What is a Retirement Savings Plan?

Retirement savings plans are used by plan members to accumulate tax-sheltered savings in order to receive income during retirement. The money is usually invested in various vehicles such as mutual funds including stocks and bonds of Canadian or foreign companies.

Several types of plans can be offered by organizations. An assessment of each organization's needs is required to determine which type of plan is the most appropriate. The plans described below are the most commonly used.

Group Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)

Plan members enjoy all the benefits of an individual RRSP while taking advantage of lower administration and investment management fees through collective bargaining power. This plan is ideal for an organization who does not wish to make contributions or in combination with a Deferred Profit Sharing Plan.

Deferred Profit Sharing Plan (DPSP)

The employer contributes a portion of its profits on behalf of employees. This plan is often combined with a group RRSP into which members’ contributions are paid. It offers appealing advantages such as beneficial tax treatment and rules fostering employee retention.

Voluntary Retirement Savings Plan (VRSP)

The latest evolution in retirement savings in Quebec, the VRSP is a voluntary retirement savings plan that enables workers to save for retirement in a structured framework. Created under Quebec government legislation, it is intended to democratize retirement savings plan access for Quebec workers.

It is a simple plan with voluntary enrollment and limited investment options. However, under the Quebec legislation, employers with 10 or more employees are required to make it available to their employees if they do not already have access to another retirement savings vehicle. This plan is ideal for a small business where the employer does not wish to make contributions.

Defined Contribution Pension Plan (Traditional or Simplified) 

Both plan member and organization contributions are paid into this plan that offers a wide variety of investment choices. It is registered with the provincial regulatory authority of the province where the plurality of the organization’s employees are located and guarantees protections provided under the Supplemental Pension Plans Act of Quebec, the Ontario Pension Benefits Act or the equivalent provincial legislation where employees are located.

In Quebec, a simplified version of this plan (SRP) is known for being simple and easy to manage. Therefore, it is the ideal plan for organizations who intend to contribute to a retirement savings plan, but it can only be offered to employees working in Quebec.

Individual Pension Plan (IPP)

The IPP is a single-member defined benefit pension plan. Under certain circumstances, it may allow the opportunity to contribute higher amounts than those paid into an RRSP and even provide for past service benefits. As such, it is especially well-suited for a company’s owner-manager or executive officers.

Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)

The group TFSA is becoming more and more popular for retirement savings purposes. The contributions to a TFSA are not tax deductible, but the income they generate and the amounts that are withdrawn are not taxable. The TFSA can be an attractive addition to a retirement savings plan in order to facilitate additional savings for retirement or for shorter-term projects.

Click here to learn about the advantages of a retirement savings plan.


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