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If you are represented by a Participating Union, you join the Defined Benefit (DB) pension plan.

If you are not represented by a Participating Union, you may choose to join either the Defined Benefit (DB) plan or the Defined Contribution (DC) plan.

Once you have decided to join a plan, you remain in the plan as long as you are employed with Canadian Blood Services. The decision regarding which plan to join is an important one, and you should read the material provided in the booklets and on this web site carefully to ensure that you make the decision that is right for you. You may also wish to consult your personal financial planner before deciding which plan to join.

The information provided below may help you make this important decision.


What is the difference between the DB and DC plans?

  • A DB (defined benefit) plan is one where the pension you ultimately receive when you retire is based on a specified formula. This means the level of your retirement benefit is guaranteed.

    • Under the Canadian Blood Services DB plan, your monthly pension equals 1.6% of your best average earnings (the average of your highest five consecutive years' earnings) multiplied by your years of pensionable service (years you are a member of and contributing to the pension plan).

    • As of January 1, 2012, as a member of the plan you contribute 5.9% of your pensionable earnings to the plan each year. Canadian Blood Services contributes an amount equal to 7.9% of your pensionable earnings to the plan as well.

    • The Trustees of the Canadian Blood Services Defined Benefit Pension Plan are entirely responsible for investing the pension money and will provide you with the promised amount, regardless of how well the investments perform.

  • A DC (defined contribution) plan is one where the amount of your contribution to the plan is fixed.

    • You choose how to invest your contributions, along with Canadian Blood Services contributions to your account, from a variety of investment options. You can change your investments as often as you like and you should review them periodically to ensure they are appropriate for your age and your tolerance for risk.

    • As a result, your pension depends on how well your investments perform. Under the Canadian Blood Services DC plan, you contribute 4.75% of your earnings (excluding bonuses, shift premiums, and overtime pay) to the plan each year. Canadian Blood Services contributes 6.75% of your earnings to the plan as well.

  • Under the DB plan, the amount you and Canadian Blood Services are required to contribute depends on the total cost of the plan and may change periodically. If the total cost of the plan is between 9.5% and 11.5% of pensionable earnings (the earnings recognized for pension purposes of all Canadian Blood Services employees who are members of the plan), then you contribute 4.75% of your earnings and Canadian Blood Services contributes the difference, up to 6.75% of pensionable earnings. If the cost rises above 11.5% of pensionable earnings, the plan members and Canadian Blood Services will share the additional cost equally. If the cost falls below 9.5%, the members and Canadian Blood Services will benefit equally from the reduction below that amount. Under the DC plan, the contributions you and Canadian Blood Services are required to make remain fixed.

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Summary and comparison of plan features

  Defined Benefit (DB) Plan Defined Contribution (DC) Plan
Eligibility requirements Same as DC plan Same as DB plan
Reasons why you may not wish to join Same as DC plan Same as DB plan
Your required contributions As of January 1, 2012, you are required to contribute 5.9% of your annual earnings. This amount may increase or decrease if total plan costs increase or decrease. You are required to contribute 4.75% of your annual earnings to the plan. This amount is fixed and will not change.
Canadian Blood Services contributions As of January 1, 2012, 7.9% of pensionable earnings. This amount may increase or decrease if total plan costs increase or decrease. Canadian Blood Services contributes 6.75% of your earnings to the plan. This amount is fixed and will not change.
Your retirement benefit You receive a guaranteed retirement benefit calculated according to a set formula based on your earnings and years of service. Your retirement benefit depends entirely on the contributions you and Canadian Blood Services make to the plan and the performance of the investments you choose.
Level of risk/return Low - your pension amount is guaranteed.

Higher than DB plan - if your investments perform poorly, you may receive a retirement benefit less than what you would have received under the DB plan.

However, if your investments perform well, your benefit may be higher at retirement than the DB pension would have been.

Maximum contribution amount None. However your RRSP contribution room will be reduced by your Pension Adjustment. The contributions you and Canadian Blood Services make to your plan cannot exceed your RRSP limit (18% of your previous year's earnings, to a maximum of $19,000 in 2006, $20,000 in 2007and indexed annually thereafter).
Vesting period Same as DC plan. Same as DB plan.
Responsibility for investment choices The Trustees of the Canadian Blood Services Defined Benefit Pension Plan are entirely responsible for investing the pension money and will provide you with the promised amount, regardless of how well the investments perform. You choose how to invest your contributions, along with Canadian Blood Services contributions, from a variety of investment options. You can change your investments as often as you like and you should review them periodically to ensure they are appropriate for your age and your tolerance for risk.

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Should I join the Defined Benefit Plan or the Defined Contribution Plan?

We can't advise you about which plan to join. It is your personal choice and you may want to contact a financial advisor to guide you.

However, here are some issues you may want to consider when making your choice:

Are you represented by one of the Participating Unions?

  • Canadian Blood Services employees represented by one of the Participating Unions join the DB plan when they become eligible or are required to participate in a pension plan. Other employees may join either plan.

How much risk are you willing to accept?

  • Under the DC plan, you will assume all of the investment risk. If your investments perform poorly, you may receive a smaller pension than you might have under the DB plan. If your investments perform well, you may receive a larger pension than under the DB plan. If you choose the DB plan, you are guaranteed a pension amount calculated according to your earnings and your years of service. If the DB plan investments perform well, the surplus may be used to improve benefits, to reduce contributions or may be held as a reserve against fluctuations in investment performance.

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DC plan contact information

  • The Canadian Blood Services Defined Contribution (DC) Pension Plan is administered by Canadian Blood Services. Your contributions and Canadian Blood Services contributions to the plan are invested in funds made available to you through Manulife Financial. Third-party administration services for the DC pension plan are provided for Canadian Blood Services by Morneau Shepell Ltd.

  • If you have questions about the DC pension plan, contact Morneau Shepell Ltd at 1-877-252-4442 or your Human Resources department.


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