Rescinded [2012-07-30] - Policy on the Administration of the Public Service Pension Plan and Group Insurance and Other Benefit Programs

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1. Effective Date

1.1 This policy takes effect on May 17, 2007.

2. Application

2.1 This policy describes the obligations of deputy heads of those portions of the federal public administration named in Schedule I, Schedule I.1, Schedule IV, and Schedule V of the Financial Administration Act.

2.2 This policy does not cover the pension plans governed by the following legislation: Judges Act, Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act, Canadian Forces Superannuation Act, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superannuation Act, Governor General's Act, Diplomatic Services (Special) Superannuation Act, and Lieutenant Governors Superannuation Act.

3. Context

3.1 The Public Service Superannuation Act (PSSA) provides plan members with a retirement income during their lifetime and in the event of plan member's death, the plan provides an income for the eligible survivors and dependents. The PSSA is a defined benefit pension plan that specifies the benefits payable on death, disability, termination of service and retirement. These benefits are related to the member's salary and period of participation in the Public Service Pension Plan (PSPP).

3.2 The group insurance and other benefit programs (IBP) provides members and their dependants with various health, dental, disability, and insurance benefits including those provided under the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP), the Public Service Management Insurance Plan (PSMIP), the Disability Insurance Plan (DI) and the Dental Care Plan (DCP), the Pensioners' Dental Services Plan (PDSP), the PS Income Benefits for Survivors of Employees Slain on Duty, and the High Risk Travel Compensation Policy.

3.3 This policy is intended to support and complement the Government's objective of implementing a more strategic approach to human resources planning and recruitment by ensuring that compensation advisors and managers have the training required to provide employees with timely and accurate information on their PSPP[1] and IBP. It is also intended to reinforce the Government's objective of an accountable government.

3.4 The policy informs deputy heads of their responsibilities with respect to the administration of the PSPP and the IBP, and of the consequences of failing to fulfill these responsibilities.

3.5 This policy is issued under the authority of Section 7 (1) of the Financial Administration Act (FAA).

3.6 The principles of the Compensation Framework apply to this policy.

3.7 This policy is implemented in conjunction with the Superannuation Administration Manual (SAM) pertaining to the PSPP responsibilities of the TBS, PWGSC, and other government organizations[2], the insurance plan directives and dental rules[3]; and the Insurance Administration Manual (IAM)[4] pertaining to the IBP responsibilities of the TBS, PWGSC, other government organizations, and participating separate agencies.

4. Definitions

4.1 Definitions to be used in the interpretation of this policy are provided in Annex I.

5. Policy Statement

5.1 The objective of this policy is to promote enhanced accountability and sound management practices in the administration of the PSPP and IBP.

5.2 The expected results of this policy are that:

  • employees and members receive accurate and timely PSPP and IBP information to assist them in making informed decisions;
  • Instances of government errors and associated liabilities are reduced;
  • participating government organizations and separate agencies make remittances and provide pertinent data, in accordance with the PSPP and the IBP conditions and established timelines; and
  • early and effective re-integration into the workplace of employees returning after a period of extended sick leave taking into account the employer's duty to accommodate employees with disabilities.

6. Policy Requirements

6.1 Deputy heads are responsible for supporting the effective administration of the PSPP and the IBP within their organization. In so doing, the deputy head will:

  • ensure their compensation advisors have the necessary knowledge required for effectively supporting the PSPP and the IBP. This includes providing access to training for compensation advisors including the training programs developed by PWGSC[5];
  • ensure their managers understand the legal and financial implications associated with the provision of information on the PSPP and the IBP, including costs related to inadvertently creating employee/employer relationships with individuals hired on contract;
  • ensure employees returning to work from extended sick leave will receive the support required for an effective re-integration into the workplace, taking into account the employer's duty to accommodate persons with disabilities.

6.2 The deputy head of PWGSC, in his/her role as the plan administrator, will ensure that the PSPP and the IBP staff at the Superannuation Pension Transition Client Service Sector (SPTCSS) meet PWGSC's comprehensive training requirements.

6.3 Deputy heads in separate agencies are responsible for ensuring compliance with the PSPP and the IBP requirements pertaining to remittances and provision of data.

6.4 Monitoring and Reporting Requirements

6.4.1 Deputy heads, in consultation with the TBS, are responsible for monitoring compliance with this policy. Deputy heads will establish and track appropriate performance indicators that will allow the government organization to monitor all aspects of this policy. In addition, deputy heads will conduct a regular formal review of their organization's compliance (every 3 to 5 years).

6.4.2 PWGSC, as part of their role as the PSPP administrator and as one of the information providers on the IBP, will identify possible non-compliance issues related to training and non-remittance of contributions and premiums owing, and will provide a report to the TBS on these non-compliance issues at least annually.

6.4.3 The TBS will monitor this policy through an ongoing dialogue with PWGSC and possibly with other government organizations. The monitoring will also involve, amongst other things, reviewing departmental internal audit reports, payments under the Crown Liability and Proceedings Act, and other internal and publicly available information.

6.4.4 When the TBS determines that any aspect of this policy is not being adhered to by government organizations, the Secretary of TBS may contact the responsible deputy head to obtain assurances that appropriate corrective action is being taken.

7. Responsibilities of Treasury Board, PWGSC and others

7.1 Public Service Pension Plan (PSPP)

7.1.1 The President of the Treasury Board is the responsible minister for the PSPP. The TBS, as part of its mandate to provide advice to the Treasury Board ministers in the management and administration of government, develops strategic and program policy on the PSPP, undertakes financial analysis, provides policy interpretation, and exercises an oversight function.

7.1.2 Responsibility for the day-to-day administration of the PSPP rests with PWGSC. Pension services are provided by PWGSC as part of its overall Compensation Service Line responsibility, which also includes payroll.

7.1.3 Participating government organizations play an important role in supporting the administration of the PSPP by informing employees of its features and by providing and maintaining contributor data required for the PSPP.

7.1.4 PWGSC's SPTCSS has the primary responsibility for the day- to-day administration of the PSSA on behalf of all active and retired PSSA members and their survivors throughout Canada and abroad. The sector is also responsible for other functions including individual account services for contributors, pensioners and survivors; entitlement determination; authorizations and payment issues[6].

7.2 Insurance Benefits Programs (IBP)

7.2.1 Responsibilities for the IBP are shared among the Treasury Board, the TBS, IBP administrators or insurers, governing bodies, and deputy heads.

7.2.2 The Treasury Board has overall responsibility for establishing and modifying the IBP and for the development of policy for each program, as well as its management and control; setting terms and conditions relating to eligibility, premiums, contributions, benefits, and the IBP design. Each of the group insurance plans has a principal administrator or insurer.

7.2.3 On behalf of the government and under the direction of the TBS, PWGSC's responsibilities include, but are not limited to, providing information on general questions on enrolment (PSHCP, PSMIP, PDSP and DI); developing and maintaining the Insurance Administration Manual (IAM) and related bulletins; developing and providing training material; and providing the administrator with a monthly tape of all eligible employees (DCP).

7.2.4 Government organizations and participating separate agencies provide the following services:

  • counseling to employees on their eligibility for the IBP;
  • providing each eligible person with the appropriate booklets and forms;
  • responding  to requests for further information from the Insurance Section at PWGSC and from the Administrators;
  • requesting and controlling blocks of certificate numbers issued by the Insurance Section for the PSHCP;
  • verifying and retaining a copy of the identity card for the DCP on the employee's file; and
  • processing direct payments of premiums/contributions for members on leave without pay, suspensions, etc.

7.2.5 The IBP administrator or insurer is responsible for adjudicating and paying the benefits on claims in accordance with their respective IBP provisions.

8. Consequences

8.1 Government organizations and participating separate agencies are responsible for paying the legal, settlement, and other costs not otherwise provided by the PSPP and IBP that result from errors and omissions on their part with respect to the provision of information and to delays in the provision of remittances, data, information or required documentation.

8.2 The determination as to whether or not an error has been made will be made by either a court ruling, or through a decision by the TBS or other body identified by the TBS. The cost allocation for an error resulting from actions by more than one deputy head will be shared amongst those responsible in a manner that will take into account the contribution of each deputy head to the overall cost.

8.3 In case of the IBP, where it has been determined that a government organization or participating separate agency was responsible for an error which resulted in an otherwise eligible expense or benefit under one of the group insurance or benefit programs not being reimbursed or paid to the member, that organization shall be responsible for paying such expense or benefit.

8.5 Non-compliance with the duty to accommodate may be the subject of a complaint under the provisions of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

8.6 If it has been determined that this policy is not being complied with, the Secretary of the TB may notify the respective deputy head to obtain assurances that appropriate corrective action is being taken.

9. References

10. Enquiries

Enquiries regarding this policy should be directed to:

Program Management and Regulatory Policy
Pensions and Benefits Sector
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
L'Esplanade Laurier
300 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0R5
Telephone: (613) 952-3121
Facsimile: (613) 946-6200

Annex I – Definitions

Deputy Heads (administrateurs généraux)

In this policy "deputy head" means:

  1. in relation to a department named in Schedule I, its deputy minister;
  2. in relation to any portion of the federal public administration named in Schedule IV, its chief executive officer or, if there is no chief executive officer, its statutory deputy head;
  3. in relation to a separate agency, its chief executive officer or, if there is no chief executive officer, its statutory deputy head.
Public Service Pension Plan (Régime de pension de la fonction publique)
pension plan implemented on January 1, 1954 under the Public Service Superannuation Act that provides benefits for the Public Service employees payable on retirement, termination of service or disability and for their survivors after death[7].
Compensation Advisors (Conseillers en rémunération)
The Public Service compensation staff responsible for providing services related to the Public Service Pension Plan, group insurance and benefit programs. Government organizations have used different titles for employees responsible for providing such services.
Group Insurance and Other Benefits Programs (Régimes d'assurance collective et autres programmes d'avantages sociaux)
Health, Dental, Disability, and Life Insurance benefits programs provided by the employer that include the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP), the Public Service Management Insurance Plan (PSMIP), the Disability Insurance Plan (DI), the Dental Care Plan (DCP), the Pensioners' Dental Services Plan (PDSP), the PS Income Benefits for Survivors of Employees Slain on Duty, and the High Risk Travel Compensation Policy[8].