Canadians enter the workforce with an average of nearly $27,000 in student loan debt, finds a survey by Consortium, C.U. The debt typically takes 10 years to repay, which means many delay saving for traditional life goals like home ownership, starting a family or retirement.

Great-West Life is piloting a voluntary retirement and savings program with select employers and their eligible employees to address the problem. As participating members pay down their Canadian and provincial government student loans, they receive an employer-matched contribution to their group retirement and savings plan. This allows members to save for their futures while they focus on paying down their student loan debt, says a company release.