Human Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions & Answers regarding the Pension Plan for Part-time, Temporary or Contract Employees

This Q & A is designed to address some of the common questions from members evaluating their option to join the pension plans under the offer for non-regular full-time members.

I don’t plan to be at Western for very long. Should I still join?

This is free money! Whether you are a member for a few months or many years, you own all the money in your account, including the money contributed by your employer.

Members who anticipate a short participation in the plan are more likely to invest in cash/money market investments that have a low risk of loss over the short term.

I will be leaving Canada when I finish at Western. Should I still join?

Probably as you do not want to miss out on the employer contributions!

Will I be able to cash out this account?

It depends. Pension laws will determine what portion of your account is designated as “locked-in” pension money, and what portion is not “locked-in”. Your options for the two types of money differ slightly. If you elect to cash out, you will be required to pay income tax.

I don’t know anything about investing. Can you help?

Western's Joint Pension Board has organized 15 different investment options in a structure that offers broad diversification and choice. The “right” mix of investments is different for each member and may be influenced by your anticipated length of participation in the plan.

Sun Life offers a number of online tools and advice from professionals to assist you in making the right decision.

Can I make changes to my investments?

Yes. Each member is responsible for deciding how to invest their own account. Beginning at the end of Janaury 2017, you can make changes to your investments at on any business day.

What happens if I become regular full-time at Western?

Once you become a regular full-time employee you will have options to join the pension plans according to your employer agreement. Your status will change from non full-time to full-time. There is no difference in pension contribution levels for non-regular full-time vs. regular full-time members, and the investment options remain the same.

Why is there a waiting period at the end?

Contributions will stop when employment terminates. This is followed by a six-month waiting period. Your account remains invested at your direction during this time. Many non-regular full-time members have sessional employment whereby a short period of time may pass between contracts. The waiting period allows you to immediately resume pension contributions if you regain employment within six months. You won’t have to wait two years again.

Can I withdraw from the pension plan at any time?

No, once you join you will remain a member for the duration of your paid employment plus six months with no contributions. Regular contributions from you and Western will be made so long as you have qualifying employment income from Western. If you have elected to make additional Voluntary contributions, these may be changed or stopped at any time.

Can I discuss this with someone?

You may discuss your offer with a Retirement Consultant.  Contact Human Resources at

How do I know if I am eligible to join the plan?

If you become eligible to join the plan, you will be contacted and provided information.  It is not necessary for you to determine this information. If however, you believe you are eligible, please email and we will investigate.

I received an application but missed the deadline to join?

Please submit the application and we will access whether you are still eligible to join the plan.

How do I submit my application?

Just follow the instructions on the offer you received.