Survey of Financial Security - Methodology for Estimating the Value of Employer Pension Plan Benefits - ARCHIVED

Surveys and statistical programs – Documentation: 13F0026M2001003


Initial results from the Survey of Financial Security (SFS), which provides information on the net worth of Canadians, were released on March 15 2001, in The daily. The survey collected information on the value of the financial and non-financial assets owned by each family unit and on the amount of their debt.

Statistics Canada is currently refining this initial estimate of net worth by adding to it an estimate of the value of benefits accrued in employer pension plans. This is an important addition to any asset and debt survey as, for many family units, it is likely to be one of the largest assets. With the aging of the population, information on pension accumulations is greatly needed to better understand the financial situation of those nearing retirement. These updated estimates of the Survey of Financial Security will be released in late fall 2001.

The process for estimating the value of employer pension plan benefits is a complex one. This document describes the methodology for estimating that value, for the following groups: a) persons who belonged to an RPP at the time of the survey (referred to as current plan members); b) persons who had previously belonged to an RPP and either left the money in the plan or transferred it to a new plan; c) persons who are receiving RPP benefits.

This methodology was proposed by Hubert Frenken and Michael Cohen. The former has many years of experience with Statistics Canada working with data on employer pension plans; the latter is a principal with the actuarial consulting firm William M. Mercer. Earlier this year, Statistics Canada carried out a public consultation on the proposed methodology. This report includes updates made as a result of feedback received from data users.

Issue Number: 2001003
Author(s): Cohen, Michael P.; Hubert, Frenken; Maser, Karen
FormatRelease dateMore information
PDFSeptember 5, 2001