Glossary

Clicking the term below will show the definition.

Active Member
A member who is making contributions to SFPP or would be making contributions, if not for being:
  • on leave
  • in receipt of benefits under the employer's disability plan; or
  • at the maximum pensionable service limit (35 years).
Actuarial Reserve
The estimated cost to SFPP of providing the increased benefits gained by a member who buys or transfers prior service. An actuarial reserve calculation takes into account a number of factors including salary scaling and mortality.
Actuarial Valuation

A mathematical analysis of the financial condition of a pension plan. An actuary prepares a plan valuation at least once every three years. The valuation shows the Board if the contribution rates are higher or lower than what is needed to ensure the long-term funding of the Plan.

Actuary

A person authorized by their designation as a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries to prepare and sign actuarial valuations.

Alberta Consumer Price Index

A weighted average of the cost of a basket of goods and services that are normally purchased by Alberta households. It includes such things as clothing, food, housing, gasoline, health, personal care services, recreation and education.

Allocation

The designation of your pension benefits to one or more beneficiaries.

Alternate Beneficiary

If your primary beneficiary or beneficiaries are deceased, your alternate beneficiary or beneficiaries are entitled to your benefits. See also "Beneficiary" and "Primary Beneficiary".

Approved Long-Term Disability Income (LTDI) Plan
An income replacement plan sponsored by an employer for its employees that will pay you a portion of your pre-disability salary while you are off work. Where the LTDI plan is approved by APS, the period of LTDI coverage is considered mandatory service for pension purposes.
The criteria used by APS to approve LTDI plans are:
  • all members employed by the employer in the group to whom the LTDI plan applies, except for those ineligible for coverage by reason of not meeting medical requirements, must be covered by the LTDI plan;
  • a member must not be required to apply for a pension as long as the member qualifies for benefits under the LTDI plan; and
  • the LTDI plan must be filed with APS.
APS
Alberta Pensions Services Corporation (APS) is SFPP's pension administrator. APS is responsible for providing services to the Special Forces Pension Board, members, pensioners and employers.
Beneficiary
Your pension partner is automatically your sole beneficiary if you die before retirement. If you have no pension partner, you should let SFPP know who would receive the benefit. You can designate one or more beneficiaries or a charitable organization.

If you don't have a pension partner, then your beneficiary in respect of your pension for pre-1992 service is your dependent minor child(ren).

or your pension in respect of post-1991 service a Beneficiary is the person(s) you designate to receive a benefit if:
  • you die before retirement; or
  • you die before the end of the guaranteed period. This is only applicable if:
  • you chose one of the Single Lifetime Guaranteed Term options; or
  • you chose one of the Joint Lifetime options and both you and your pension partner die within the guaranteed period.

Even if you have a pension partner you should designate a beneficiary. That way SFPP knows to whom the benefit is to be paid if your pension partner predeceases you, or if your pension partner has waived the right to a benefit. If you have not designated a beneficiary and your Will does not specifically mention SFPP, payment will be made to your estate.
Bridge Benefit
Under SFPP, if you retire before age 65, a bridge benefit is automatically included in your pension until you turn 65. The Bridge Benefit is 0.6 percent of the five-year average of the Year's Maximum Pensionable Earnings set by the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) for each year of service after 1965.

The bridge benefit is added to your SFPP pension to "bridge the gap" between your retirement date and the date you may be eligible to begin your federal pensions. When you turn 65 the bridge benefit is permanently removed from your SFPP pension.
Canada Pension Plan (CPP)
The federal pension plan administered by Human Resources and Social Development Canada on behalf of employees in all provinces and territories of Canada except Quebec where the equivalent Quebec Pension Plan applies.
Commuted Value
The actuarial present value of accrued benefits, determined using actuarial assumptions and methods recommended by the Canadian Institute of Actuaries. This represents the amount of money that must be set aside today, based on current interest rates, to provide pension payments at a future date.

If you are vested and you leave the SFPP, you are entitled to the commuted value of your pension payable on all post-1991 service.
Consumer Price Index (CPI)

Measures the relative prices at various times of a selected group of goods and services which typify those bought by urban families and common currencies.

Contributions
Money paid into a pension plan by you and your employer. Your contributions are tax deductible and are made through payroll deduction. All contributions go directly to the SFPP fund. Contributions may also include payments towards prior service such as a period of qualifying leave without salary.
Coordination
Coordination is a feature offered to eligible members who retire before age 65 that allows for flexible retirement income planning. Coordination lets you increase your monthly payment temporarily from the time you retire until you turn 65. At age 65, the increase to your monthly payment stops and a permanent reduction to your monthly pension payment begins. The reduction will continue as long as you live and may add up to more than the increase you received before 65.
Cost-of-living Adjustment (COLA)
An increase in a pension benefit to compensate for inflation.

On service before 1992, your pension will increase each January by 60% of the Alberta Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI is a weighted average of the cost of a basket of goods and services that are normally purchased by Alberta households. This includes things such as clothing, food, housing, gasoline, health and personal care, recreation, and education. COLA increases are calculated by taking the average of the CPI during the 12-month period ending each October and comparing it to the previous year's 12-month average.

For service after 1991, the Special Forces Pension Board is responsible for setting COLA according to the funds available in the Indexing Fund. The Indexing Fund was established to finance cost-of-living adjustments.
Current Employment Status
Your current status of employment with your employer. This can be full time, part time or terminated (no longer contributing to the Plan).
Deferred Member
A member who is no longer an active member of SFPP but has left pension benefits in the Plan. A deferred member may leave their benefit entitlement in SFPP until retirement.
Deferred Pension
A pension that does not commence immediately following termination from SFPP. A deferred pension may not commence earlier than the member's 55th birthday, unless the member has 25 years of pensionable service or qualifies for a disability pension, but must commence before December 31 of the member's 71st birthday.
Defined Benefit Plan
Defined Benefit Plans pay a monthly pension based on your salary and your length of service. The pension plan's obligation is to pay a stated benefit to each employee based on the employee's salary and length of service. The main benefits of a defined benefit plan are:
  • Your benefit is guaranteed and you are provided a specified lifetime income regardless of market conditions, or how long you live.
  • You can plan for your retirement because you can estimate your future pension income. The pension estimator allows you to estimate your future monthly payments.
Dependent Minor Child

To qualify as a dependent minor, your child(ren) must be:

  • Dependent - financially supported by you and not married
  • Minor - under 18 years of age
Excess Contributions
Excess contributions is the amount of member contributions with interest that exceeds 50% of the value of the benefit being paid for service after 1991. Contributions paid and service credited for prior service are not included when calculating excess contributions.
Fund

A fund was established under the legislation governing the Plan to hold all employee and employer contributions and investment income. All benefits are paid from the fund with the exception of cost-of-living adjustments to pensions on service after 1991 (which are paid from a separate indexing fund). All assets in the fund can only be used to pay the promised benefits and cover administrative costs.

Guaranteed Term
A Single Lifetime Guaranteed Term pension (5, 10 or 15 years) is paid for your lifetime. If you die before the end of the guaranteed period, payments will continue to your designated beneficiary(ies) until the end of the guaranteed period. For example, if you choose the Single Lifetime Guaranteed At Least 10 years option and die 4 years later, the pension will be paid to your beneficiary(ies) for the remaining 6 years.
Highest Average Salary
The average of your five highest consecutive years of salary used to calculate your pension benefits. For the purposes of calculating your highest average salary, the salary for a given year may not exceed the corresponding salary cap.
Indexing Fund

Since August 1992, employers and members of SFPP have had a portion of their contributions invested in a separate indexing fund. The fund was set up to finance cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) for service after January 1992. COLA has been granted at 60 per cent of the Alberta Consumer Price Index (CPI) on all service from January 1, 1992 to December 31, 2000 and 30 per cent on all service from January 1, 2001 to December 31, 2012. COLA for service prior to January 1, 1992 is guaranteed to be a minimum of 60 per cent of the Alberta CPI and is funded by regular contributions and investment returns.

Joint Life
A Joint Lifetime pension is payable for the lives of the member and pension partner. Members who have a pension partner at the time of their retirement must select one of the Joint Lifetime pension options unless the pension partner signs a Pension Partner Waiver, waiving his or her rights to the survivor benefit.

If you choose the Joint Lifetime Guaranteed At Least 5 Years option, on the death of either you or your pension partner, the same pension is paid to the survivor for his or her life. If you choose the Joint Lifetime Reduced by 1/3 Guaranteed At Least 5 Years option, at the first death of either you or your pension partner, the monthly payment is reduced by 1/3. This means that if the pension partner dies before the member, the member's pension will be reduced to 2/3 of the pension amount.

In both options, the pension is guaranteed for five years. If both you and your pension partner die before the end of the five year term, the pension will be paid to your beneficiary(ies) for the remainder of the term.
Leave With Partial Salary
A period of service during which a member is, with the approval of his/her employer, on leave from all or a portion of his/her regular duties of employment and is receiving pensionable salary that is less than his/her regular pensionable salary from the employer. During periods of leave with partial salary, the member remains an active member and contributions are remitted through the employer as if the member were at work.
Liability

The SFPP liability is the total value of all benefits earned by SFPP members and other costs for which the SFPP Fund is responsible.

Locked-In Retirement Account (LIRA)
A special type of RRSP designed specifically to hold locked-in pension funds. Alberta public sector pension plans, like SFPP, are not subject to the Employment Pension Plans Act (EPPA) however, once locked money is transferred out of SFPP it must be locked-in under the rules of the EPPA. If you have a LIRA and are at least 50 years old, you can start receiving pension income. Most financial Institutions offer LIRAs however APS will only send the locked-in funds to a financial institution that appears on the Alberta Superintendent of Pensions list of approved LIRA contracts.
Long Separated Spouse
If a member and his/her pension partner are still married by law, but the pension partner and the member have been separated for a period of three years or longer prior to the pension commencement, an exclusion of long separated spouse declaration can be signed. This declaration is made by the Plan member and would allow him/her to select a pension option that does not include pension partner protection.

This declaration can only be signed by the Plan member where no notice of a Matrimonial Property Order (MPO) or a proceeding to obtain an MPO has been filed with APS.
LTDI (Long-Term Disability Income Continuance Plan)

A type of disability insurance offered by an employer for employees who become unable to perform their normal work because of a physical or mental disability. If the LTDI plan is approved by Alberta Pensions Services Corporation, the period of LTDI coverage is included as service for pension purposes.

Marital Status

Your marital status can be single, married, common-law, separated, widowed or divorced. See "pension partner" for further information.

Matrimonial Property Order
If you are currently undergoing a marital breakdown, your pension benefits may be subject to division and distribution between you and your soon to be ex-spouse. For pension benefits to be divided and distributed, a court-certified copy of a Matrimonial Property Order (MPO) must be obtained and filed with Alberta Pensions Services Corporation. You should consult your legal counsel about obtaining and filing an MPO and the division and distribution of your pension benefits.

Under the Matrimonial Property Act, an MPO can only be obtained in respect of a legal marriage. In certain circumstances, the regulations governing SFPP allow for the division and distribution of your pension benefits by making a one-time payment to the non-member ex-spouse without having to wait for the member to become eligible for a benefit. If you are a SFPP member going through a marital breakdown, your legal counsel should take these regulations into account when working on your matrimonial property settlement.
Member ID
The unique number assigned to you by APS' previous pension administration system. The Member ID is printed on publications sent between January 2004 and May 2016, including your annual statement, enrolment package or benefit estimate package.

Member Identifier

The unique number assigned to you by APS' current pension administration system. The identifier is printed on publications sent after May 2016, including your pension highlights (annual statement) or Termination Statement Estimate.

Member Plan Status

Your status under the Plan. See "Active Member" and "Deferred Member."

mypensionplan

mypensionplan is a secure website that provides active members and deferred members of the Special Forces Pension Plan with access to personalized pension information.

Nominee
The person you name to receive your Joint Lifetime pension if you die first. If you have a pension partner on the effective date of your pension, the nominee must be your pension partner unless they sign a waiver sent with the Retirement Benefit Statement. The nominee must be a valid nominee under the Income Tax Act (e.g. an ex-spouse or ex-common-law partner).
Normal Pension-Guaranteed Five Years
The normal form is the base from which all other pension options are calculated. All other optional forms of pension are the actuarial equivalent of the current normal form. 

If you have a pension partner at retirement:

The joint lifetime with reduced survivor benefit guaranteed at least 5 years is the normal form for members who have a pension partner at the time of retirement. This pension option is paid for your lifetime. If you die before your pension partner, 65% of the monthly payment will continue to be paid for his or her life.

By law, you must choose one of the joint life options unless the pension partner signs a waiver. If both you and your pension partner die before the end of the guaranteed period, payments will continue to your designated beneficiary(ies) for the amount remaining in the guaranteed period.

If you do not have a pension partner at retirement:

The Single Lifetime Guaranteed at Least 5 Years option is the normal form for members who do not have a pension partner at the time of retirement. A single lifetime guaranteed term option is paid to you for as long as you live. If you die before the end of the guaranteed period, payments will continue to your designated beneficiary(ies) for the amount remaining in the guaranteed period.
Old Age Security (OAS)
The basic federal income security program for seniors who are age 65 and older who meet the Canadian legal status and residence requirements.
Payment Due Date
The last date payment can be accepted towards the purchase of service. The date is shown in the Buyback Proposal mailed to you if you are buying prior service or a leave of absence. You must be an active SFPP participant in order to make payments towards your prior service. If you stop participating in SFPP, you will have 90 days from your termination date in SFPP to complete payments. If you do not pay the outstanding balance, the credited pensionable service will be prorated accordingly.
Pension Partner

A "pension partner" means:

(i) a person who, at the relevant time, was married to a participant or former participant and had not been living separate and apart from him or her for 3 or more consecutive years, or

(ii) if there is no person to whom subclause (i) applies, a person who, as at and up to the relevant time, had lived with the participant or former participant in a conjugal relationship

(A) for a continuous period of at least 3 years, or

(B) of some permanence, if there is a child of the relationship by birth or adoption.

For the purposes of this definition, persons are living separate and apart
(a) if they are living apart and either of them has the intention to live separate and apart from the other, or

(b) if, before the relevant time,
(i) they had been living separate and apart for any period, and

(ii) that period was interrupted or terminated by reason only that either of them became incapable of continuing to live separate and apart or of forming or having the intention to continue to live separate and apart of that person's own volition, and the separation would probably have continued if that person had not become so incapable.

Pensionable Salary
Basic pay for the performance of your regular duties. Salary also includes acting pay if the employer treats it as pensionable salary under the employer's salary policy. Salary does not include earnings such as expensive allowances or overtime payments. The salary used in the calculation of your SFPP benefit entitlement will be subject to any limits set out under the tax rules.
Pensionable Service
Your years of service during which you contribute to the Pension Plan, plus service recognized from a transfer or purchase of prior service. The maximum pensionable service limit in SFPP is 35 years.
Pensioner

A member, surviving pension partner, or beneficiary who is receiving a pension from the Plan.

Plan Valuation

An actuarial analysis of the financial condition of a pension plan by looking at the current assets and assumed future liabilities. An actuary prepares a plan valuation at least once every three years. Following a valuation, the Board may adjust contribution rates so the rates meet the funding requirements of the Plan.

Portable Document Format (PDF)

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a format used to deliver documents over the Internet. Adobe® Reader® (TM) is the standard software used to access PDF documents and can be downloaded, for free, from the Adobe® website.

Pre-retirement Death Waiver
The pension partner may waive his/her right to a lifetime pension by completing the Pension Partner Waiver of Pre-Pension Commencement of Death Benefit. This allows the pension to be paid to the beneficiary(ies) on file with APS instead of the pension partner. This waiver can be completed by the pension partner any time before pension commencement but it may only be rescinded by the pension partner prior to the member's death.
Primary Beneficiary

If you do not have a pension partner, your primary beneficiary is entitled to your benefits if you die before retirement or before the expiry of a guaranteed term. See also "Beneficiary" and "Alternate Beneficiary".

Prior Service (Buyback or Past Service)
Previous employment during which you did or didn't belong to a pension plan. You may be able to buy back this period of service if you are not receiving a current or future pension from your former employer. (Only some types of public service are eligible.)
By purchasing prior service you can increase your length of pensionable service thereby increasing your future benefits.
Reciprocal Transfer

The transfer of benefits to another plan pursuant to a reciprocal agreement.

Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)

A type of tax-deferred investment that is set up to hold and invest your savings until you retire. Most can be withdrawn at any time, but you will be taxed on the amount withdrawn.

Salary

See "Pensionable Salary".

Salary Cap
The salary cap is the maximum salary upon which a defined benefit can be based. This cap is derived from the Defined Benefit Limit set under the federal Income Tax Act. The salary cap applies to pensionable service after 1996. The 2017 salary cap for SFPP is $162,312.
Service

See "Pensionable Service".

Service Year
The year specified by the employer as the employer's annual payroll pay period cycle. This is the year for which members' pensionable service is reported by the employer and which will have specific "From" and "To" dates. The service year may not coincide exactly with the calendar year.
Single Lifetime

A single lifetime pension is paid for a pensioner's lifetime only. The pension stops when the pensioner dies, regardless of the number of payments made.

Social Insurance Number (SIN)

A nine-digit number used in the administration of various Canadian government programs. You require a SIN to work in Canada or to receive government benefits.

Spouse

See Pension Partner.

Statement of Investment Policies and Goals

A policy document set by the Board to establish the asset mix of the Fund, the manner by which Alberta Investment Management Corporation may invest assets and the specific holding limits for each type of security.

Surplus

A surplus exists when the actuarial valuation determines the Plan's accrued benefit payments (liabilities) are less than the net assets available for the payment of those benefits.

Termination

The point at which a member ceases to participate in the Plan, e.g. retires or moves into a non-participating position.

Transfer Agreement
An agreement negotiated with another pension plan that allows members to transfer their pension when they move between plans.
Unfunded Liability

An unfunded liability exists when the actuarial valuation determines the Fund's accrued liabilities exceed the net assets available for the payment of benefits.

Unreduced Pension

You are eligible to receive an unreduced pension at any age if you have more than 25 years of pensionable service, or at age 55 if you have more than 5 years of pensionable service.

Vested
A term used by pension plans that means you are eligible to receive a monthly pension. Members of SFPP are vested after five years of pensionable service, or immediately if you are age 65.
Withholding Date

The date on which the employer issues a member's pay for a particular pay period. Pension contributions for a particular pay period must be remitted to APS within 15 days of the withholding date.

Withholding Year

The year in which the employer withheld contributions that were remitted to the pension plan.

Year’s Maximum Pensionable Earnings (YMPE)
The maximum amount of earnings on which contributions to CPP are based.