Editorial: Employers Embrace Innovation and Flexibility in DC Plan Design

The coverage of the DC 2022 Plan Summit features some of these top employers. Simon Cabral, director of Scotiabank’s global DC plans, described how the organization’s various offerings – including its DC plan, employee share plan, benefits plan and service discounts banking – are all related to the financial well-being of employees.

Read: DC Plan Summit 2022: How Scotiabank connects financial well-being with overall well-being

“When you think about it from a financial wellness perspective, in times of inflation like this, when you’re looking to save money, to grow your dollar, taking advantage of programs like this can really go a long way. Part of our role is to better educate our people about this so they can do just that.

Carol Craig, director of pensions and benefits at TELUS Corp., shared the new payout options in the organization’s plan, which were designed with flexibility in mind. In July 2021, the company introduced variable benefits, a group life income fund and a group retirement income fund. “Our [plan members] wanted to be able to have flexibility with their funds, they didn’t want to have to leave everything locked up and so on. . . to enable them to do this, we have set up the FRV.

During a panel discussion, three DC plan sponsors also talked about building flexibility into their savings plans to meet members’ differing financial needs. When the coronavirus pandemic forced Niagara Casinos to lay off 96% of its staff, the organization focused on its group tax-free savings account, which was introduced five years ago to help employees to save urgently, said Kate Interisano, the head of the organization. responsible for compensation and benefits.

Read: DC Plan Summit 2022: How are DC plan sponsors modernizing their savings plans?

Foresters Financial also offers a TFSA in addition to its DC pension plan and a group registered retirement savings plan. Although a mandatory 3% employee contribution is made to the DC plan with full employer matching, plan participants can make voluntary contributions to one of three plans, the organization matching being paid into the DC plan.

Since the introduction of group RRSPs and TFSAs in 2021, about 25% of employees have put money into these savings vehicles, showing how people have different financial needs, noted Ken Adams, vice president of total compensation at Foresters Financial.

Josée Turgeon, Vice President of Total Compensation and Human Resources at Domtar Corp., spoke about the importance of flexibility in how plan participants can use their savings, referring to the new First Savings Account -Federal government tax-free housing. “The younger workforce would prefer us to invest money [that] new vehicle and we could match it, so I certainly also see more flexibility in the offerings for our employees and the long-term financial well-being of the employee, not just retirement. It’s much wider.

Read: DC 2022 Plan Summit: Kraft-Heinz merger kicks off pension plan review and streamlining

Although Kraft Heinz Canada’s Mandatory DC Plan seems contrary to the flexibility trend, it also introduced a new benefit plan design that allows employees to transfer their remaining flex credits into a group RRSP or TFSA. Additionally, the organization is considering a student debt repayment program and a roundup program, which would give employees the option of rounding up their credit card purchases and putting the extra amount into a savings plan.

“It’s another savings vehicle for employees,” said Tracy Fogale, senior director of compensation and benefits for Kraft Heinz Canada. “[They] can use these funds not only to pay off student debt, but . . . credit card debt, other investments or debts that [they] can I have. So we’re trying to get creative to see how we approach [those competing financial priorities] faced by many Canadians.

And when Canadian Forest Products Inc. launched a multi-year financial wellness program in September 2020, it was important to focus on more than retirement, said Lisa Weber, the organization’s pension and benefits advisor. .

Read: DC Plan Summit 2022: Canfor’s multi-year financial wellness program goes beyond retirement

The program had to respond to different financial priorities and different groups of employees – salaried and hourly employees, non-unionized in a DC plan and hourly unionized workers in a former DB plan. “We felt that a multi-year program would give us enough traction to create the material and financial building blocks for all of our workforce generations.”

Indeed, across all generations, the financial road ahead is uncertain. As we all face rising inflation and interest rates, driving up prices at the grocery store, at the gas pump, and almost everywhere else, our financial well-being is undoubtedly taking a hit. a blow.

Read: DC Plan 2022 Summit Coverage: What’s Next for DC Plans?

Additionally, the current tight labor market has put the ball firmly back in the employee’s court, so employers looking to attract and retain top talent need to address these challenges and build flexibility into their total compensation package. including savings programs.

Jennifer Paterson is the editor of Advantages Canada.

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