some employers may be closing their DB plans without opening alternatives, and new employers may be electing not to offer RPPs. There is some evidence that other types of pension plans, such as hybrid plans and group RRSP arrangements, may be gaining in popularity (Pozzebon 2004). The gains in pension coverage up to the late 1990s were made predominantly by women, while 9

10 coverage fell among men. A gender pension gap persists, but it is dramatically smaller today than 20 years ago. Trends in pension coverage are underpinned by changing demographics in the province. The median age of Ontarians is increasing; more and more, the province will be relying on a relatively smaller pool of working age adults to support a growing cohort of retirees, including increasing numbers of very old people (those over the age of 90). An ageing society is likely to present challenges in a number of areas including economic stability and productivity, public spending on health care and services, and sustainability of the CPP/QPP and Old Age Security (OAS) supplement, as well as the future of occupational pensions in the public and private sectors (OECD 2005). The past two decades, during which the province experienced two recessions as well as periods of strong economic growth, have been turbulent ones for Ontario. There are suggestions that the most recent economic recovery has been job poor, creating fewer permanent full-time jobs than in past periods of growth. The manufacturing sector, while still the province s biggest employer, has seen the greatest decline in worker numbers, as well as declining levels of unionisation. Defined contribution pensions (DC), which are more flexible and portable than DB plans, are thought to be more suited to increasingly-common temporary, non-salaried and contract forms of employment. What do these trends in pension coverage, demographics, employment and economic growth mean for the future of occupational pensions in Ontario, especially DB plans? This paper suggests that continued decline is likely but not necessarily inevitable. A commitment to broad-based occupational pensions coverage, coupled with reforms to ensure the sustainability of existing plans going forward, could help to preserve the important role of RPPs in guaranteeing the economic well-being of Ontarians in retirement. 10

11 1. Occupational Pension Coverage in Canada and Ontario In Ontario, as in the rest of Canada, the most common occupational pension plans are registered pension plans (RPPs). Contributions for both employers and employees are tax-exempt and subject to annual limits, prescribed by law. Within Canada as a whole, private pension income from RPPs has become an increasingly important source of income for retirees. In Canada private pension income, comprising RPPs and Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) grew from 18% of total income in 1990 to 29% in 1999 for persons 65 and older (Statistics Canada 2003). In addition, over half (55%) of those in the same age group were receiving private pension income in 1999, up from 38% in More men than women receive income from private pension sources, and levels of income are higher, reflecting different patterns of labour market attachment and the gender wage gap in earnings among older people. The gap between women s pension income and men s pension income, also referred to as the gender gap in pensions, has been closing however, especially for younger women and women employed full-time. 1.1 The national context Looking at levels of national RPP coverage it is clear that membership among Canadian workers is affected by macroeconomic conditions. The country as a whole experienced a recession between 1991 and Weak labour markets and rising unemployment were accompanied by a shift in the types of jobs created. In the period from 1989 to 1997 almost all net employment growth was in the form of selfemployment or part-time paid work (Statistics Canada 2003). This had implications for pension plan membership, since the self-employed with unincorporated businesses are not eligible for RPP membership. Aggregate Canadian RPP membership fell during the same period, and coverage rates also decreased. The decline was attributed to decreased unionisation, employment shifts towards low coverage industries, increased competition among firms (possibly encouraging cuts in employee benefits), increases in employer contributions to public programs such as the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), and the increasing costs of DB plans (Morissette and Drolet 2001). The average number of RPP members rose from 1997 to 2000, but coverage rates remained relatively unchanged. RPP coverage among Canadians varies with gender and with age. Between 1986 and 2003, RPP coverage: Fell for young and prime-aged men (between the ages of 25 and 64); Changed little for young women (falling between 1986 and 1997 and then rising between 1997 and 2003); and Rose for prime-aged women (aged 25-64). These trends are borne out by data from the Longitudinal Administrative Databank (LAD), a longitudinal sample of Canadian tax filers, using as a metric the percentage of taxfilers who participate in RPPs (Morissette and Ostrovsky, 2006). There is considerable variation between provinces in the percentage of paid workers covered by RPPs (Table 1). In Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario, RPP coverage rates were lower than the national average since the proportion of private sector 11

12 employees in these provinces tends to be higher (Statistics Canada 2003). The highest provincial rates of coverage correspond with a high proportion of workers in the public sector. The difference between the percentage of the workforce covered by RPPs, and the percentage of the paid workforce covered by RPPs, stems from the fact that the category of paid workers excludes unpaid family workers, self-employed workers (unincorporated businesses), and the unemployed. Usually, in provinces with high unemployment rates, the difference between RPP coverage for paid workers and the labour force is higher (for example, Newfoundland and Labrador). Table 1. Registered Pension Plan coverage rates in labour force and paid work force, unemployment rates, per cent of paid workers in public and private sectors, by province of employment, Source: Statistics Canada Province of employment Per cent of labour force covered by RPPs Per cent of paid workers covered by RPPs Unemployment rate (per cent) Per cent of paid workers in the public sector Per cent of paid workers in the private sector Newfoundland and Labrador Prince Edward Island Nova Scotia New Brunswick Quebec Ontario Manitoba Saskatchewan Alberta British Columbia *Data drawn from CANSIM tables using the Pension Plans in Canada survey tool. There are some limitations to these data when examining coverage rates in the Ontario jurisdiction. Membership is defined as employees in Ontario who are members of pension plans registered in Canada (i.e., any jurisdiction). Ontario employee is an employee working in Ontario, including those employed in federally-regulated industries. 1.2 Changing patterns of occupational coverage in Ontario According to PPIC, the percentage of workers in Ontario covered by occupational pension plans decreased from just under 50% of the paid labour force in 1977 to just under 40% in 2005 (Figure 1). 12

13 Figure 1. Occupational pension plan coverage in Ontario. Source: Informetrica, Ontario; Occupational Pension Plan Coverage as a Per Cent of the Paid Labour Force, Both sexes Males Females Source: Calculations by Informetrica Limited based on Pension Plans in Canada, Statistics *Data drawn from CANSIM tables using the Pension Plans in Canada survey tool. There are some limitations to these data when examining coverage in the Ontario jurisdiction. Membership is defined as employees in Ontario who are members of pension plans registered in Canada (i.e., any jurisdiction). Ontario employee is an employee working in Ontario, including those employed in federally-regulated industries. Moreover, the difference in rates of coverage for men and women went from more than 15% in 1977 (when about 55% of paid male workers had employer coverage compared with just under 40% of women) to virtual convergence in Therefore, although there has been a recent upsurge in both the number of RPP members and plans (see Figures 2 and 3) and an improvement in women s occupational pension coverage, the proportion of RPP members (compared with the whole of the paid labour force) has declined. In other words, although the total number of RPP members has increased, it appears not to have increased by as much as the total number of employees in the province. It would thus appear that at least one trend in RPP coverage in Ontario mirrors Canada as a whole: increasing numbers of RPP members. It is also evident, however, that the proportion of workers covered by RPPs is declining in Ontario. As in the rest of the country, however, there is variation within this trend. 13

14 Figure 2. Registered Pension Plan (RPP) members, public and private sectors, DB and DC plans, Ontario, Source: Statistics Canada Public sector registered pension plans Members, both sexes Private sector registered pension plans Members, both sexes Defined benefit registered pension plans Members, both sexes Defined contribution registered pension plans Members, both sexes Data on registered pension plans are available biennially from January 1, 1974 to 1992 and annually afterwards. Data at January 1, 1988 have been revised. *Data drawn from CANSIM tables using the Pension Plans in Canada survey tool. There are some limitations to these data when examining coverage in the Ontario jurisdiction. Membership is defined as employees in Ontario who are members of pension plans registered in Canada (i.e., any jurisdiction). Looking at the number of individual RPP members in Ontario, between 1992 and 2006 the province experienced almost exactly the same decline in the numbers of private sector members and DB RPP members, but these trends were reversed between 2002 and 2003, perhaps as result of improving economic conditions in the province (Figure 2). It is interesting to note that a similar sharp increase occurred in the percentage of households reporting RRP contributions between 2001 and 2002 (Figure 3). Table 10 (section 2.2.2) gives an indication of which sectors posted the greatest average gains (and losses) in terms of occupational pension plan membership between 1999 and 2004: among the biggest winners were computer and electronic manufacturing, finance, insurance and real estate, the trade industries and some services, while utilities and electrical and transportation manufacturing lost significant numbers of members. Overall, the total number of plans decreased by 1,829 between 1992 and

15 Figure 3. Number of RPP plans by sector and type, Ontario jurisdiction (annual) Source: Statistics Canada Public sector plans Private sector plans DB plans DC plans Public sector plans Private sector plans DB plans DC plans Data on registered pension plans by jurisdiction of plan registration are available from January 1, 1992 on CANSIM. 2 Jurisdiction of plan registration refers to registered pension plans that are under Ontario provincial jurisdiction (e.g., excluding plans under federal jurisdiction with members in Ontario). Decreases in the number of plans may be attributable to: Firm closures resulting in the termination of plans; The consolidation of existing plans; The closure of plans in firms that remain viable; and, The closure of DB plans and their replacement with DC plans. Regarding the first hypothesis, the academic literature suggests that the birth and death rates of small firms are much higher than for large firms, and the size is more significant than sector or region in firm churning (Ray 1996). This could mean that the decline in the overall number of plans is due in part to deaths of small businesses, with new small businesses failing to provide RPP coverage to employees. Conversely, the increase in DC plans could be attributable either to new firms opting for DC plans, or to existing firms switching from DB to DC plans. Again, the data unfortunately do not provide insights into the reasons for the decline in the number of plans, nor the recent increase. It is likely, however, that private sector and DB coverage in Ontario are both affected by economic conditions within the province as the upsurge in the number of plans mirrors the recent economic recovery. The much smaller number of public sector pension plans indicates that in general, these plans are much larger than their private sector counterparts. Within Canada as a whole, public sector RPPs only accounted for 8% of all plans at the end of 2000, but 46% of RPP members (Statistics Canada 2003). In Ontario public sector plans accounted for less than 2% of all registered pension plans in 2000 but 39% of all members (CANSIM Table ). 15

16 A snapshot of more recent trends in household spending shows that the percentage of households making contributions to RPPs fluctuated significantly between 1997 and 2005 (Figure 4), from highs of 16.8% in 1997 and 2005 to a low of 12.5% in It would seem reasonable to assume that the increase in the number of households reporting spending on pension contributions correlates with the period of economic recovery following the recession of the first few years of the new millennium. Figure 4. Survey of Household Spending (SHS), household spending on pension contributions, percent of households reporting, Ontario (annual) Source: Statistics Canada Canada and Quebec Pension Plan Other government pension funds Other retirement or pension funds (excluding RRSPs) Canada and Quebec Pension Plan Other government pension funds Other retirement or pension funds (excluding RRSPs) Data for 1997 and 1998 reflect the revised estimation method implemented for the first time with the 1999 data. For this reason, 1997 and 1998 data presented in CANSIM do not match the originally-released data. 2 Data from the 2001, 2002, and 2003 Survey of Household Spending have been re-weighted using 2001 Census weights, using the weighting methodology described in the Survey of Household Spending User Guide, the section on 'Weighting.' Comparisons between years should generally be made with re-weighted data, although the differences between survey estimates from the old and new methodologies appear to be minimal at a summary level. Certain populations or variables, however, may be more strongly affected Differences in coverage among groups of employees in Ontario The literature on pension coverage in Canada as a whole points to variations over time in RPP coverage among different groups of employees such as women and men, employees of small and large firms, the self-employed, and the young and old. One of the most striking trends was the increase in women s pension coverage. First, a pronounced drop in coverage occurred for men between 1991 and 1997, when rates fell from 49% to 42%: from 1997 to 2000, the rate stabilized at 42%, despite an increase in membership (Statistics Canada 2003). Among women coverage peaked in 1993: between 1993 to 1998 coverage rates fell slightly, from 42% to 40%, and stabilized at 39% between 1998 and 2000 (Op cite). Men s RPP coverage was 54% in 16

17 1989 versus 42% for women (Franken and Maser 1992): it was more than eight percentage points higher than for women in 1991 but less than three percentage points higher by the year 2000 (Statistics Canada 2003). In Ontario, the number of women RRP members has increased rapidly since 1986, despite a flattening out in the mid-to-late 1990s (Figure 5). Figure 5. RPP members, males and females, Canada, annual (persons) Source: Statistics Canada Total of registered pension plans Members, males Total of registered pension plans Members, females 1 Data on registered pension plans are available biennially from January 1, 1974 to 1992 and annually afterwards. Data at January 1, 1988 have been revised. Data are not available for the years 1987, 1989 and Not only do more women have RPP coverage now than 20 years ago, the number of women with an RRP has increased in both the public and private sectors, albeit at a faster rate in the former, while the number of men with RPP coverage has declined in both sectors (Figure 6). 17

18 Figure 6. RPP members, males and females, by sector, Ontario, annual, Source: Statistics Canada Public sector registered pension plans Members, males Public sector registered pension plans Members, females Private sector registered pension plans Members, males Private sector registered pension plans Members, females 1 Data on registered pension plans are available biennially from January 1, 1974 to 1992 and annually afterwards. Data at January 1, 1988 have been revised. Data are not available for the years 1987, 1989 and Finally, women s DB coverage has increased to the point where the gap between the number of men and women with DB coverage is small in the context of all DB RPP members (Figure 7). The number of women with DC plans has also increased, as has the number of male DC RPP members, but the trend is somewhat different; rather than moving towards convergence with the number of men covered by DC plans, the number of women covered by DC plans mirrors the upward trend, but at a parallel, lower level. 18

19 Figure 7. RPP members, males and females, by type of plan, Ontario, annual (persons) Source: Statistics Canada Defined benefit registered pension plans Members, males Defined benefit registered pension plans Members, females Defined contribution registered pension plans Members, males Defined contribution registered pension plans Members, females 1 Data on registered pension plans are available biennially from January 1, 1974 to 1992 and annually afterwards. Data at January 1, 1988 have been revised. Data are not available for the years 1987, 1989 and *Data drawn from CANSIM tables using the Pension Plans in Canada survey tool. There are some limitations to these data when examining coverage in the Ontario jurisdiction. Membership is defined as employees in Ontario who are members of pension plans registered in Canada (i.e., any jurisdiction). Although smaller, the gender pension gap persists. The continued gap may be attributable to higher rates of part-time employment among women and employment in sectors, such as services, with lower rates of unionisation and pension coverage. It also varies by age: the gap is much larger between older men and women. The decline in the gender pension gap in Canada as a whole is likely due to increased female employment, greater numbers of women being employed in the public sector, where coverage rates tend to be higher, and to increased part-time and service sector work among men. So the decline in RPP coverage is in many ways the story of declining coverage among men, perhaps reflecting the decline in traditional unionised jobs in sectors such as manufacturing and mining. Again looking at Canada as a whole, coverage varies along other axes of differentiation. For example, in 1989, paid workers aged had the highest rates of RPP coverage, whereas young workers (between 20-24) had the lowest rates of coverage, reflecting higher levels of part-time work (Franken and Maser 1992: 3). Higher income workers (making over $60,000 per annum) had significantly higher rates of coverage than those earning less than $20,000, at 73% versus 27%. Finally, small firms are much less likely to offer RPP coverage. In 1989 fewer than 15% of firms with fewer than 20 employees offered pension plans, as opposed to 72% for firms with 500 employees or more. 19

20 Similar patterns of coverage are in evidence in Ontario. As Table 2 illustrates, between 1999 and 2005 those who earned low incomes (less than $10 per hour or under $20,000 per annum) or worked for the smallest firms were significantly less like to have pension coverage than those on higher incomes and employees of larger organisations. Part-time workers also ad very low levels of coverage during this period. Unionisation is a significant predictor of pension coverage: those with union coverage or collective bargaining rights were more than twice as likely to have be covered by an RPP (see Figure 8). Table 2. Occupational pensions and Ontario jobs: Source: Informetrica, Occupational Pensions and Ontario Jobs: Per Cent of Jobs with Occupational Pensions Number of Jobs of Jobs of Paid Employment Total 6,889,000 33% 40% Job Hourly Wage Group under $10 1,593,000 8% 8% $10-$20 2,371,000 38% 40% $20-$30 1,167,000 64% 66% $ ,000 69% 70% Annual Earnings under $20,000 2,699,000 14% 15% $20,000- $40,000 1,570,000 49% 51% $40,000- $60, ,000 69% 71% $60,000- $80, ,000 77% 78% $80, ,000 69% 70% Sex Female 3,290,000 30% 36% Male 3,599,000 35% 44% Public/Private Sector Private 5,794,000 26% 33% Public 1,095,000 68% 70% Firm Size Less than 20 2,085,000 5% 10% 20 to 99 1,015,000 25% 28% 100 to ,000 44% 47% 500 to ,000 53% 55% 1000 and over 2,041,000 59% 62% Full-Time or Part-Time Full-time 4,961,000 42% 50% Part-time 1,602,000 10% 12% Health Coverage No 2,577,000 7% 7% Yes 3,131,000 66% 68% Union or Collective Agreement? covered 1,476,000 74% 76% not covered 4,231,000 27% 28% Source: Calculations by Informetrica Limited based on the Statistics Canada, Survey of Labour Income Dynamics 20

21 These data suggest that the most important factors for pension coverage are thus remuneration/job seniority, firm size and unionisation. They do not offer insights into the ways in which these factors intersect with one another: As Figure 8 illustrates, for example, unionisation is a better predictor of pension coverage than firm size, in that unionised small firms (even those with fewer than 20 employees) have higher than average levels of pension coverage. The figures do suggest that both decreasing unionisation and retrenchment among large firms could affect levels of pension coverage in Ontario. It also appears that low-wage employees working for small firms are least likely to have pension coverage, with implications for the welfare of these workers in old age. Figure 8. Pension coverage by firm size and unionisation. Source: Informetrica, Pecent of Jobs with Pension Coverage by Firm Size and Unionization, % of Paid Employees reporting Coverage 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% Less than to to to and over 0% Unionized * Not Unionized * Covered by a collective agreement Source: Calculations by Informetrica Limited based on the Statistics Canada, Survey of Labour Income Dynamics Unionization Public Sector Ontario is an interesting case both in the context of public sector pension coverage in Canada, and internationally. The province has a relatively small proportion of all employees in the public sector: in the year 2000, 81.2 % of paid employees were in the private sector and 18.8% were in the public sector (Statistics Canada 2003). Pension coverage within the public sector is high, however. In the year % of employees in the public sector were covered by RPPs; by 2006, the proportion had fallen slightly to 79.5% (Statistics Canada CANSIM Tables , and author s calculations). This is commensurate with the UK, where over 80% of public 21

22 sector workers are covered by an occupational pension, the majority of which are unfunded DB plans (Pensions Commission 2004). In Canada as a whole the number of RPP members in the public sector declined between 1991 and 2000 by three percentage points, compared with a seven percentage point increase in private sector RPP membership, although some of the increase in the private sector has been the result of privatisation (for example, of Ontario Hydro in 2000) (Statistics Canada 2003). In Ontario more recent data paint a slightly different picture: the number of public sector RPP members increased by 103,003 (from 799, 264 to 902, 267) between 2000 and 2006, while the number of RRP members in the private sector increased by only 45,453 (from 1,237,502 to 1, 282, 955) during the same period (Statistics Canada CANSIM Table ). So in recent years the number of RPP members in Ontario has increased in both sectors but the gains have been smaller in the private sector, while the proportion of RPP members to all employees has been falling in both sectors. Public sector RPP coverage in Ontario has been increasing as a proportion of total RPP coverage in the last three to four years, but still has not recovered the levels seen in the mid-1990s (Figure 9). Figure 9. RPP members, public sector, as a per cent of total RPP members, Ontario, (annual) Source: Statistics Canada and author s calculations Public sector RRP members as a percentage of total RRP members 1 Data on registered pension plans are available biennially from January 1, 1974 to 1992 and annually afterwards. Data at January 1, 1988 have been revised. Data are not available for the years 1987, 1989 and *Data drawn from CANSIM tables using the Pension Plans in Canada survey tool. There are some limitations to these data when examining coverage in the Ontario jurisdiction. Membership is defined as employees in Ontario who are members of pension plans registered in Canada (i.e., any jurisdiction). Moreover, public sector RPP members as a proportion of all employees started to fall in the mid-to-late 1990s (Figure 10). Although there has been a slight recent increase (and although the percentage is higher now than it was in the 1970s), public sector RPP members still represent a smaller proportion of the paid labour force than they did throughout most of the last decade. This suggests that the recent economic 22

23 recovery in Ontario has not generated large numbers of public sector jobs with pension rights. Figure 10. Public sector occupational pension plan coverage, Ontario (annual) Source: Informetrica, Ontario-Public Sector; Occupational Pension Plan Coverage as a Per Cent of the Paid Labour Force, Source: Calculations by Informetrica Limited based on Pension Plans in Canada, Statistics Canada Both sexes Males Females *Data drawn from CANSIM tables using the Pension Plans in Canada survey tool. There are some limitations to these data when examining coverage in the Ontario jurisdiction. Membership is defined as employees in Ontario who are members of pension plans registered in Canada (i.e., any jurisdiction). Ontario employee is an employee working in Ontario, including those employed in federally-regulated industries. In terms of the evolution of the type of coverage prevalent in the public sector, defined benefit plans are still overwhelmingly the norm. DC and mixed plans accounted for no more than 1% of all plans in the public sector between 1985 and So while public sector DB plan membership has declined relative to the paid labour force, the reduction in the number of DB plan members has not been compensated by an increase in those covered by DC plans. 23

24 Figure 11. Public sector occupational pension plan coverage by type of coverage, Ontario (annual) Source: Informetrica, Occupational Pension Coverage of Public Sector Ontario Employees (All Plan Jurisdictions) by Benefit Type and Year % Share 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% DB DC or Other Year Source: Calculations by Informetrica Limited based on PPIC * There are no data for 1991 *Data drawn from CANSIM tables using the Pension Plans in Canada survey tool. There are some limitations to these data when examining coverage in the Ontario jurisdiction. Membership is defined as employees in Ontario who are members of pension plans registered in Canada (i.e., any jurisdiction). Ontario employee is an employee working in Ontario, including those employed in federally-regulated industries Private Sector Although the private sector is substantially larger than the public sector in Ontario, it is comprised of fewer large organisations and includes many more small employers. For example in 2006 less than 1% of those employed in public administration worked for organisations employing fewer than 49 employees and this proportion had declined since the year 2000 (Statistics Canada CANSIM Table ). In Canada as a whole the number of small occupational pension plans (those with fewer than 99 members) decreased by seven percentage points from , which was almost entirely attributable to a decline in private sector plans (Statistics Canada 2003). In the year 2006 just under 60% of all RPP members in Ontario were in the private sector (Figure 12), a decline of about two percentage points since Private sector RPP membership is proportionally about the same now as in the mid 1990s. 24

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