Plan Features

The Steelworkers Pension Plan (SPP) is a multi-employer plan which means many unrelated employers contribute to the same pension plan. We accept employers from all jurisdictions in Canada except Quebec and New Brunswick (because of differences in provincial pension law).

Excellent Governance

  • SPP is registered in Ontario where the majority of plan participants are employed and is subject to Ontario’s Pension Benefits Act. Outside Ontario, SPP is careful to ensure that the applicable rules and regulations protecting plan members in each jurisdiction are respected.
  • SPP is recognized as a Specified Ontario Multi-Employer Pension Plan (SOMEPP) by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority in Ontario (FSRA). As a SOMEPP, SPP is exempt from the solvency funding requirements that are normally applied to single employer defined benefit plans.
  • Trustees for SPP are selected and appointed by the Director of District 6 of the USW, ensuring that SPP always remains responsive and accountable to the needs of its members.
  • SPP is governed by a Trust Document. The United Steelworkers has no claim on any of the assets of SPP, and is not liable for any current or future unfunded liability of SPP. Employers engaged in good faith negotiations with a USW bargaining unit are welcome to review a copy of the Trust Document.

Easy to Join

  • Employers join SPP by agreeing to clauses in collective bargaining agreements with the Steelworkers Union (USW) and signing a participation agreement with the Trustees of SPP.
  • Under those agreements, the Employer commits to making pension contributions under the agreed-upon formula, reporting promptly and accurately on those contributions, and to providing the information on plan participants necessary for the administration of SPP.
  • Also under those agreements, the Employer is not liable for any current or future unfunded liability in SPP or any shortfalls in expected investment return. As a result, employers’ contributions to the SPP are predictable and within the control of the employer because any changes in contribution levels must be agreed to in the context of collective bargaining.
  • The process to enter into SPP follows a predictable pattern:
    • Step 1: Learn about SPP.
      Employers engaged in good faith negotiations with a USW bargaining unit are welcome to request a copy of the most recent pension plan text and a copy of the Trust Document that established SPP.
      A sample employer administration handbook is available here, and will illustrate just how simple and straightforward employer’s administrative responsibilities will be.
    • Step 2: Negotiate SPP into a collective agreement with the USW.
      When SPP is intended to replace an existing RSP or defined contribution plan currently provided by the Employer, there will have to be agreement on how to disengage or terminate the existing plan. In most cases it will be as simple as redirecting pension contributions (at the new agreed upon contribution rate) to SPP instead of remitting them to the prior plan.
    • Step 3: Sign a participation agreement (available here) with the trustees of SPP.
    • Step 4: Review administration processes with SPP’s day-to-day administrator BPA.
    • Step 5: Make pension contributions as set out in the collective bargaining agreement, and keep BPA updated on workforce changes.

Professional Investment Management

  • SPP has retained some of Canada’s best, most recognized investment managers.
  • Over the four years 2019 to 2022, SPP investments grew an average of 8.6% annually (gross return before management fees)
  • All SPP assets are arms’ length to the USW; SPP has no investments associated with the USW projects or activities, or directly with any participating employer.
  • See our Investment Profile for more information.

Outstanding Administrative Service

W.A Health administers retirement plans across the country for the Multi-Employer benefit community. They are known for providing efficient, friendly and professional service, and apply up-to-date technology to enhance the member and employer experience. W.A. Health’s services for SPP include:

  • Receiving and recording of contributions
  • Pension calculations and benefit processing
  • Member recordkeeping
  • Government filings
  • Annual member statements
  • Contact centre for plan members
  • Web portals and plan communication material
  • Preparation of draft financial statements

Steelworkers Pension Plan
149 Main Street East
Hamilton, ON L8N 1G4


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