Supplemental Pension Arrangement (SPA)

Sometimes, a Pension Plan member’s Required Contributions to their regular Western pension account, combined with the University’s contribution to the member’s account, exceed the total contributions permitted under the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) contribution limit for the year. The Supplemental Pension Arrangement (SPA) is a plan that provides a notional account for Western's contributions that are in excess of the CRA limit.

This occurs for higher earners – if a member expects to make more than $187,000 in 2018, they may be impacted. This is based on a 5.5% required contribution rate and a 9% employer contribution rate. A member's contribution rates may be lower than that, in which case the threshold to exceed the CRA limit would be higher. In determining whether there is a SPA amount, voluntary contributions are not considered - only the member’s required contributions and the employer’s contributions.

The SPA is a plan that provides a notional account.  A SPA account holder does not direct the investment options for this account.  The SPA accounts are credited with the same return realized by The University of Western Ontario’s Operating and Endowment investment funds.

Members receive an annual SPA statement outlining the amounts added to and deducted from their notional contribution accounts and the gross value of their notional account under the SPA at December 31st of the prior year.

Sun Life Financial provides recordkeeping services for the SPA.  The University is solely responsible for the payment of benefits under the SPA.

Beneficiary Designation

Beneficiary designations for your assets held under the SPA are maintained on file in Western Human Resources. You may make changes to your designated beneficiaries at any time by completing the Supplemental Pension Arrangement Beneficiary Designation Form.

Retiring or Leaving Western

A member leaving Western may elect to receive the balance in the notional SPA account in equal annual installments over a number of years designated by the member (not more than fifteen).  A one-time lump sum payment option may also be available.

If the account balance of a terminating member is less than 20% of the Year’s Maximum Pensionable Earnings (YMPE) then the University will settle the account as a lump sum payment to be made at the end of the month following the end of employment.  For example, the YMPE in 2018 was $55,900.  If a terminating member’s SPA account balance is less than $11,180 the account will be settled in a lump sum.

Members planning to leave Western should contact Western Human Resources at 519-661-2194 to discuss options and any restrictions that may apply to payout of the SPA account.

Annual Returns

The SPA is credited with the same return realized by Western’s Operating and Endowment funds.  Here are some links to view returns.

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