Total number of active registered pension members on the rise: OSFI

The total number of active registered pension plan members in Canada rose nine per cent between 2006 and 2016, from 5.8 million to 6.3 million, according to a new notice from the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.

The percentage of active registered members participating in a contributory plan also increased during this period, rising from 81 to 88 per cent.

Of the 6.3 million pension members, 3.2 million were women and 3.1 million were men. The OSFI noted the number of female members has been steadily increasing over the past 30 years, with women making up 35 per cent of active members in 1986, 44 per cent in 1996, 48 per cent in 2006 and just over 50 per cent in 2016.

Read: Registered pension membership rises, DB plan coverage drops: OSFI

Broken down into the public and private sector, registered pension coverage in the public sector was up slightly between 2006 and 2016, from 84 to 88 per cent. The number of active members in that sector also increased, from 2.7 million to 3.3 million. In the private sector, however, coverage decreased, from 26 per cent in 2006 to 23 per cent in 2016, though the number of active members remained around three million.

About 1.6 million Canadians participated in a group registered retirement savings plan or deferred profit-sharing plan sponsored by an employer in 2016.

The percentage of active members in a workplace defined benefit plan has decreased overall, from 80 to 67 per cent, but most of this drop is in the private sector, with coverage dipping from 67 to 41 per cent between 2006 and 2016, compared to 93 to 91 per cent in the public sector during that decade.

Since 2004, the trend of employers establishing new types of DB or defined contribution plans, or converting to those plans, has resulted active members jumping from 18,000 in 2004 to 719,000 in 2016, according to the OSFI. The private sector had 90 per cent of these members, with the remaining 10 per cent were in the public sector.

Read: Private sector pension membership fell by 11,600 in 2015: Statistics Canada