Report on the Administration of the Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act for the Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2014
Catalogue No. BT1-11/2014E-PDF
His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D., Governor General of Canada
I have the honour to submit to Your Excellency the Report on the Administration of the "Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act" for the Fiscal Year Ended .
Original signed by
The Honourable Tony Clement,
President of the Treasury Board
Table of Contents
- Year at a Glance: 2013–14
- Changes to the Members of Parliament Pension Plan
- Demographic Highlights
- Membership Eligibility
- Plan Provisions
- Roles and Responsibilities
- Statistical Tables
The Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act (MPRAA or the Act) governs pension arrangements for members of Parliament, i.e., members of the Senate and of the House of Commons. Under the Act, the members of Parliament pension plan (the plan) also provides a survivor allowance for eligible survivors and children.
Administered by Public Works and Government Services Canada and the Senate of Canada, the plan was established in 1952 and has covered members of the House of Commons since 1952, and members of the Senate since 1965.
The plan is a contributory defined benefit plan, which provides benefits that are calculated using a defined formula. The formula is based on members’ service and salary.
This report provides a summary of the plan’s main provisions, presents information for the fiscal year 2013–14 on the transactions recorded in the pension plan accounts, and provides information about membership, benefits paid and historical data.
In this report, “members” refers to active and retired participants in the plan. Where necessary, members of the Senate and of the House of Commons are referred to separately.
Year at a Glance: 2013–14
- As at , there were 401 members (411 members in 2013) contributing under the plan. There were nine vacant seats in the Senate and two vacant seats in the House of Commons.
- As at , there were 718 annual allowances (722 annual allowances in 2013) in pay.
- The average annual allowance in pay under the plan, including indexation, was $69,931 ($67,461 in 2013) for former members of the Senate and $59,974 ($59,307 in 2013) for former members of the House of Commons.
- During 2013–14, $280 million from the Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances (MPRA) Account and $30 million from the Members of Parliament Retirement Compensation Arrangements (MPRCA) Account were debited to reduce the actuarial excess as per the recommendation set out in the Actuarial Report Updating the Actuarial Report on the Pension Plan for the Members of Parliament as at .
- For the calendar year 2014, the contribution rate was 9 per cent. The Pension Reform Act amended the Act to allow contribution rates to increase over time to bring the plan members' share of the plan's current service cost to 50 per cent by .
- On , the Act was amended through the Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1, to prohibit members of the Senate and members of the House of Commons from contributing to their pension and accruing pensionable service while under suspension.
Changes to the Members of Parliament Pension Plan
The Pension Reform Act, that was tabled on , and received Royal Assent on , introduced a number of amendments which have been made to the MPRAA:
- On , contribution rates to the members of Parliament pension plan started gradually increasing in order to bring the current service cost-sharing ratio to 50 per cent by . Contribution rates for calendar years 2013 to 2015 have been set in the MPRAA. Contribution rates commencing , will be set by the Chief Actuary of Canada.
- The age at which a pension may be paid without a reduction has been raised from 55 to 65 for pensionable service accrued on or after . A member can elect to receive an annual allowance at age 55, but the allowance will be reduced by 1 per cent for each year the member is under age 65. Changes to the prime minister’s allowance are described in the “Plan Provisions” section of this report.
- Effective , benefits under the plan for pensionable service accrued on or after , will be coordinated with the Canada/Québec Pension Plan (CPP/QPP). The coordination feature allows for members’ contributions and benefits to be adjusted to take into account the contributions paid to, and benefits received from, the CPP/QPP. When a member reaches age 60, for service accrued after , benefits payable under the plan will be reduced to reflect the contributions paid to the plan for earnings that are also covered by the CPP/QPP.
- The rate of interest to be credited to the MPRA and MPRCA accounts has been modified and is described in the “Interest” section of this report.
- As of , the President of the Treasury Board, on the basis of actuarial advice, is authorized to debit amounts from the MPRA and MPRCA accounts if the amounts to the credit of the accounts exceed the costs of all benefits payable from the accounts.
Figure 1 demonstrates the number of contributors relative to the number of pensioners from 2005 to 2014.
Figure 1 - Text version
Membership in the plan has been compulsory for all senators since 1965. Membership has been compulsory for all members of the House of Commons since .
Upon ceasing to be members of Parliament, plan members are entitled to an annual allowance after they have contributed to the plan for at least six years. For service after , former members are not entitled to an annual allowance until they are 55 years of age. For service up to and including this date, former members are entitled to an immediate annual allowance.
The benefit accrual rate for senators is 3 per cent per year of service to a maximum of 75 per cent of the average sessional indemnity.
For members of the House of Commons, the benefit accrual rate is 3 per cent per year of service effective ; 4 per cent per year of service from , to ; and 5 per cent per year of service up to and including , to a maximum of 75 per cent of the average sessional indemnity. Effective , the annual allowance is based on members' average sessional indemnity for the best five years. Before 2001, the average sessional indemnity was based on the six highest consecutive years of service. A pro rata is applied to these rates if the additional allowances and salaries are different from the sessional indemnity received in that year. There is no limit on benefit accrual on additional allowances and salaries.Footnote 1
The annual allowance of a retired member is suspended if that person becomes a member again, either of the Senate or the House of Commons. If the retired member of the Senate or the House of Commons receives remuneration of at least $5,000 in any one-year period as a federal government employee or pursuant to a federal service contract, the aggregate of all retirement allowances under the MPRAA to that retired member in that year shall be reduced by one dollar for each dollar of such remuneration received in that year.Footnote 1
Former prime ministers are eligible to receive a retirement compensation allowance if they have contributed for at least four years on their salary received as a prime minister.
For a member who held the office of prime minister for four years before , the annual retirement compensation allowance, payable from the day on which the member ceases to be a parliamentarian or reaches 65 years of age, whichever is later, is equal to two thirds of the annual salary payable to the member on the day on which the retirement compensation allowance is payable.
For a member who held the office of prime minister for four years after , the annual retirement compensation allowance, payable from the day on which the member ceases to be a parliamentarian or reaches 67 years of age, whichever is later, is equal to 3 per cent of the salary payable to the member on the day on which the retirement compensation allowance is payable multiplied by the number of years of service the member held the office of prime minister (to a maximum of two thirds).
If a member ceases to be a member before completing six years of contributory service, or if the member is disqualified from the Senate or expelled from the House of Commons, the member becomes entitled to a withdrawal allowance (also known as a return of contributions).
The withdrawal allowance is a reimbursement of all the member's contributions, plus interest at a rate set by the Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Regulations.
Eligible survivors and children of members may receive an allowance.
For eligible survivors, this allowance is equal to three fifths of the basic annual allowance that the member would have been entitled to receive, or that the retired member was receiving, immediately before his or her death.
Children of members who are under the age of 18 or full-time students between 18 and 25 years of age are also entitled to an allowance. This allowance is equal to one tenth of the member's basic annual allowance, or two tenths if no allowance is being paid to an eligible survivor as defined in the legislation.
An eligible survivor receives an allowance equal to one half of the allowance payable to a former prime minister for service as prime minister. While the prime minister must contribute at the applicable contribution rate of the salary paid to him or her as prime minister in addition to the contributions as a member of the House of Commons, a survivor allowance is paid to a spouse but not to the children of a former prime minister.
Allowances to retired members and survivors are adjusted at the beginning of each calendar year. This adjustment corresponds to the percentage increase in the average of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the 12-month period ended September 30 over the CPI average for the same 12-month period of the previous year. In January 2014, allowances were increased (i.e., indexed) by 0.9 per cent (1.9 per cent in January 2013).
Retirement allowances are not indexed until the member reaches age 60. However, once indexing begins, payments reflect the cumulative increase in the CPI since the member left Parliament.
Survivor allowances and disability pensions are indexed immediately when they start being paid.
Two accounts are maintained in the Public Accounts of Canada to record transactions under the plan: the MPRA Account and the MPRCA Account.
The MPRA Account records the transactions related to the benefits payable under the plan when these benefits accord with income tax rules for registered pension plans. The MPRCA Account records the transactions related to the benefits payable under the plan when the benefits exceed the limits imposed by the income tax rules.
The MPRCA Account is registered with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and records transfers made annually between the MPRCA Account and CRA, either to remit a 50-per-cent refundable tax in respect of the net contributions and interest credits or to credit a reimbursement based on the net benefit payments. For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2014, the MPRCA Account has remitted to the CRA $10.0 million ($17.4 million in 2013).
Statistical tables 1 to 4 in this report present current and historical data on the MPRA and MPRCA accounts.
Actuarial Funding Valuation
As required by the Public Pensions Reporting Act, the President of the Treasury Board causes the Chief Actuary to conduct an actuarial funding valuation of the pension arrangements established under the MPRAA. The actuarial valuation is performed by the Office of the Chief Actuary at least every three years and is tabled in Parliament by the President. The actuarial valuation presents an estimate of the balance sheet on an actuarial basis, notably, the value of assets and liabilities and any resulting excess or shortfall. In addition, the actuarial valuation also determines the projected current service cost for each of the next three years following the valuation date. The most recent valuation, the Actuarial Report on the Pension Plan for the Members of Parliament as at March 31 2013, was tabled on October 31, 2014.
On January 1, 2013, a 3-per-cent increase in plan members' contribution rates began. The increase, to be phased in over three years, means that contribution rates rose by 1 per cent of salary in January 2013 (to 8 per cent), by another 1 per cent in January 2014 (to 9 per cent), and again by 1 per cent in 2015 (to 10 per cent).
The following table shows members' contribution rates for calendar years 2014 to 2017. These contribution rates were set in the Actuarial Report on the Pension Plan for the Members of Parliament as at March 31, 2013.
|Calendar Year||2014||2015||2016Footnote a||2017Footnote a|
Members who have not reached age 71 contribute to the MPRA on the portion of their sessional indemnity that is below the earnings limit until they have accrued a retiring allowance equal to 75 per cent of the average sessional indemnity. The earnings limit for 2014 is $138,500.00 ($134,833.50 in 2013) and is defined by the Income Tax Act (ITA) on the maximum pensionable earnings that can be accrued during a calendar year. Members' contributions are recorded in the MPRCA Account on the portion of their benefits that exceed the ITA limits. Once members have reached the earnings limit for the calendar year, they contribute only a certain percentage to the MPRCA Account as established under the MPRAA.
Until they reach the maximum pension accrual of 75 per cent, members of the Senate and members of the House of Commons contribute on their sessional indemnity based on the rates shown in the preceding table. Once plan members accrue a 75-per-cent maximum benefit, the contribution rate drops to 1 per cent of salary for the remainder of their service.
Some members receive additional allowances and salaries as speakers, ministers, leaders of the opposition, parliamentary secretaries and so forth. They will contribute on these additional allowances and salaries based on the rates indicated.
In addition to the contribution rates in respect of sessional indemnities, a member who holds the office of prime minister must also contribute on his or her salary at the rates shown in the preceding table. If eligible, the member can decide to contribute for prior service in Parliament, in which case he or she must pay interest on past service contributions.
Each month, the government is required to contribute an amount to each account, after taking into account members' contributions, to fund the costs of all future benefits that members have earned during that month. The government contribution rate for each account varies from year to year and can be expressed as a percentage of the pensionable payroll. The government current service contribution rates for calendar years 2014 and 2013 are as follows:
|House of Commons|
Every quarter, the government credits interest on the balance of each account at a rate set by the regulations. Effective January 1, 2014, the interest rate to be credited to the MPRA and the MPRCA accounts is the effective quarterly rate derived from the valuation interest rate used in the most recently tabled valuation report from the Chief Actuary of Canada. For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2014, interest was credited at 1.23 per cent per quarter for the three quarters ended December 31, 2013, and 1.034 per cent for the quarter ended March 31, 2014.
Credits and Debits to the Accounts
When the government identifies an unfunded actuarial liability in either the MPRA Account or the MPRCA Account following the tabling of an actuarial valuation report in Parliament, the government must, over a prescribed period, credit to the account such amounts that, after the prescribed period, would cover the unfunded actuarial liability identified.
The Pension Reform Act amended the MPRAA to permit the government, on the basis of actuarial advice from the Chief Actuary, to debit amounts from the MPRA and the MPRCA accounts if the amounts to the credit of the accounts exceed the total costs of all allowances and other benefits payable under the plan.
As per the recommendation in the Actuarial Report Updating the Actuarial Report on the Pension Plan for the Members of Parliament as at March 31, 2010, $280 million was debited from the MPRA Account and $30 million was debited from the MPRCA Account during 2013–14 to reduce the actuarial excess in both accounts. After taking into account these debits, the most recent actuarial report, the Actuarial Report on the Pension Plan for the Members of Parliament as at March 31, 2013, determined that the MPRA Account had an actuarial excess of $13.2 million and that the MPRCA Account had an actuarial excess of $23.4 million. To maintain a conservatism margin, it was recommended that no further amounts be debited from the accounts.
When a member or retired member dies and there are no survivors entitled to an allowance, the member's estate receives the amount by which the member's contributions exceed any allowances already paid.
Roles and Responsibilities
The overall responsibility for the MPRAA lies with the President of the Treasury Board, supported by the Secretariat as the administrative arm of the Treasury Board; Public Works and Government Services Canada; and the Senate of Canada.
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
The President of the Treasury Board is responsible for the overall management of the plan and acts as the plan sponsor. In support of the Treasury Board's role, the Secretariat is responsible for policy development in respect of the funding, design and governance of the members of Parliament retirement programs and arrangements.
Public Works and Government Services Canada and the Senate of Canada
Public Works and Government Services Canada and the Senate of Canada are responsible for the day-to-day administration of the plan. This includes developing and maintaining the plan's pension systems, books of accounts, records, and internal controls, as well as preparing Account Transaction Statements for reporting in the Public Accounts.
Office of the Chief Actuary
The Office of the Chief Actuary, an independent unit within the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada, provides a range of actuarial services and advice to the Government of Canada, including services and advice for the members of Parliament pension plan. The Office of the Chief Actuary is responsible for conducting an annual actuarial valuation of the pension plan for accounting purposes, as well as a triennial funding valuation, setting contribution rates and coordination factors for the plan, and recommending credits and debits to the accounts.
|Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Account, Opening Balance (A)||755,806||708,049|
|Receipts and Other Credits|
Members' contributions, current
Government contributions, current
Members' contributions, arrears on principal, interest, and mortality insurance
Government contributions on amounts payable (elections)
Transfer from the Supplementary Retirement Benefits Account
Actuarial liability adjustment
|Total Receipts (B)||47,024||73,768|
|Payments and Other Charges|
Withdrawal allowances including interest
Pension division payments
Transfers to the Public Service Superannuation Account
|Total Payments (C)||306,363||26,011|
|Excess of Receipts Over Payments (B - C) = (D)||(259,339)||47,757|
|Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Account, Closing Balance (A + D)||496,467||755,806|
|Certain comparative figures have been reclassified to conform to the current year’s presentation.|
|Members of Parliament Retirement Compensation Arrangements Account, Opening Balance (A)||243,993||231,416|
|Receipts and Other Credits|
Members’ contributions, current
Government contributions, current
Members’ contributions, arrears
on principal, interest, and
Actuarial liability adjustment
|Total Receipts (B)||32,837||42,914|
|Payments and Other Charges|
Withdrawal allowances plus interest
Pension division payments
Transfer to other pension funds
Refundable tax Table 2 footnote a
Other Table 2 footnote b
|Total Payments (C)||52,427||30,337|
|Excess of Receipts over Payments (B - C) = (D)||(19,590)||12,577|
|Members of Parliament Retirement Compensation Arrangements Account, Closing Balance (A + D)||224,403||243,993|
Contributions ($)Table 3 footnote a
|Interest ($)||Actuarial and
PSSTable 3 footnote d Account ($)
|OtherTable 3 footnote e||Total
|1991–92||2,060,258||2,220,659||3,440,449||167,941,788Table 3 footnote b||175,663,154||7,187,271||7,339||0||0||7,194,610||199,829,636|
|1996–97||876,577||1,561,870||25,029,451||0||27,467,898||15,000,643||138,516Table 3 footnote c||0||0||15,139,159||258,105,826|
|1997–98||941,060||1,707,658||26,262,499||0||28,911,217||15,251,902||840,524Table 3 footnote c||0||0||16,092,426||270,924,617|
|1998–99||1,081,944||2,261,589||27,620,578||0||30,964,111||15,211,454||673,914Table 3 footnote c||0||0||15,885,368||286,003,360|
|1999–2000||1,054,926||2,673,500||29,409,145||0||33,137,571||15,311,534||680,015Table 3 footnote c||0||0||15,991,549||303,149,382|
|2000–01||1,582,118||2,882,101||31,014,334||0||35,478,553||15,514,009||405,499Table 3 footnote c||0||0||15,919,508||322,708,427|
|2001–02||1,366,802||3,847,838||33,226,180||0||38,440,820||15,993,470||154,314Table 3 footnote c||0||0||16,147,784||345,001,463|
|2002–03||1,340,110||4,395,891||35,221,387||0||40,957,388||16,623,728||846,514Table 3 footnote c||0||0||17,470,242||368,488,609|
|2003–04||1,100,713||4,557,315||37,822,796||0||43,480,824||16,551,392||862,213Table 3 footnote c||0||0||17,413,605||394,555,828|
|2004–05||1,361,109||4,780,613||40,502,434||0||46,644,156||18,108,177||566,431Table 3 footnote c||0||0||18,674,608||422,525,376|
|2005–06||1,600,703||5,226,747||43,384,988||0||50,212,438||18,977,081||311,777Table 3 footnote c||188,576||0||19,477,434||453,260,380|
|2006–07||1,653,756||5,355,841||46,554,638||0||53,564,235||20,017,711||149,303Table 3 footnote c||0||0||20,167,014||486,657,601|
|2007–08||1,635,495||5,592,419||50,003,648||0||57,231,562||20,530,863||260,000Table 3 footnote c||0||0||20,790,863||523,098,300|
|2008–09||1,690,181||6,065,645||53,771,144||0||61,526,970||21,404,062||559,833Table 3 footnote c||0||0||21,963,895||562,661,375|
|2009–10||1,821,235||6,800,618||57,879,875||0||66,501,728||22,448,720||0Table 3 footnote c||0||0||22,448,720||606,714,383|
|2010–11||1,840,317||7,618,115||62,459,846||0||71,918,278||22,996,056||0Table 3 footnote c||0||0||22,996,056||655,636,605|
|2011–12||1,964,975||9,002,051||67,506,190||0||78,473,216||24,682,295||1,172,223Table 3 footnote c||206,238||0||26,060,756||708,049,065|
|2012–13||1,973,869||8,999,607||62,794,895||0||73,768,371||25,766,262||245,281Table 3 footnote c||0||0||26,011,543||755,805,893|
|Interest ($)||Actuarial and
|Transfer to Other Pension Funds||OtherTable 4 footnote c||Total
|1995–96||1,246,927||5,971,846||2,563,705||0||9,782,478||762,478||574,632Table 4 footnote a||4,808,645||6,145,755||25,600,159|
|1996–97||1,074,385||4,944,660||2,853,534||0||8,872,579||772,012||57,167Table 4 footnote a||3,884,619||4,713,798||29,758,940|
|1997–98||1,147,880||5,410,244||3,257,976||0||9,816,100||954,739||718,385Table 4 footnote a||3,982,375||5,655,499||33,919,541|
|1998–99||1,353,367||6,816,386||3,769,294||0||11,939,047||976,109||113,933Table 4 footnote a||5,101,490||6,191,532||39,667,056|
|1999–2000||1,248,721||7,397,670||4,458,146||0||13,104,537||1,017,774||464,361Table 4 footnote a||5,790,772||7,272,907||45,498,686|
|2000–01||1,812,679||7,831,603||5,031,774||0||14,676,056||1,113,039||207,462Table 4 footnote a||6,460,747||7,781,248||52,393,494|
|2001–02||2,448,630||15,269,084||6,396,263||0||24,113,977||1,368,096||448,629Table 4 footnote a||10,049,942||11,866,667||64,640,804|
|2002–03||2,571,907||15,859,000||7,248,223||9,773,275||35,452,405||1,445,396||412,384Table 4 footnote a||10,982,904||12,840,684||87,252,525|
|2003–04||2,925,422||16,921,883||9,979,113||9,773,275||39,599,693||1,529,508||523,313Table 4 footnote a||17,926,813||19,979,634||106,872,584|
|2004–05||2,629,785Table 4 footnote b||16,297,793||11,702,344||9,645,766||40,275,688||3,254,354||441,259Table 4 footnote a||17,944,084||21,639,697||125,508,575|
|2005–06||2,755,607Table 4 footnote b||16,529,339||13,591,352||5,708,760||38,585,058||4,113,948||980,709Table 4 footnote a||18,223,501||23,318,158||140,775,475|
|2006–07||2,663,652Table 4 footnote b||16,178,865||15,103,392||0||33,945,909||5,886,618||211,517Table 4 footnote a||13,540,275||19,638,410||155,082,974|
|2007–08||2,579,374Table 4 footnote b||16,480,107||16,501,512||0||35,560,993||6,281,662||43,987Table 4 footnote a||18,318,531||24,644,180||165,999,787|
|2008–09||2,644,227Table 4 footnote b||17,921,071||17,734,300||600,000||38,899,598||7,431,275||801,124Table 4 footnote a||15,438,016||23,670,415||181,228,970|
|2009–10||2,710,973Table 4 footnote b||18,071,572||19,272,737||600,000||40,655,282||8,697,147||30,562Table 4 footnote a||15,693,048||24,420,757||197,463,495|
|2010–11||2,705,797Table 4 footnote b||19,084,944||20,980,723||600,000||43,371,464||8,985,433||(4,123)Table 4 footnote a||16,820,431||25,801,741||215,033,218|
|2011–12||2,757,757Table 4 footnote b||20,398,894||22,706,928||600,000||45,863,579||11,268,702||1,541,549Table 4 footnote a||16,792,406||477,875||30,080,532||231,416,266|
|2012–13||2,816,628Table 4 footnote b||19,212,077||20,884,907||0||42,913,612||12,013,724||354,656Table 4 footnote a||17,368,459||600,000||30,336,839||243,993,039|
|2013–14||3,459,061Table 4 footnote b||17,500,384||11,878,044||0||32,837,489||12,355,325||70,619||10,001,484||30,000,000||52,427,428||224,403,100|
Table 5: New and Past Allowances for Fiscal Year 2013–14
The following 21 new allowances became payable:
- 5 to former members of the Senate
- 1 to the survivors of a former member of the Senate
- 8 to former members of the House of Commons
- 0 to a former member of the House of Commons whose allowances were reinstated
- 5 to survivors of former members of the House of Commons
- 2 to former members of the House of Commons reinstated re: “An Act to Amend the Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act.”
Withdrawal allowances (i.e., return of members’ contributions with interest) were paid in respect of 1 member of the House of Commons and 2 members of the Senate.
The following 22 allowances ceased to be payable:
a) to 19 members who died during the fiscal year:
- 1 member of the Senate
- 2 former members of the Senate
- 3 survivors of former members of the Senate
- 7 former members of the House of Commons
- 6 survivors of former members of the House of Commons
b) to 3 members for the reasons given below:
- 2 former members of the House of Commons suspended re: “An Act to Amend the Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act.”
- 1 student allowance of a former member of the House of Commons suspended
Since the Act came into force on November 20, 1952, a total of 1,565 annual allowances (1,545 annual allowances in 2013) and 958 withdrawal allowances (956 withdrawal allowances in 2013) have been authorized.
The distribution of annual allowances in pay (including applicable indexation and MPRCA) at March 31, 2014, was as follows:
|Amount of Allowance ($)||Former Members||Survivors||Dependant Children/Students||Total 2014||Total 2013|
|90,000 and over||100||1||0||101||90|
|Up to 14,999||18||23||8||49||53|
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