Questions & Answers

  1. Pension
  2. Benefits
  3. General Questions



Pension

Q:

A:

What Type of Pension Plan do we have?

You have a Defined Contribution (DC) or Money Purchase Pension Plan. In a Defined Contribution or Money Purchase Plan, Employer and Member contributions are remitted on your behalf to your Pension Benefit Account based on a rate of contribution as amount for per hour for each hour worked based on the Current Collective Agreement. Future contributions will be added to your Pension Benefit Account so long as you work for a Contributing Employer and interest, if any, will be added to your Pension Benefit Account each year. Voluntary contributions are also permitted to be remitted to your Pension Benefit Account. Please be aware if you should wish to add voluntary contributions, these contributions become part of the Pension Plan and will be subject to the rules and regulations of the Plan.
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Q:

A:

Am I automatically enrolled in the Pension Plan?
And will I lose my Pension Benefit if I leave the Union or the Trade?

Yes, you are automatically enrolled in the Plan once you have worked at least one (1) hour of employment for a Contributing Employer. Effective May 31, 2010, your Pension Account cannot be taken away from you. Prior to May 31, 2010, previous vesting rules allowed your Employer contributions to be taken away if you had terminated from the Union without meeting the vesting requirements. For more information on prior vesting rules, please contact the Plan Administrator.
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Q:

A:

When can I retire and when should I apply for my pension?
Will I need to provide proof of age when I retire?

You may retire from this Plan any time after your 55th birthday but no later than the end of the calendar year in which you turn age 71.

You should apply at least two (2) months before you plan to receive your first pension payment. If you should continue or return to work after your retirement date, you may rejoin the Plan as a Member; however, you will again be subject to the Plan's vesting rules.

You must provide proof of age satisfactory to the Insurance Company or Financial Institution. Typically a birth certificate or passport is acceptable. However, should these not be available, please contact the Plan Administrator for other acceptable forms of proof of age.
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Q:

A:

Is my spouse or common-law partner entitled to any Pension Benefits from this Plan?

If you are legally married or in a common-law relationship, then your spouse/ partner is automatically designated as your beneficiary for this Plan upon your death or retirement, unless an applicable waiver is signed.
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Q:

A:

Do I have any benefit options when I retire?

Yes. Upon retirement, you have two retirement options- an Annuity or a Life Income Fund (LIF). An Annuity is an insurance contract that will provide for a regular income for the lifetime of you and your spouse/partner if applicable. Your monthly annuity payment will depend on your Pension Benefit Account, the market rates, your age and your spouse/partner's age, if applicable at the time the Annuity is purchased. Although there is a normal form of pension, you may choose an optional form upon completion of the proper applications. A Life Income Fund (LIF) is a type of plan that you will take the responsibility to manage the funds. You will typically transfer your Pension Benefit Account to a Financial Institution licensed to provide LIFs. Your LIF will provide retirement income to you based on your Pension Benefit Account, your age, and the investment of your funds. Once you are in a LIF, at the beginning of each year, you will determine the amount to be paid to you for the year based on certain minimum and maximum withdrawal rules based on the Income Tax Act and your age. Please refer to the Forms of Pension Payment and Retirement Benefits sections of this booklet.
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Q:

A:

Do I have any benefit options when I terminate?

Yes. Upon termination, you have three termination options- a Deferred Pension or a Locked- In Retirement Account (LIRA) or a Registered Pension Plan (RPP). A deferred pension is an annuity or an insurance contract that will provide for a regular income for the lifetime of you and your spouse/partner if applicable at a future date. Your monthly annuity payment will depend on your Pension Benefit Account, the market rates, your age and your spouse/partner's age, if applicable at the time the Annuity is purchased. Although there is a normal form of pension, you may choose an optional form upon completion of the proper applications. A Locked-In Retirement Account (LIRA) is a type of plan that you will take the responsibility to manage the funds. You will typically transfer your Pension Benefit Account to a Financial Institution licensed to provide LIRAs. In a LIRA, your funds works similar to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) with the exceptions that funds are locked-in and must be specific used for retirement income.
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Q:

A:

Can I withdraw cash from my Pension Benefit Account?

Your Pension Benefit Account is used to providing an income to you when you retire. Typically, you may not withdrawal cash from your Pension Benefit Account. In certain circumstances such as having a small benefit according to Manitoba Pension legislation, suffering from a life-shortening illness or becoming a non-resident, you may be able to access your Pension Benefit Account as lump sum cash payment. Please contact the Plan Administrator for more details.
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Q:

A:

When I die will someone else receive my pension?

Yes. It is very important that you designate a beneficiary so that in the event of your death your pension benefits are distributed according to your wishes. If you are legally married or have a common-law partner, he/she is automatically designated as your beneficiary under provincial legislation unless your spouse/partner signs an applicable waiver. Your surviving common-law partner must be co-habiting with you immediately prior to your death and must provide satisfactory evidence of co-habitation to the Plan Administrator.
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Q:

A:

Will I lose my pension if my spouse or common law partner and I split up?

According to the Pension Benefits Act of Manitoba, the pension earned during marriage or common-law relationship shall be divided on an equal basis provided there is a written separation agreement or court order regarding the division of family assets, unless both parties opt-out through a written agreement or separation agreement that is acceptable according to the legislation.
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Q:

A:

Will I receive a tax deduction for contributions made to this Pension Plan?

Currently, both the Employer and Member contribute to this Plan. Member contributions are tax deductible; however, Employer contributions are not as they are not included in your “taxable” or “gross” income. Therefore, you only receive a tax deduction for any Member contributions that are remitted to the Pension Plan. However, both Employer and any applicable Member contributions are used to calculate your Pension Adjustment (PA) amount that is used by the Canada Revenue Agency to determine your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) contribution limit.
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Q:

A:

Will I receive a statement of my Pension Benefit Account?

Yes. Each year a statement indicating your pension benefits earned will be sent to your address. Therefore, it is important to advise the Plan Administrator of any address changes or other changes that may be required to the information on your Pension Statement.
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Benefits

Q:

A:

How do I become covered under the Plan?

Once hours that you have worked for a Contributing Employer have been reported to the Plan Administrator, an “Hour Bank” Account is established for you. An Application for Group Coverage must be completed immediately and returned to the Plan Administrator. Blank applications are available at your Local Union Office or from the Plan Administrator.
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Q:

A:

What is an "Hour Bank" Account?

This is an account kept by the Plan Administrator for each Participant who works for a Contributing Employer. Contributions to the Plan are based on each hour worked. These contributions will be allocated to the Hour Bank Account. For Non-Union Participants, the hours worked should equate to the required monthly deduction as there may not be an accumulation of hours worked. Each month while insured, your account will be deducted the amount necessary to cover the monthly premium. The additional contribution, if any, will accumulate in your Hour Bank Account up to a maximum of 2160 hours (or thirteen (18) months of coverage).
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Q:

A:

Is a medical examination necessary to get this insurance?

No. All benefits for you and your dependants are available without any test of insurability.
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Q:

A:

When do my dependants get coverage under this Plan? What benefits do they qualify for?

Your dependants become covered for Life and Health Insurance Benefits at the same time you become eligible.
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Q:

A:

What happens if I move from one employer in the industry to another?

If your new Employer is required to make contributions, your Hour Bank Account will continue to be credited with hours reported. Your benefits are portable within the Industry.
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Q:

A:

Once I am covered, how do I know if I have sufficient hours in my hour bank account
to pay for my coverage in future months?

The Local Union and the Plan Administrator will have the latest Hour Bank Account balances for each eligible Participant. Note: Each eligible Participant is responsible for knowing his/her Hour Bank Account balance at any time.
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Q:

A:

Do I have to be under a Physician's care in order to qualify for Weekly Disability Income benefits?

Yes. You must see a physician as soon as possible if you have been injured or are sick enough to be unable to work. If you delay going to a physician, your claim could be refused, reduced, or held up for further investigation.
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If I am disabled before my effective date of insurance, will I receive Weekly Disability Income benefits?

No. Weekly Disability Income payments will not be made for disabilities which commenced prior to the effective date of your insurance.
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Q:

A:

If I am disabled, will my benefit coverage continue?

Please contact the Plan Administrator for more details as you may have coverage during your disability period.
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Q:

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If I should die, are my eligible dependants entitled to have benefit coverage under the Plan?

If you should die, eligible dependants will be extended certain benefit coverage under the Plan. Please contact the Plan Administrator for more information.
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Q:

A:

What is a Healthcare Spending Account (H.S.A.)?

The Healthcare Spending Account is an allocation of funds to help offset Healthcare, Visioncare and Dentalcare expenses incurred above and beyond the coverage presently provided by the Benefit Plan (i.e. coverage not included in Plan parameters and expenses in excess of Plan maximums). A Member must be in good standing with Local to be eligible and to retain a Healthcare Spending Account. The Healthcare Spending Account cannot be used for making self-payments or cash withdrawals. As per Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) legislation, the Healthcare Spending Account is subject to annual forfeiture and subsequent reallocation given the Plan's continued positive financial stability. Please contact the Plan Administrator for more details.
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General Questions

Q:

A:

Why join a union?

Without a union you have few rights on the job. You are almost powerless to achieve better wages, improve working conditions and job security for yourself and your family.

But when all workers on the job are united and speak with one voice through their Union, the Contractor must listen and act on workers demands.

So joining a Union makes real sense for the unorganized worker. With prices and taxes rising every year, working people need a Union and a collective agreement to protect their living standards.

Workers need their own organization to promote and advance their interests for the very same reason that businessmen, doctors, lawyers, engineers and others form associations to promote their interests.

Over two million organized workers in Canada and 155,000 in Manitoba know it pays to belong to a Union.
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Q:

A:

When are my monthly dues due?

On the first of every month.
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Q:

A:

I got a dues letter I don't think I should have gotten?

If you got a three month dues letter you probably just owe one month as the other two months are usually considered “current months” is other words if you are working, they are some where in the system. Before you call the office make sure you have your cheque stubs available so that we can track down the problem and remember apprentices, if you went to school you are going to need to pay those months.

If you get a six month letter you will be suspended at the end of the month and head office requires that all back dues be paid in order to reinstate, so it is in your best interests to send in one month to prevent you from suspending while following up.
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Q:

A:

Why do I pay union dues?

Union dues go towards running the local union, the regional council and the international union. The dues contribute to the cost of negotiations, grievances, and arbitration.
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Q:

A:

Are you hiring?

As a union we do not hire it is our contractors who hire our members. Once you are a member you can be placed on the out of work list and our contractors call requesting individuals and we select individuals on the out of work list to report to the contractor.
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