Pensions in Alberta - Overview

There are several types of pensions for people in the province of Alberta.  Most pension plans fall into one of four categories: 

Are you a member of one of the
public sector pension plans?
Are you a member of the Teachers' Pension Plan or Private School Teachers' Plan?
See more information, or visit the Alberta Pensions Services Corporation (APS)
See more information, or visit the Alberta Teachers' Retirement Fund Board (ATRF) website.
  • Retirement income programs administered by the federal government for Canadians - these include the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). Further information on these programs is available from the federal government. The provinces are joint stewards of the Canada Pension Plan along with the federal government and help establish policy for the Canada Pension Plan; and

  • Alberta Seniors Benefit Program – provides support in addition to the federal benefits received under Old Age Security, Guaranteed Income Supplement, Federal Allowance and the GST credit.  It is based on income and provides monthly benefits to eligible seniors.
For more information on benefits and programs for seniors, see:

Quick Facts - Programs and Services for Seniors (pdf)
from the Alberta Seniors website.

Note that pension plans established by companies in federally regulated industries such as banks, airlines, and telecommunications companies are governed by the federal pension standards legislation, the Pension Benefits Standards Act, (1985) (Canada).  The federal government's Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions is the primary regulator and supervisor of federally regulated private sector pension plans.  The federal government also manages the pension plans for federal public service employees.

For general information on pensions, click here for the “Time to Start a Pension” guide.

For information on accessing pension funds, click here for the “Accessing Pension Funds" guide.

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Pensions News and E-Update Service

Draft Interpretive Guidelines IG-12, IG-13 and IG-14
June 11, 2015

Please provide your comments regarding the following draft Interpretive Guidelines by August 11, 2015.

Interpretive Guidelines IG-08 and IG-09 released
June 11, 2015

Following the 60-day consultation period, the following Interpretive Guidelines have been released:

EPPA Update 15-01 - Extension of Amendment Filing Deadline
May 21, 2015

British Columbia’s Pension Benefits Standards Act and Regulation have been proclaimed effective September 30, 2015  with amendments due by December 31, 2015.  In recognition of Alberta and British Columbia having a highly harmonized pension regulatory environment, the Superintendent of Pensions has extended the deadline for filing amendments with respect to the Employment Pension Plans Act and Regulation to December 31, 2015. Similarly, the deadline for having a funding policy (benefit formula provisions), a participation agreement (non-collectively bargained multi-employer plans) and a governance policy in place is also extended to December 31, 2015. See EPPA Update 15-01.

Superintendent's List updated
April 7, 2015

The Superintendent's List of Financial Institutions offering locked-in pension products has been updated and is available on the Superintendent's Lists and Reports page.

Interpretive Guidelines IG-06 and IG-07 released
March 23, 2015

Following the 60-day consultation period, the following Interpretive Guidelines have been released:

Draft Interpretive Guideline IG-11
March 16, 2015

Please provide your comments regarding the following draft Interpretive Guideline by May 19, 2015.

Draft Interpretive Guideline IG-10
February 3, 2015

Please provide your comments regarding the following draft Interpretive Guideline by April 7, 2015.

Interpretive Guidelines IG-01 to IG-04 Released
January 15, 2015

Following the 60-day consultation period, the following four Interpretive Guidelines have been released:

Government protects private sector pension plans
December 19, 2014

Cabinet has extended a moratorium on solvency for a group of private sector pension plans, protecting the benefits of 158,000 plan members. Click on the links below for:

Changes Reflecting the 2015 YMPE (Year’s Maximum Pensionable Earnings)
December 17, 2014

A number of documents on this website have been updated to reflect the 2015 YMPE (Year’s Maximum Pensionable Earnings) of $53,600.  These include:

Superintendent's Policy on Annual Filing of Valuations has changed
December 15, 2014

The Superintendent of Pensions has changed the requirements for filing annual valuations and they are found in EPPA Update 14-05 - Requirements for Filing Annual Valuations. The trigger for filing annually has changed from being either the funded ratio or the solvency ratio being less than 0.8500, to now only the funded ratio being less than 0.8500. Some exemptions apply and are explained in the update.

Employment Pension Plans Act - Extension for Amendment Filing
November 19, 2014

The new Employment Pension Plans Act that became effective September 1, 2014 requires plans to be amended by December 31, 2014. Based on industry feedback, many plans will have a challenge meeting this date. As a result, we have taken the position that, upon request from the plan sponsor, or their legal, actuarial or  third party service provider, we will extend the date for filing required amendments up to March 31, 2015.

Audited Financial Statements Update – Clarification of Requirements
October 30, 2014

Click here for new EPPA Update 14-04 – Audited Financial Statements, which clarifies the filing requirements regarding Audited Financial Statements.

Draft Interpretive Guideline IG-05
October 16, 2014

Please provide your comments regarding the following draft Interpretive Guideline by December 15, 2014.

New Filing Fee for Pension Plans takes effect
October 1, 2014

As required by Section 153 of the Employment Pension Plans Regulation, we are announcing that the new annual filing fee rate in Alberta is $3.25, effective October 1, 2014.  The annual filing fee payable is this rate multiplied by the total plan membership (changed from active plan membership only). 

The minimum fee has risen from $200 to $250 and the maximum fee has risen from $20,000 to $75,000.  This new rate and calculation will apply to all annual information returns with fiscal year-ends in the range October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015.

This change is as result of a recommendation of the JEPPS (Joint Expert Panel on Pension Standards) report of November 15, 2008 which states:

Direct regulatory activities are related primarily to ensuring that the “pension deal” struck by the parties is delivered, and therefore should be funded by user fees.

Employment Pension Plans Act comes into force
September 1, 2014

As a result of the Employment Pension Plans Act, and the supporting Employment Pension Plans Regulation, coming into force, the website for the Superintendent of Pensions has been updated and revised to reflect the new legislative provisions.

While continuing to refer to the documents released on July 23, 2014, the following are the major changes that have taken place on this website:

  • The Private Sector Pensions page has been updated and expanded.

  • The Information for Individuals page has been renamed (from “for Albertans”) and updated to recognize that the Financial Hardship Unlocking Program has changed. Financial Institutions holding the locked-in funds are now responsible for receiving and processing requests for unlocking funds under this program.

  • The Forms page has been updated to include a number new forms, both prescribed and not, and all form numbers have changed. NOTE: Despite the change in the Financial Hardship Unlocking Program, changes regarding Locked-in Retirement Accounts (LIRAs) and Life Income Funds (LIFs) and the related forms, are not effective until January 1, 2015. That is why certain forms that were effective prior to September 1, 2014 will continue to be used until December 31, 2014.

  • Interpretive Guidelines is a new page that introduces documents that will replace our previous Policy Bulletins (listed as a sub-page of this page). As we develop new guidelines, each will be posted for a 60-day consultation period for stakeholders to provide their comments.

Employment Pension Plans Act (2012) takes effect September 1
- Employment Pension Plans Act (EPPA) Updates
July 23, 2014

On July 22, 2014 the Employment Pension Plans Regulation was passed by Cabinet.  The Regulation supports the new Employment Pension Plans Act, which was passed by the legislative assembly in Fall 2012 and is the culmination of the rewrite of private sector pension legislation following the establishment of the Joint Expert Panel on Pension Standards in Fall 2007. Over the coming months, information available on the website of the Superintendent of Pensions will be updated and revised to reflect the new legislative provisions. In the meantime, the news release and three new EPPA Updates are available below.

Subscription Service: Subscribe to our Employment Pensions E-Update

  • The purpose of our electronic update is to keep subscribers up-to-date and informed about major changes to the Employment Pensions website and the documents residing on that site (including changes to legislation and policies). More information about this subscription service.

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Page last updated:  June 11, 2015