The Nova Scotia Teachers’ Pension Plan returned 6.78 per cent in 2020, increasing net assets to $5.519 billion, but falling short of the policy benchmark of 7.96 per cent. The plan did outperform the actuarial assumed rate of return of 5.70 per cent. 

“Like many pension plans across the country impacted by COVID-19, we saw a sharp decline in our investment performance in the first half of 2020,” said John Rogers, chair of Nova Scotia Teachers’ Pension Plan Trustee Inc., in a press release. 

Read: Nova Scotia Teachers’ returns 12.36%, issues cautions about coronavirus impact

As of Dec. 31, 2020, the plan’s funded status on a going-concern basis had risen to 79.0 per cent from 78.2 per cent a year earlier. However, at the end of 2020, the plan had a $1.467 billion deficit when assets were measured against actuarially calculated liabilities of $6.986 billion.

The plan’s sponsors — the provincial government and the Nova Scotia Teachers Union — announced in late 2020 that an independent panel of pension experts will review the plan’s ongoing challenges and make non-binding recommendations to protect and strengthen it. These recommendations are expected by Dec. 31, 2021.

“While there is no immediate risk that the plan will be unable to meet its ongoing pension obligations, [Nova Scotia Teachers’ Pension Plan Trustee Inc.] continues to urge the plan sponsors to act decisively and effect amendments that will improve the plan’s long-term financial sustainability,” said Rogers.

Read: N.S. auditor general report highlights troubling state of teachers’ pension plan