At Benefits Canada’s 2017 Defined Contribution Plan Summit, Janice Holman, principal at Eckler Ltd., moderated a presentation highlighting unique approaches three different plan sponsors have taken to help their plan members retire successfully:

Niagara Casinos, a government-owned but privately operated organization with more than 4,000 employees and more than 400 job classifications, implemented an award-winning communications strategy for its plan. “We have many different types of workers and we try to engage everyone on what’s happening by using a variety of channels,” said Colleen Falco, director of human resources services.

Those channels include social media (Instagram, Twitter and Facebook), the intranet site, digital signage, special events, direct mail, one-on-one meetings and posters. Every two years, Niagara Casinos holds a big event to create buzz around pensions. Money Week, for example, offered a range of support services, including on-site access to an advisor, government pension representatives and a financial literacy seminar for women.

Read: Niagara Casinos’ efforts pay off with pension communications award

Magellan Aerospace Corp. has about 1,600 employees in Canada. An early adopter of target-date funds, Magellan recently reviewed its programs in Canada with an eye to improving outcomes, said Jo-Ann Ball, vice-president of human resources. “With an evolving economic environment, we wanted to change the conversation from building wealth to building retirement income.”

A target-date fund that starts with a high allocation to equities and transitions to mainly fixed income at age 65 isn’t going to provide the income retirees need, she said. “We looked at different target-date options and glide-path constructions to go from just asset optimization to an outcome-based approach.”

The Co-operators Group Ltd., a financial services company with 4,500 employees, started its plan in 1979, undertook a major restructuring in 1990 and now offers a customized option to members. “Co-operators has generous contribution rates, so many members have significant pension assets,” said Mike Dodd, director of pensions, treasury and shareholder services. “But when they retired, they tended to move their money to a local financial institution where they paid higher fees.”

To help retirees preserve their income for longer, the Co-operators decided to offer members a group retirement product through a sister company. “We keep the assets within the Co-operators Group of companies, and our members benefit from a retirement income product with a lower fee,” said Dodd. “Reducing fees can have a positive impact on retirees by increasing their income by three to five years.”

Read more stories from the DC Plan Summit

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on

Join us on Twitter

Add a comment

Have your say on this topic! Comments that are thought to be disrespectful or offensive may be removed by our Benefits Canada admins. Thanks!

* These fields are required.
Field required
Field required
Field required