Superannuation administration manual: Special bulletin 2019-001

Subject: 2019 pension contribution rates, thresholds, indexation and calculations

December 31, 2018

This superannuation administration manual special bulletin supersedes all other communications received in relation to this subject. It is important to note that confirmation was received by the Treasury Board Secretariat that only two decimal points are to be used in the calculations described in this special bulletin.

1. Purpose

The purpose of this bulletin is to provide information to separate employers and departments regarding the new contribution rates, thresholds, indexation and calculations for 2019. Departments may use this information to respond to employee questions with respect to payroll deductions. Separate employers will use the information to program their payroll systems and ensure accurate calculation and remittance of both employer and employee Public Service Superannuation Act (PSSA) contributions.

The changes discussed in this bulletin cover the following areas:

  • the employee contribution rates to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) and the change in average maximum pensionable earnings (AMPE) for the 2019 taxation year;
  • the Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF) and the Retirement Compensation Arrangement (RCA) employee contribution rates for the 2019 taxation year;
  • the PSPF and RCA employer contribution rates for the government and the public service corporations for the 2019 taxation year;
  • the PSSA salary threshold for the 2019 taxation year;
  • the rate of pension indexing for the 2019 taxation year.

2 Pension contribution rates, thresholds, indexation and calculations

2.1 Canada Pension Plan and Quebec Pension Plan

For the 2019 taxation year, the contribution rate for the CPP is set at 5.10% of contributory earnings. The contribution rate for the QPP remains at 5.40% of contributory earnings.

The 2019 taxation year changes related to CPP and QPP are:

  • Yearly maximum CPP and QPP pensionable earnings (YMPE): $57,400.00
  • Yearly CPP and QPP basic exemption: $3,500.00
  • Yearly maximum CPP and QPP contributory earnings: $53,900.00
  • Yearly maximum CPP contributions: $2,748.90
  • Yearly maximum QPP contributions: $2,910.60
  • Five-year average maximum pensionable earnings (AMPE) for 2019 taxation year: $55,420.00

The AMPE is calculated based on the average of the yearly maximum pensionable earnings (YMPE) for the current year plus the four previous years. The annual CPP and QPP reduction now referred to as bridge benefit, payable under the PSSA for individuals who retire in 2019 will be based on the lesser of the five-year average salary, or the AMPE at the earlier of the termination date, OR the date the employee reaches age 65, OR the date the employee becomes entitled to receive CPP and QPP disability benefits.

2.2 Public Service Pension Fund employee contribution rate

All new employees who become public service pension plan members on or after January 1, 2013 must contribute at a different rate than employees who became public service pension plan members prior to January 1, 2013.

Effective January 1, 2019, the employee contribution rates are:

  • For plan members who were participating in the plan prior to 2013
    • 9.56% on pensionable earnings up to the YMPE ($57,400.00)
    • 11.78% on pensionable earnings in excess of the YMPE ($57,400.00).
  • For new plan members on or after January 1, 2013
    • 8.68% on pensionable earnings up to the YMPE ($57,400.00)
    • 10.18% on pensionable earnings in excess of the YMPE ($57,400.00).

2.3 Salary threshold under the Public Service Superannuation Act

For 2019, employees whose annual salary rate is in excess of $169,300.00 must contribute to the PSPF in respect of salaries below this limit and to the RCA account in respect of those salaries above the limit.

2.4 Retirement Compensation Arrangement employee contribution rate

For 2019, employees whose annual salary rate is in excess of $169,300.00 must contribute to the RCA in respect of the portion above limit.
Since salaries that exceed the threshold under the PSSA are also in excess of the YMPE, the contributions will be deducted at the same rate as those contributions payable under the PSSA.

Effective January 1, 2019, the employee contribution rates are:

  • For plan members who were participating in the plan prior to 2013
    • 11.78% on pensionable earnings in excess of the salary threshold ($169,300.00).
  • For new plan members on or after January 1, 2013
    • 10.18% on pensionable earnings in excess of the salary threshold ($169,300.00).

2.5 Employer contribution rate

The Public Service Superannuation Act (PSSA) was amended effective January 1, 2013 to allow the contribution rates for all active PSSA members to continue to gradually increase over time to attain an employer to employee cost-sharing ratio of 50:50. This statute enabled the following pension contribution rates:

2.5.1 Public Service Pension Fund

The employer contribution rates, effective January 1, 2019, are as follows:

  • For plan members who were participating in the plan prior to 2013
    • For current contributions, single rate leave without pay (LWOP) and single rate service buybacks, the employer's rate is 1.01 times the employee's single rate of contributions.
    • For double rate LWOP and double rate service buybacks, the employer's rate is 0.01 times the employee's double rate of contributions.
  • For new plan members on or after January 1, 2013
    • For current contributions, single rate leave without pay (LWOP) and single rate service buybacks, the employer's rate is 1.00 times the employee's single rate of contributions.
    • For double rate LWOP and double rate service buybacks, there is no employer double rate of contribution for these types of service.

2.5.2 Retirement Compensation Arrangement account

Effective January 1, 2019 for the RCA, the employer contribution rates are as follow:

  • For plan members who were participating in the plan prior to 2013
    • For current contributions, single rate leave without pay (LWOP) and single rate service buybacks, the employer's rate is 3.79 times the employee's single rate of contributions.
    • For double rate LWOP and double rate service buybacks, the employer's rate is 1.40 times the employee's double rate of contributions.
  • For new plan members on or after January 1, 2013
    • For current contributions, single rate leave without pay (LWOP) and single rate service buybacks, the employer's rate is 3.79 times the employee's single rate of contributions.
    • For double rate LWOP and double rate service buybacks, the employer's rate is 1.40 times the employee's double rate of contributions.
2.5.2.1 Past service contribution rates

Employer contribution rates to be applied for past service, for which the contributions are made to either the PSPF or the RCA account, are based on when the plan members remit their contributions, regardless of when the service was purchased (bought back) or the LWOP occurred.
For example, if plan members remit their contributions in 2019, apply the employer contribution rate for 2019, and so on.

2.5.3 Supplementary death benefit

Public service (Crown) corporations

The employer's monthly contribution rate for Supplementary Death Benefit (SDB) premiums continues to be $0.01 per $250.00 of the basic benefit of each employee, based on the Supplementary Death Benefit Regulations, section 28.

2.6 Pension increase under the Supplementary Retirement Benefits provision of the Public Service Superannuation Act

Part III of the PSSA provides for annual pension increases based on the cost of living index, for all pensions payable to former public servants or their survivors.
The pension increase authorized under Part III of the PSSA is 2.2% effective January 1, 2019 - 0.6% increase from prior year 2018.

2.7 Pension adjustment information

2.7.1 Terminated employees who receive a lump sum benefit payment

There is a requirement to add the pension adjustment (PA) amounts to the PWGSC-TPSGC 2386 (page available on Government of Canada network only) as part of the termination/retirement process for employees paying into the pension plan. 

2.7.2 Leave Without Pay

It is important that an employee proceeding on LWOP be informed of the effect of PA reporting when he or she elects not to count the LWOP as pensionable service. Where the employee elects not to count a period of LWOP as pensionable before the end of a calendar year, the period of non-pensionable LWOP for that year will not be included in the PA calculation. The PA for any subsequent years will not be reported until the employee returns to duty and recommences accumulating pension credits.

A PA reported for any calendar year previous to the year in which the employee elects not to count a period of LWOP as pensionable service cannot be cancelled. This rule applies even if the employee terminated immediately following the LWOP and received a return of pension contributions.

In cases where an employee terminates employment immediately following a LWOP period, it is important to remember that, for pension purposes, the termination date is the day following the date on which the Government of Canada Pension Centre (Pension Centre) is notified in writing that the employee has ceased to be employed (refer to SAM 2-2-3 page available on Government of Canada network only). There are instances where the employee is terminated for pay purposes, but because the Pension Centre is not notified in time, the termination date is extended for pension purposes. In this case, when the additional pension contributions are calculated, the PA must also be amended to reflect the additional pensionable service.

3. Inquiries

Any inquiries on the information contained in this document should be addressed to the Employer Support Services at the Government of Canada Pension Centre.

 

Jeff Marcantonio
Director General
Pension Excellence Sector

Receiver General and Pension Branch
Public Services and Procurement Canada
Government of Canada

Reference(s): CJA 9006-12, 9006-24, 9007-7-8, 9007-10-8, 9207-2-37

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