Around 57,000 more Canadians had registered pension plans in 2020 than in the previous year, according to Statistics Canada.
Nearly 6.6 million Canadians had a registered pension plan in 2020, up by 57,000 (0.9%) from 2019, the agency said.
The increases came in Quebec (33,000), Ontario (25,200) and British Columbia (16,800), while fewer workers in Alberta (-23,400) and in Newfoundland and Labrador (-3,500) had pensions.
Defined-benefit (DB) plans continue to make up the lion’s share of pensions in Canada. Around 4.4 million Canadians were covered by DB plans in 2020, a 1.7% increase from the previous year.
Defined-contribution (DC) plans accounted for 18.4% of registered pensions after losing about 7,300 members, or 0.6%, year over year.
The growth in registered pensions came from the public sector, which added more than 60,000 participants (1.7%). Private sector membership declined by just under 3,100 members (-0.1%) in 2020.
Almost four in 10 (39.7%) workers in Canada were covered by a registered pension in 2020, up from 37.1% in 2019.
“The increase in the coverage ratio was due to a decrease in labour force numbers, attributable to the pandemic, rather than an increase in the membership in the registered pension plans,” StatsCan said.
“This level of coverage was last seen in 2001 (40.2%), then trended downward before having a peak year in 2009 (39.4%), after which point it resumed its downward trend.”
As the economy recovers from the pandemic, adding non-union jobs in sectors such as retail and accommodation, coverage rates are expected to drop, the agency said.