In honour of Benefits Canada’s 35th anniversary, we took the opportunity to go back to the source to explore why employers offer employee benefits programs.

Our research looks at the past, present and future of employee benefits—and shows how much senior business leaders value them.

The pooled registered pension plan (PRPP)—proposed by the federal government in response to the lack of pension coverage across Canada—may also help to resolve employers’ concerns about the costs and administrative burden of offering retirement savings plans to employees.

As the industry eagerly awaits more details to come in provincial legislation, it’s difficult to tell, at this point, if PRPPs will take off or will have minimal impact on retirement savings, like the tax-free savings account.

The research reveals that senior executives are lukewarm on the PRPP: 47% say they aren’t likely to offer it to their employees, and 20% say they aren’t even familiar with the concept.

Dave McLellan, vice-president, market development, with Sun Life Financial, believes there is absolutely a place for the PRPP in the industry and that it will help smaller employers engage the best talent to showcase why a smaller company is a great long-term career option.

And Matthew Rotenberg, manager, marketing communications, group products, with Standard Life, feels that there is now increased awareness around workplace retirement programs with the introduction of the PRPP federally and the voluntary retirement savings plan (VRSP) in Quebec in 2013. “Companies and their advisors should examine their options carefully to ensure that the plan design and features align with their corporate goals. A low-cost PRPP/VRSP may not support a corporate HR strategy that is about providing extra value in the benefits program.”

McLellan acknowledges that, so far, only the federal government has released some details about the PRPP, and the province of Quebec has released details about the VRSP.

As the other provinces follow suit and release information about the structure of the other PRPPs, the benefits will become clearer for sponsors and members alike.

Leigh Doyle is a freelance writer based in Toronto.

Get a PDF of this article and other special coverage of Benefits Canada’s 35th anniversary.

Back to the 35th anniversary research homepage.

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. This article first appeared in Benefits Canada.

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