Human Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions & Answers regarding the Pension Plan for Part-time, Temporary or Contract Employees

This Q & A is designed to address some of the common questions from members evaluating their option to join the pension plans under the offer for non-regular full-time members.

I don’t plan to be at Western for very long. Should I still join?

This is free money! Whether you are a member for a few months or many years, you own all the money in your account, including the money contributed by your employer.

Members who anticipate a short participation in the plan are more likely to invest in cash/money market investments that have a low risk of loss over the short term.

I will be leaving Canada when I finish at Western. Should I still join?

Probably, as you do not want to miss out on the employer contributions!

Will I be able to cash out this account?

It depends. Pension laws determine what portion of your account is designated as “locked-in” pension money, and what portion is not “locked-in”. Your options for the two types of money differ slightly. If you elect to cash out, you will be required to pay income tax.

I don’t know anything about investing. Can you help?

Western's Joint Pension Board has organized 15 different investment options in a structure that offers broad diversification and choice. The “right” mix of investments is different for each member and may be influenced by your anticipated length of participation in the plan.

Sun Life offers a number of online tools and advice from professionals to assist you in making the right decision.

Can I make changes to my investments?

Yes. Each member is responsible for deciding how to invest their own account. You can make changes to your investments at on any business day.

What happens if I become regular full-time at Western?

If you become a regular full-time employee you will have options to join the pension plan (Academic for faculty members or Administrative Plan for staff members). Your status will change from non full-time to full-time. The contribution levels  are determined by your employee group agreement. The investment options and member support remain the same.  There is no waiting period for full-time members.

Why is there a waiting period at the end?

Contributions will stop when employment terminates, but your pension funds remain in the plan for six months after termination. Your account remains invested at your direction during this time. Many non-regular full-time members have sessional employment whereby a short period of time may pass between contracts. The waiting period allows you to immediately resume pension contributions if you regain employment within six months. You won’t have to wait for two years to qualify again.

Can I withdraw from the pension plan at any time?

No, once you join you will remain a member for the duration of your paid employment plus six months with no contributions. Regular contributions from you and Western will be made so long as you have qualifying employment income from Western. If you have elected to make additional Voluntary contributions, these may be changed or stopped at any time.

Can I discuss this with someone?

Contact Sun Life for more information about the Plan, assistance in completing enrolment and ongoing support regarding the decisions you may make on your account.

How do I know if I am eligible to join the plan?

If you become eligible to join the plan, you will be contacted and provided information.  It is not necessary for you to determine this information. If you receive an offer to join the plan and do not accept at that time, you will need to re-qualify in order to join at a later date. If however, you believe you are eligible, please email and we will investigate.

I received a letter with registration information, but missed the deadline to join.

Please register as per the instructions in your letter from Sun Life and we will asses whether you are still eligible to join the plan.

How do I join?

Just follow the instructions in the letter you received from Sun Life Financial.