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Pension Governance

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Category:
Governance
Audience:
All Employees
Issued:
January 28, 2018
Last Revised:
August 15, 2021
Owner:
President
Approved By:
Board of Governors
Contact:
Director of Human Resources, (306) 790-5950 ext. 2507

Introduction/Purpose

This Pension Governance Policy (“Policy”) establishes the governance structure for the Pension Plan for the Employees of First Nations University of Canada Inc., registration no. 0934091 (the “Pension Plan”) and outlines the roles and responsibilities of the various parties involved in the administration and governance of the Pension Plan.

First Nations University of Canada Inc. (the “University”) sponsors the Pension Plan to assist its employees to save for their retirement. As a defined contribution pension plan, there is no guarantee on the level of pension benefits members could receive from the Pension Plan when they retire. The pension benefit for each member will depend on the level of employer and employee contributions, the investment option(s) selected by the member and the performances of these investment options.

The Pension Plan is registered with the Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority of Saskatchewan (the “FCAA”) and subject to the Saskatchewan Pension Benefits Act, 1992 (the “PBA”) and the Income Tax Act (the “ITA”), collectively referred herein as the “Applicable Law”.

As the administrator of the Pension Plan, the University is responsible for the oversight, management and administration of the Pension Plan as well as the assets in the Pension Plan. In its capacity as the Pension Plan administrator, the University seeks to administer the Pension Plan in accordance with the Applicable Law mentioned above as well as consider relevant best practices in the pension industry, as informed by the following guidelines issued by the Canadian Association of Pension Supervisory Authorities (“CAPSA”):

  • Guideline No. 3: Guidelines for Capital Accumulation Plans (“CAP Guideline”);
  • Guideline No. 4: Pension Plan Governance Guideline (“Governance Guideline”); and
  • Guideline No. 8: Defined Contribution Pension Plans Guideline (“DC Guideline”).

This policy is prepared in accordance with the Pension Plan’s established objectives, Applicable Law and relevant industry best practices as deemed appropriate. The Policy is intended to be consistent with and complementary to the other policies in place with respect to the Pension Plan, including the Terms of Reference for the Management Pension and Benefits Committee, the Terms of Reference for the Pension and Benefits Advisory Committee, the Code of Conduct and Conflict of Interest Policy, as well as the Pension Plan text and any amendments thereto and any collective agreement(s) in place in respect of Pension Plan members. In the event of any inconsistency between this document and the Pension Plan text or an applicable collective agreement, the Pension Plan text or the respective collective agreements shall prevail, to the extent of the inconsistency.

Governance Framework

External delegates for the Pension Plan:

  • Canada Life (Pension Service Provider)
  • LifeWorks (Pension Consultant)

Roles and Responsibilities

The policy states the following:

Board of Governors

The University, acting through the Board of Governors (the “Board”), is the sponsor of the Pension Plan and has ultimate fiduciary and administrative responsibility for the Pension Plan.

Where there is a reference in the Plan text, this Policy or any other policy in place in respect of the Pension Plan for an action to taken, consented, or approved by the University, these shall be done through the Board or a delegate thereof.

The Board has established the Management Pension and Benefits Committee (the “MPBC”) and delegated it to carry out the main day-to-day responsibility of Pension Plan administration as required by the University in its capacity as the administrator of the Pension Plan.

The Board has also established a Pension and Benefits Advisory Committee (the “PBAC”) to advise on matters related to the Pension Plan as set out in this Policy and in the Terms of Reference for the Pension and Benefits Advisory Committee.

The Board shall:

  • Amend or terminate the Pension Plan, to the extent permitted under the respective negotiated Collective Agreements.
  • Approve and amend material changes to the design of the Pension Plan and its intended pension benefit, to the extent permitted under the respective negotiated Collective Agreements.
  • Establish the governance structure for the Pension Plan and the related governance documents, including this Policy and other documents referenced in this Policy.
  • Establish the MPBC and the PBAC to carry out their respective delegated duties as it relates to the Pension Plan.
  • Consider the recommendations by the Audit Finance and Risk Committee, the MPBC and the PBAC as it relates to the governance framework.
  • Monitor and periodically assess the performance of the MPBC.
  • Review on a periodic basis, amend and approve this Policy as needed.
  • Adopt, amend or approve any changes being considered to the Terms of Reference for the Management Pension and Benefits Committee and the Terms of Reference for the Pension and Benefits Advisory Committee.
  • Adopt, amend or approve any changes being considered to the Statement of Investment Policies and Procedures (“SIP&P”) as needed, which applies to the management and administration of the Pension Plan assets.

Audit, Finance and Risk Committee

The Board has designated the Audit, Finance and Risk Committee (the “AFRC”), which is an extension of the Board, to assist with the oversight of the operations, administration and governance of the Pension Plan.

The AFRC may make recommendations to the Board with respect to changes to the Pension Plan design or its governance framework and assist with any other Pension Plan-related responsibilities that fall to the Board.

Management Pension and Benefits Committee

The Board has designated the MPBC to carry out the Board’s administrative responsibilities with respect to the Pension Plan including its day-to-day operations and to ensure that the activities are carried out in a timely manner and in the best interest of the Pension Plan members as well as its beneficiaries.

The MPBC’s central responsibilities towards the Pension Plan shall include:

  • Carry out the day-to-day administration of the Pension Plan
  • Appoint or terminate third-party agents to support with the Pension Plan administration or to seek advisory support or knowledge as needed
  • Appoint, terminate and monitor the Pension Plan’s external pension service provider delegated to support with administration, recordkeeping, custodial and investment management services.
  • Select and replace investment options available to Pension Plan members including negotiating investment management fees paid by the members.
  • Assess the appropriateness of the investment options, monitor the performances of investment options, and take appropriate action to resolve any concerns or gaps in the offering, as needed.
  • Recommend to the Board any changes to the Pension Plan design or governance framework.
  • Consider inputs and recommendations from the Pension and Benefits Advisory Committee and relay to the Board as deemed appropriate.
  • Delegate tasks to employees of the University and to the various third-party agents it has retained with respect to the Pension Plan.
  • Promote member awareness and understanding of the Pension Plan to the members.

The Terms of Reference for the Management Pension and Benefits Committee sets out additional responsibilities of the MPBC.

Departments of Human Resources, Payroll and Finance

The Management Pension Committee shall delegate certain day-to-day administrative responsibilities to the University’s Human Resources, Payroll and Finance departments, including tasks related to member enrollment, contribution remittance, plan and member record maintenance, engagement, member education and communication, as well as supporting with the completion of required filings as per Applicable Law.

The respective responsibilities of the departments of Human Resources, Payroll and Finance are set out in greater detail in the Terms of Reference for the Management Pension and Benefits Committee.

Pension and Benefits Advisory Committee

The Board has created the PBAC to advise it on matters related to the Pension Plan, make recommendations with respect to the Pension Plan and assist the MPBC in promoting awareness and understanding of the Pension Plan among members.

In order for the PBAC to carry out its duties, it shall be provided updates on the Pension Plan administration and the activities carried out by the MPBC. In fulfilment of its Pension Plan obligations, the PBAC shall prepare and submit to the Board through the MPBC an annual report on the Pension Plan and its activities. The Pension and Benefits Advisory Committee’s responsibilities are further detailed in the Terms of Reference for the Pension and Benefits Advisory Committee.

Members

The Members are individuals with accumulated benefits in the Pension Plan. As participants of the Pension Plan, each member is responsible for understanding Pension Plan and planning for their respective retirement. Members assume the sole responsibility for making investment decisions, monitoring the performance of their investments, and making any changes to their investments based on their respective retirement goals, risk tolerances and investment horizons.

External Pension Service Providers

The external pension service provider has been retained by the University to provide custodial, recordkeeping and investment management services for the Pension Plan. The Pension Plan’s assets shall be held in accordance with the terms of the service agreement and Applicable Law. The MPBC may engage the pension service provider for additional services such as member education and communication services or other services in order to meet its responsibilities.

The University may also obtain services from other external services providers to assist it in carrying out certain responsibilities with respect to the Pension Plan or obtain advisory services to carry out its responsibilities in respect of the Pension Plan.

Benefits Plan

While this Pension Policy focuses on the governance framework related to the Pension Plan, the Terms of Reference for the Management Pension and Benefits Committee, the Terms of Reference for the Pension and Benefits Advisory Committee, and the Code of Conduct and Conflict of Interest Policy, includes consideration on the governance as it relates to the Benefits Plan.

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