Frequently Asked Questions

The following is intended to answer frequently asked questions from employers.  In the event of any discrepancy between the information below and the official plan terms, the official plan text will prevail.  Subject to the terms of the plan, the plan may be modified or terminated at any time.  As employers, you may inspect the official plan documents on this website by clicking on "About Us - Plan Information."

 

1.  When do I need to have my employee year end data ready to be sent to Aon Hewitt?

As soon as possible after December 31.  Initial data, with preliminary data validations completed, should be provided to the HRM Pension Plan Office (the "Office") by the end of February.  Explanations and instructions for the preliminary data validations are contained in the spreadsheet that is provided to you by the Office in early January.  During the month of March, the Office and Aon will be completing further data validations and integrity checks in order to ensure the accuracy of the data and to have finalized clean data no later than April 1st. This data validation and integrity checks often requires a lot of communication between the employer, the Office and Aon Hewitt.

Pension legislation requires that plan members receive personalized statements by June 30th of every year.

2.  When should I contact my employees on their election to make pension contributions to the HRM Pension Plan (“Plan”) on Defined Contribution (“DC”) Earnings?

Each eligible plan member may elect to contribute 6.3% of his or her DC earnings to the Plan. If a member elects to contribute on their DC earnings, the employer shall match the plan member’s contribution.  Employee and employer contributions on DC earnings will be allocated to the plan member’s account.  In addition, police officers may elect to contribute 12.6% of extra duty earnings (as provided under pay codes DXP 1316 and DXP 1317 of the Municipality). HRM does not match employee contributions on extra duty earnings.

The plan member will make an initial election on his/her Pension Plan Enrolment form.  The member will have the opportunity to change his or her election effective January 1st every year after joining the plan.  Members must make the election by September 30th of the previous year.  You are responsible for sending the DC/DXP election forms to employees prior to September 30th.  The HRM Pension Plan office will provide you with customized forms to send to your employees.

3.  Can part-time employees join the HRM Pension Plan?

An employee who is employed on a less than full-time employment basis by HRM/Participating Employer may become a plan member on the first day of January or July coincident with or following the completion of 12 months of Continuous Service*, provided he/she has attained at least one of the following:

(i) earnings of at least 25% of the YMPE** from employment with HRM/Participating Employer; or
(ii) 700 hours of employment with HRM/Participating Employer in the immediately preceding 12 months of Continuous Service prior to joining the Plan, or as may otherwise be provided by an applicable collective agreement.

If an employee does not elect to become a plan member upon becoming eligible, the employee may join the Plan on the first day of January or July of any calendar year thereafter, provided he/she continues to meet the Continuous Service and earnings or hours criteria immediately prior to joining the Plan.

On January 1st and July 1st every year, you must determine which part-time employees meet the above conditions and offer them the opportunity to join the plan. The employee should be provided with a “Pension Plan Enrolment form – Part Time Employees” and a “Beneficiary & Spouse Designation” form.

*Continuous service means an employee’s uninterrupted period of employment since his/her last date of hire by HRM/Participating Employer, including any period of lay-off or temporary suspension of employment, paid and unpaid periods of sabbatical, educational, total disability, maternity, parental or adoption leave, or service in the Armed Forces.

**The YMPE is the Year’s Maximum Pensionable Earnings as determined by Canada Revenue Agency.  The YMPE is updated every calendar year.