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January 2004
Vol. 5, no. 1

Perspectives on Labour and Income

Retirement plan awareness
René Morissette and Xuelin Zhang

  • Many workers do not clearly understand their retirement plan coverage and, in particular, confuse RPPs and group RRSPs. Of those who reported having a group RRSP at their job, one in four worked in firms that did not offer one. Among those who reported having an RPP, one in six were in firms without one.
  • Low seniority explains why young workers appear less informed about their retirement plans than their older counterparts. Almost 20% of employees with less than two years seniority who reported having a retirement plan worked for firms reporting none. The corresponding proportion is at most 7% among employees with 10 or more years seniority.
  • University graduates, unionized workers, workers in large establishments, and those employed in finance and insurance, and communication and other utilities appear to be better informed than other workers.
  • Overall, 4% of full-time permanent employees in the private sector thought they had a retirement plan but didn't. Lack of understanding is more acute among recent immigrants. Their rate was 9%, twice as high as Canadian-born workers.

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René Morissette and Xuelin Zhang are with the Business and Labour Market Analysis Division. René Morissette can be reached at (613) 951-3608, Xuelin Zhang at (613) 951-4295, or both at

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