Human Resources

Retiring or Leaving Western

Important information: The transition of Western Pension Plan Services to Sun Life Financial is now complete, allowing you to take advantage of many new services, tools and information, including pension assistance and advice for those who are retiring from Western and for those leaving Western before retiring.

You are now invited to contact the experts at Sun Life to discuss your pension questions and seek assistance with pension income options or transferral of funds. Sun Life also has many resources including retirement income calculators, articles, webinars and more. The information below will provide an overview of some of the options available to you and Sun Life can provide you with further details.

Read more about the transition of services to Sun Life Financial

Information for those retiring from Western

If you are 45 years or older and considering retirement in the next 10 years, you should consider attending a Western full-day Financial and Pre-retirement Planning workshop.  The workshop offers an unbiased discussion of the role of the Western pension, government pensions and private savings in retirement income planning. Additional topics may include preparing for the transition into retirement, investing in retirement, and tax planning.

Read more, see dates for upcoming sessions, and learn how to register

Sun Life RIF/LIF

In addition to providing member services for our Pension Plan, Sun Life is Western’s preferred provider of a Retirement Income Fund. If you are within five years of retirement, you can arrange a meeting with a Sun Life Retirement Consultant, who can provide you with information about the Sun Life Retirement & Savings Plan for Western Retirees.

Read more about the Sun Life Retirement & Savings Plan for Western Retirees

Retirement assistance from Western University

If you have questions about your eligibility for retirement, your post-retirement benefits, phased retirement for faculty members, or other non-pension related questions, please contact Human Resources at 519-661-2194 or email and ask to speak with a Consultant.

What happens to your Pension Plan funds when you retire?

When you retire, you have a number of options for your Western pension savings.  One of those options is to leave your savings in the Western Pension Plan at Sun Life Financial, and continue to manage those investments as you did while you were working here.  There are a couple of things to keep in mind if considering leaving your funds in the plan.

When you wish to begin collecting an income from your pension savings, here are the options available to you:

Retirement Income Fund (RIF) - In a RIF, you retain responsibility for investing your pension funds and draw a variable payment.  The Sun Life Retirement & Savings Plan for Western Retirees is a RIF, and other financial institutions also offer RIFs.  More information about the plan and your options is available on our Retirement Income Fund webpage.

Annuity Purchase - Your savings are provided to an insurance company which then will pay you a stable income for life.  Sun Life Financial can assist you in the purchase of an annuity from Sun Life or from another provider. Once an annuity is purchased it is a final decision and cannot be changed.

Deciding when to start an income and whether to use an annuity, a Retirement Income Fund or a combination of the two, is a personal decision.  Most people find it helpful to understand the options and have a plan well in advance of finalizing their retirement decision.  You may get assistance from a Sun Life Retirement Consultant, or you may wish to meet with a personal advisor or financial planner.   Here is some information on how to prepare to meet with a Sun Life Retirement Consultant or your advisor.

Leaving Western before retirement

If you leave Western before you retire you are entitled to the total funds in pension account. While these funds are transferable, legislation may require they remain in a “locked-in” account to provide retirement income.

Within 60 days of leaving Western you will receive a package of information from Sun Life Financial, outlining your options.  Please be sure to keep both Western and Sun Life up to date on your current address to ensure this reaches you.


With locked-in funds, your options include:

With non-locked in funds, your savings can be cashed, transferred to a RRSP or left in the plan.  If you leave funds in the plan, a semi-annual fee of $200 will be charged ($400 per year). If you have both locked-in and non-locked in funds, the fees will only be applied once.

Special information for part-time members

For members who joined the Western pension plan under the part-time eligibility rules, membership does not cease until six months after contributions have stopped.  This six-month period is to allow for the possibility the member may be successful in starting another position with Western and this would then allow immediate enrollment in the pension plan.

Following six months without contributions, your membership in the plan will end and Sun Life will send you a package of information outlining your options.  Please be sure to keep Western and Sun Life up to date on your current address to ensure this reaches you.