The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario is promoting retirement planning with its inaugural Pension Awareness Day on Feb. 16.

Through the event, the FSRA is aiming to spark conversations about retirement savings and inspire employees to take full advantage of employer-sponsored pension plans, says Caroline Blouin, executive vice-president of pensions at the FSRA, noting the event is the first of its kind in Canada. “We want to ensure pensions are top of mind, similar to health and dental plans, when people are considering value propositions from their current employer or a prospective employer.”

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The organization recently added a pension information page to its website — which details the various types of plans available to employees and provides links to other resources — and launched the Pension Savvy podcast series, in which Blouin interviews experts on various pension topics.

According to a recent survey by the FSRA, the vast majority (88 per cent) of Ontario residents said more needs to be done to encourage people to save for retirement, while 60 per cent said there isn’t enough public information available about pensions.

The survey, which polled more than 1,000 Ontarians, also found 78 per cent of respondents said they immediately signed up for their employer-sponsored pension plan. Among those in capital accumulation plans, two-thirds (64 per cent) said they contribute the maximum amount eligible for an employer match. However, half (49 per cent) admitted they know more about their favourite television show than about the inner workings of their pension plan.

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Blouin says it’s especially critical for young employees to learn about their workplace pension plan in order to start saving for retirement as early as possible. To that end, the FSRA has launched a promotional video campaign across its various social media channels.

“We know younger members are more likely to be working for smaller employers or employers that may not have a pension plan. Or they may have a pension plan, but retirement is so far away that they’re not thinking about enrolling in the plan or contributing, which is key.”