Pension wealth rises as RRSPs decline, StatsCan reports

By James Langton | December 13, 2019 | Last updated on December 13, 2019
1 min read
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Overall pension wealth ticked higher in 2018, but the value of individual registered savings plans declined, according to Statistics Canada.

The national statistical agency reported that Canadians’ pension wealth grew by 0.8% in nominal terms last year, rising to $3.85 trillion.

The rise in overall pension wealth was powered by a 1.3% increase in the value of employer-based pension plans during the year, to $2.2 trillion.

However, the value of registered savings plans (including RRSPs, RRIFs and LIRAs) declined by 2.7% during the year to $1.2 trillion, StatsCan said.

The highest growth in pension wealth came in the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), which saw its wealth rise by 9.2% during the year.

The Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) increased by 2.9% over the same period.

StatsCan also reported that total pension contributions rose by 3.4% during the year, to $200 billion.

Individual plan contributions enjoyed the strongest growth, up 4.1% during the year. Contributions to employer-based plans, the CPP and QPP were up by 3.2%.

The modest increase in total pension wealth for 2018 was significantly less than the 7.0% rise the previous year.

This softer growth came amid equity market weakness in late 2018.

“By the end of 2018, the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) had dropped by 11.6% and the Standard and Poor’s 500 declined 6.2%,” StatsCan said. “However, these exchanges quickly rebounded in the beginning of 2019.”

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James Langton

James is a senior reporter for and its sister publication, Investment Executive. He has been reporting on regulation, securities law, industry news and more since 1994.