Member Concerns Q&A

Q: I’ve been informed that there is a big possibility of a financial crash in the coming weeks and that it may last a few months. What are your thoughts on this and what is CEIRP’s position?

A: Since mid-March, when the emergency measures were enforced to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, two key questions have emerged about the economy:

  • When the economy re-opens, will consumers come and spend?
  • If they do come, can we keep them safe?

As much of the country heads into Phase 2 and to a limited degree, Phase 3, there is renewed optimism that things are slowly going back to normal. However, questions still remain and the overall financial forecasts vary wildly. However, we at GLC Asset Management Group Ltd. believe that investors are optimistic based on recent stock price gains. Investors seem perfectly happy to look past battered and beaten year-to-date earnings results and are focusing on riding the potential economic upswing in the second half of 2020 and into 2021. The movement in both equity and asset prices over the last three months has been fueled in part by the Central Bank’s intervention. If, however, these optimistic expectations don’t materialize, investors should expect another reduction in stock values and increased market volatility.

Q: Are there any recommended actions our members should take to protect their investments?

A: The CEIRP Investment Committee meets regularly and reviews the state of the economy and the financial markets with the investment professionals at Canada Life, as well as with independent advisors. The investment funds made available to members of CEIRP, the Cadence Target Date Funds and the Portfolio Target Risk Funds, are among the most conservative funds in those categories. These funds have been defensive during this market, which has served to protect capital against market downturns.

Q: Is there a “Guaranteed Capital” plan accessible to the participants? If no, is there any hope of seeing one in the near future?

A: The Plan offers Plan Members two guaranteed investment options for those investors who want to avoid market volatility and are willing to accept a lower rate of return. These funds are the Daily Interest Account and the 5-Year Guaranteed Investment Account. These options may appeal to Members who are close to retirement.

Q: I’m really worried about our members’ financial health and would really like to find a solution to better protect all of our savings within the CEIRP.

A: As mentioned, the 5-Year Guaranteed Investment Account and the Daily Interest Account options offer solid protection of the investors’ capital, although this protection comes with a reduced return on investment. With all that is going on, it is a good time for Plan Members to review their finances and retirement plans.

CEIRP now has its own dedicated team of Investment and Retirement Managers at Canada Life. They’re here to help you with those tough decisions about your savings and investments.

Whether you’re just starting out, retiring or somewhere in between, these specialists can help guide you along the way with personalized service and support. They can help you:

  • Create a plan
  • Decide how much to save
  • Combine your savings, and
  • Fine-tune you plan as your life changes, up to and beyond your working years

Jaime Baychu 1-866-788-1293 ext. 5790 or jaime.baychu@canadalife.ca

Stephen Rye 1-855-548-7356 or stephen.rye@canadalife.ca

George Frangedakis (English and French) 1-866-788-1293 ext. 5804 or george.frangedakis@canadavie.ca

Canada Life offers easy to use tools and calculators to assist CEIRP Members in planning for retirement and reviewing their current financial situation. CEIRP members that are looking to set goals, make additional contributions to bolster their savings and monitor their investment progress may do so by accessing Plan your retirement and other tools including the iAcquaint financial planning site through member access on www.grsaccess.com.

A couple of short videos to assist plan members in learning about their savings and retirement plans can be found on the Canada Life YouTube channel:

  1. Steps to take to grow your account – start saving early – https://youtu.be/i7N7kikFOAE
  2. How to choose the right target date fund – https://youtu.be/hfI7wpI4erI

Additional resources include www.Smartpathnow.com. This public facing site has a wealth of information on the stages of retirement saving, easy-to-use calculators and an investment checkup. Need access to the Canada Life member site at www.grsaccess.com? If you provided your email address to Canada Life and have not yet registered, you can do so online at www.grsaccess.com using the “New to GRS Access Register Now” link found on the sign-in page. If you have not given Canada Life your email address, phone the Access Line at 1-800-724-3402, weekdays from 8 am to 8 pm ET to provide it and gain access to self-register.

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Government of CanadaFind financial help during COVID-19

May 28, 2020

A reminder about fees on withdrawals

For more information on withdrawals and restrictions on withdrawals, please refer to your enrolment booklet.

RRSP/TFSA

A cornerstone of the CEIRP is to help members save for retirement. One of the ways to accomplish this is to limit the ability to withdraw contributions.

  • Withholding tax will be deducted from amounts withdrawn from the RRSP (not including the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) and the Lifelong Learning Plan(LLP)).
  • The fee for any withdrawal out of the Plan from the RRSP (including the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) and the Lifelong Learning Plan(LLP)), or the TFSA is $25.

NRSP (non-registered)

  • You are allowed one free withdrawal per year.
  • $50 fee for any subsequent withdrawals within the same calendar year.

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May 19, 2020

CEIRP has sent a request to the Federal Government to use existing loan programs to allow members and all Canadians temporary access to their retirement savings on a loan basis. You can find a copy of that letter here.

The IATSE and the DGC have also submitted a letter of support for CEIRP’s proposal.

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Click this link to the

CEIRP 2019 Stakeholder Report

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April 3, 2020 Update

Dear Plan Members,

At this time, the CEIRP Retirement Committee has not relaxed criteria or amended withdrawal restrictions or waiting periods on payroll contributions due to the work stoppage resulting from Covid-19.

Rather than immediately seeking to withdraw from funds which have been set aside for retirement, as stipulated by contracts/collective agreements, members are advised to exhaust all available options:

  • Apply for employment insurance benefits as soon as possib
  • Apply to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit Act (CERBA) if you are a loan out or do not otherwise not qualify for employment insurance benefits.
  • Apply to the AFC for emergency funds. You do not have to pay them back.
  • If you are a renter please check out support for renters in your province.
  • If you have a mortgage contact the mortgage holder.
  • Take advantage of the payment holidays and deferrals being offered by lenders, utility companies, municipalities and other service providers.
  • Check your Union or Guild office for any initiatives being undertaken which may provide additional relief through them and your benefit plan and member/employee assistance plan, as applicable.

No one knows where this is going, but market corrections have occurred in the past and markets did recover over time.  A decision made in response to the current situation may cause results that are contrary to long-term goals. CEIRP’s investment policy is to protect member assets in down markets and is supported by Canada Life’s disciplined and conservative investing practices.

There is a great deal of work being done by a great many people in all sectors of the industry who have banded together to lobby governments at all levels to support Canadian workers in an industry that has been hit so hard so fast.

Stay safe and keep well.

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March 18, 2020 Update

Very important: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/canadas-covid-19-economic-response-plan-support-for-canadians-and-businesses.html

Dear Plan Members,

The CEIRP Retirement Committee held an emergency meeting on March 14th to discuss COVID-19 and the Plan. They will be monitoring and assessing the situation closely and continuing to meet regularly as necessary.

Plan Administrators have been assured that it’s business as usual and that they will be provided with regular updates as more information becomes available.

The Plan Manager is coordinating with all Participating Unions, Guilds and Employers to ensure that the lines of communication remain open to help Plan Members navigate through these uncertain times.

The COVID-19 situation is changing by the hour. Below are links to help you keep up with developments.

World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus

Public Health Agency of Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html

Employment Insurance: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei.html

The AFC: https://afchelps.ca/

For more information pertinent to you specifically, check for updates from your Union or Guild office, or Employer on their website, e-newsletter, or by phone – ask to speak with your group retirement plan administrator.

You may be able to apply for employment insurance benefits; at this time, the waiting period for EI Sick Benefits has been waived.

The AFC is able to accept applications for emergency funds, though not total income replacement, and may be able to provide information for other possible sources of assistance.

Your Employee/Member Assistance Plan, if applicable, may also be able to provide assistance.

If you have questions about your account please contact Canada Life at 1-800-724-3402 and ask to speak with an Investment and Retirement Specialist.  Canada Life has provided this article addressing market volatility.

Undoubtedly, there are concerns over the current negative effects on the markets. Canada Life’s conservative and diversified approach to investing may underperform in bull markets, but tends to protect capital during negative equity markets.

Please continue to check for updates on www.ceirp.ca, and with your local health authority.

Stay safe and keep well.