Membership in Canada’s 15,130 active registered pension plans(RPPs)remained virtually unchanged in 2005, says a report from Statistics Canada.

“As of January 1, 2006, active RPPs covered just under 5.7 million members, up only 0.4%, or about 20,000 from the year before,” the report states. “This pace of growth was substantially slower than the annual rates recorded since the turn of the millennium.”

Private sector membership declined for the first time since 2001 because of employment losses in the manufacturing sector. Private sector plans had just under three million members, a 0.5% decline from 2004.

At the same time, public sector membership amounted to slightly below 2.7 million, a 1.4% increase from the previous year. Public sector membership accounted for 47.3% of the total membership in RPPs as of January 1, 2006, up from 46.1% as of January 1, 2000.

There was also growth in the amount of workers with defined benefit(DB)and defined contribution(DC)plans. About 4.6 million workers were members of a DB plan, virtually unchanged from the previous year. This level has increased by 30,700 since 2000.

DC plans had 893,400 members, up 0.9% from the previous year. The number of members with that type of plan now accounts for 15.7% of the total RPP membership, up from 14.6% in 2001.

However, pension coverage continues to edge down. “The proportion of paid workers with an RPP continued to decline in 2005, falling half a percentage point to 38.5%,” says the report. “Despite favourable labour market conditions, RPP membership grew at a slower pace than employment.”

To read the report on Statistics Canada’s website, click here.

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