Retirement program for non-profit sector seeking feedback on plan design

The Common Good Retirement Initiative is seeking feedback on the design of a collective retirement plan for Canadian employees in the non-profit and charitable sector.

The initiative, which was announced at the end of May 2018 by retirement firm Common Wealth, was initially described as nationally portable, affordable and flexible. 

Common Wealth intends to have 50 employers committed to the collaboration by the end of November 2018. Currently, its steering committee is comprised of representatives from a number of non-profits and charitable organizations, including the Maytree Foundation, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada, the United Way Greater Toronto and Prosper Canada.

Read: National retirement program for non-profit sector in the works

The consultation paper was produced with the assistance of Keith Ambachtsheer, director emeritus of the International Centre for Pension Management at the University of Toronto. Its proposals for the plan’s design include:

  • It would be a group tax-free savings account or registered retirement savings plan;
  • The plan would be overseen by a board of directors with a fiduciary duty to members;
  • Membership would be mandatory or voluntary, with automated features to help members save;
  • Employee contributions would be flexible and employer contributions would be optional;
  • It would be open to all sector employers, freelancers and their spouses;
  • It would contain a curated set of professionally selected investment options with sensible defaults; 
  • It would include options to help members move from the accumulation phase to a stream of income once in retirement; and
  • It would be an easy-to-use, digital-first member and employer service.

The initiative is seeking input from sector stakeholders on the proposed plan design. In the fall of 2018, Common Wealth will decide whether to move forward with implementing the plan. And if it’s successful in finding 50 employers to participate, the firm is hoping to launch the plan in 2019.

Read: How can Canada’s retirement system better address pension portability?