With the changing nature of work, the nonprofit sector has an opportunity to support all of its employees in planning their financial future.
Our Committed Employers
We are excited to have the following organizations as committed employers who will offer the Common Good Retirement Plan to their employees and freelancers, should the initiative move forward.
Common Good would allow nonprofit organizations to offer a retirement income plan without getting into the retirement business.
A collective approach to retirement has the potential to enhance satisfaction among workers, improve employee retention, and strengthen the sector.
A Common Good Plan can:
- Help workers retire better without the administrative burden and legal liability and risk
- Can work with or without an employer contribution or match
- Offer employees a more competitive benefits package
- Improve productivity by reducing employee financial stress
How it would work for employers
- Offer participation in the Common Good Retirement Plan to your employees
- Set up the system (e.g., through payroll) for your employees to make contributions
- For organizations that are able to make employer contributions, contribute to employee accounts (e.g., matching contributions)
The design of Common Good
The Common Good Retirement Plan would have the following features:
- Minimal administrative burden for participating employers – your main responsibility would be to make or facilitate contributions through the plan’s easy-to-use, self-service administration
- No fiduciary duty or compliance responsibilities for the employer – the plan would take care of these
- Ability for sector employers to provide matching contributions, if they so choose
- Overseen by an independent board with a duty to put plan members’ interests first and composed of a combination of pensions and investment experts, and leaders from the nonprofit sector
- A low-cost, simple, professionally managed investment approach tailored to the age and retirement date of members
- Allows lower- and moderate-income earners to preserve Guaranteed Income Supplement benefits through a Group TFSA structure
- Allows middle- and upper-income earners to save thousands of dollars per year through a hybrid Group TFSA/RRSP structure
- Allows members to transfer in savings from other RRSP and TFSA accounts
- Provides assistance to members in the post-retirement phase, including low-cost investments, help with when to claim OAS, GIS, and CPP, and ways to turn your nest egg into a stream of income
Commit to the Common Good
In order to launch Common Good, the initiative needs confirmed support from at least 50 employers who are publicly committed to offering the plan to employees, should it proceed. Having your organization on this list would be a powerful step towards making Common Good a reality.
We know that the decision to offer or switch to a new retirement plan is not a simple one. We can provide you with the resources to guide your organization through this process. Download our toolkit to learn more about becoming a participating employer, and together we can bring retirement security to the nonprofit sector.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Plan will be overseen by a nonprofit corporation governed by a board of directors with a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the Plan’s members. All service providers to the Plan, including the Plan’s administrator and investment managers, will be accountable to the board, which will be responsible for continuously improving the Plan in the interests of its members.
Your primary role would be to offer participation in the Plan to your employees and members, as well as provide the appropriate education to help facilitate their enrolment.
Employers would be responsible for setting up the system (e.g., through payroll) for your employees, and remitting and reconciling contributions. Common Wealth can also easily set up workers who are freelancers and/or who wish to make additional contributions on their own to contribute directly through their own bank accounts.
Common Wealth would also work with your organization to design and deliver educational sessions to ensure the Plan is well-understood by your employees/members and share best practices with you on how you can support your employees/members to effectively save for retirement.
Your organization would also have the option of making design decisions to encourage employee/member participation and saving. An example could include making the Plan mandatory if you’re also contributing matching dollars.
Offering the Common Good plan could provide the following benefits:
- A practical, easy way to help all of your employees/members to build their economic security without the administrative and legal liability and risk associated with traditional pension plans.
- Access to a much higher-value retirement income plan for your employees/members than the marketplace currently offers. Experience from Common Wealth’s existing plan designs suggests modest earners can achieve up to 2-3 times the retirement income and higher income earners will save thousands of dollars in fees compared to current retail alternatives.
- You can help reduce employee/member financial stress and, for employers, associated productivity issues arising from financial insecurity. Recent Conference Board of Canada research shows that 28% of Canadians struggle with their finances, while related research from Towers Watson shows that financially stressed workers lose an average of 12.4 days per year of productivity due to distraction and “presenteeism.”
- Improved ability to offer a competitive total rewards package to employees. High-quality retirement income plans can help make workplaces more competitive when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. Associations can strengthen their relationship with their members, attract new members and reduce member turnover in the same way.
We understand the need for nonprofit organizations to avoid unfunded liabilities and risks, and the Plan’s structure and governance model are expressly designed to protect participating organizations against these:
- Participating employers/associations have no obligation to contribute to employee/member accounts unless they wish to do so under policies and terms they themselves will set and can changes as appropriate to their needs.
- There is no investment risk to the participating organizations, unlike a traditional pension plan. The risk of investment volatility would be borne by individual savers enrolled in the Plan. However, investment providers and products will be selected using a rigorous process and investment choices curated based on best outcomes for Plan members, balancing risk and reward over time. This would include investment choices treated as appropriate default investment options in other jurisdictions (e.g., low-cost target date funds).
- The Plan’s proposed structure exceeds existing regulatory requirements for group retirement plans, and organizational by-laws and policies will employ industry best practices and standards with respect to governance, fee/cost disclosures and member education and communication.
- The Plan’s non-profit incorporation and fiduciary role together ensure that all decisions are made on the sole basis of members’ interests. Unlike commercial retirement saving options for individuals, there is no opportunity for conflict between the provider’s commercial interests and the Plan’s members. Non-profit organizations can trust that their employees’/members’ interests will be paramount.
Organizations who participate as a Plan sponsor with a representative on the Plan’s Board of Directors will have legal obligations, but all directors will be protected by D&O insurance. While the board of directors will provide strategic oversight of the Plan, all operational risks will be delegated by the board and borne by the service providers.
Join the First 50 Employers
“The BC Society of Transition Houses is pleased to champion the Common Good Retirement Plan and to support an initiative that will invest in the future of an underpaid workforce predominantly made up of women. BCSTH is committed to ending violence against women and their children and to supporting frontline services who work with those fleeing violence every day. In doing this work, our staff team and the anti-violence sector dedicate themselves to making a difference in the lives of others. It is only right that we do whatever we can to compensate them fairly and competitively for their work.”
"At New Market Funds, we're committed to creating positive community benefit and having a positive and supportive workplace. We recognize the value of offering benefits like the Common Good Retirement Plan and see this as an important part of attracting and retaining the hard-working and dedicated team we have. We are excited to see this much-needed plan being offered to the non-profit sector."
"As a small regional land trust with limited resources, we have been looking for ways to provide health and retirement support to our staff for a while, but it has proved challenging. Most programs available are too difficult to sustain over time or just out of our reach financially. Common Good is starting from a different place in that it is being designed specifically to eliminate the barriers that non-profits face in providing deserving staff with important benefits. Not only will a successful program help staff, it will help our organization to attract and retain good people."
"Canada's artists are part of our workforce who confront and engage with some of society's biggest problems on a daily basis, and I consider the Common Good Retirement Plan as an investment in these amazing individuals. For me, PWM's commitment to providing decent work includes long term retirement planning. What is most exciting is the opportunity I have to start meaningful discussions on how artists and cultural workers can save for their futures on their own terms."
“In an era of rapid change with many economic, social and cultural dislocations, it is essential that civil society encourages collective initiatives which value the good of the many over that of the few.”
“Gerstein Crisis Centre is happy to be one of the first 50 employers to support the Common Good initiative. For years, we have been looking for a retirement plan to offer our staff that would be affordable for both the employer and the employee. Our staff are there for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, 24 hours a day, every day. As an employer, we want to be there for them, providing them with a pathway to retirement that offers the security they have earned throughout their careers. Until now, our options have been limited due to lack of affordability, high fees, poor portability and inflexible payment schemes. Common Good will provide us with a workable solution that understands the non-profit world.”
“The Common Good Retirement Initiative presents a method of bringing the benefits of a structured retirement savings plan to non-profit and charity organizations, making it easier for people to automatically budget for their retirement. Given the importance of savings to supplement retirement income and the sometimes complex system of navigating it alone, we at United Way of Bruce Grey look forward to being able to provide a straightforward, managed retirement savings option for staff.”
“Small non-profit employers are excluded in providing a responsible financial planning program for employees due to the prohibitive cost. All employers have a responsibility to ensure that employees have the ability to save and plan for their future retirement needs. The Common Good Retirement Initiative provides our employees the opportunity to have a flexible plan for their retirement planning, as well as supports our organization in retaining and attracting highly skilled professionals.”
“Burnaby Community Services is dedicated to breaking the cycles of poverty and isolation. In doing this work, our staff team dedicate themselves to improving the lives of others. We, as an employer, need to take care of those who give so much of themselves in addressing the most significant social issues in our community and helping those most vulnerable. While we struggle to compensate our team in the way they deserve and have earned, in looking to invest in their future needs through the Common Good Retirement Plan, we hope to go some way to bridging that gap.”
“It’s time for a united front from NGOs across this country to stand up and challenge the standard belief, ‘Oh, you work in non-profit so you make less money and have no security,” with action. This movement could be the catalyst and platform to redefine what security looks like for community-based organizations. My belief as a leader is that the future sector (whom we need to stand up for) will not need to advocate for their fair pay, benefits and retirement; that equal compensation will be a given, and we will continue to focus our efforts on benefiting our communities.”
“As a non-profit consulting company, we are concerned about the financial security of our freelancers. We do not have employees, but instead a growing network of contractors from all over the world, many of whom are completely reliant on consulting income from a variety of sources. We’re hoping that Common Good can offer a solid platform for retirement savings for our Canadian contractors, and enable them to keep contributing even when they aren’t working with LogicalOutcomes.”
“As an emerging organization enthusiastic about maximizing employee benefits, we feel that the Common Good Retirement Initiative is exactly what we were looking for; a well managed and high value option that fits with our mandate.”
“An important part of Park People’s workplace culture is to provide opportunities for staff to expand their skills and build their career in our organization. As a small non-profit, it’s very challenging for us to provide our staff with retirement planning. The Common Good Retirement Plan will allow us to provide those opportunities to our staff. I am thrilled that the initiative is working to bring this new much-needed service to our sector."
“Offering retirement benefits to our staff at the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) is a challenge for us as a very small non-profit organization. That's why we were excited to learn about the Common Good Retirement Initiative and its aim to bring retirement security to the sector. I am extremely supportive of this effort and look forward to the plan becoming a reality.”
“I am truly excited to be a part of this initiative. We are a nonprofit society that strives to provide a safe place for women and their children to come to when experiencing domestic violence. Domestic Violence is not just about physical abuse. It includes all forms of abuse – sexual, spiritual, emotional, financial and psychological. My employees are a very critical component to helping women survive and move on from something that has impacted them, their children, their families and their friends. As workers in this field, we recognize the importance that financial independence and security for women play in keeping them safe. Part of supporting my employees is making sure that I offer everything I can to secure their futures, including a retirement plan that is right for them. I believe Common Good can provide this opportunity.”
"As a nonprofit employer of a small team, it is important to me to provide the best possible working environment for my employees. Motivating them to save for the future is a part of that. The Common Good Retirement Initiative will enable my organization to instil and support the habit of long-term financial planning by providing a higher quality, flexible plan for our employees with lower fees and less administrative burden for our organization."
“As a small, not-for-profit sport organization, Commonwealth Games Canada has an issue attracting and retaining employees. The Common Good Retirement Plan provides CGC with a turnkey ‘competitive edge’ in attracting and retaining employees. More importantly, it provides our employees with a simple, cost-effective and portable way to save for retirement.”
“More than half of my career has been in the non-profit sector in a small organization where security for retirement or other benefits for that matter, was a bit of a pipe dream. When I shared with staff the idea of a collective plan for our sector, everyone was instantly on board and excited about the possibility. Adding a benefit such as this to our compensation package will ensure we remain competitive and retain high quality, committed staff. And, it's the right thing to do!”
“As a small non-profit women’s organization, I feel it is vital to provide a retirement plan option for my staff. We know that women make up much of the sector's workforce, but many do not have access to retirement benefits and live in poverty after they retire from paid work. Our staff are professional young women who are dedicated to their work and deserve to be protected in their senior years. The flexibility and portability of this plan makes it the perfect solution for us!”
“I have been waiting for an initiative like the Common Good Retirement Plan for a long time. For us in the not-for-profit sector, especially in small organizations like mine, thinking about providing this kind of benefit for our staff and ourselves is almost impossible. I fully support this initiative and hope it becomes a reality soon. I truly believe it will be a great way of compensating our dedicated staff for all their efforts!”
“As a growing non-profit, we’re committed to providing the best possible working conditions for our staff. The Common Good Retirement Plan represents an opportunity for us to provide all our staff, whether full-time, part-time, or contract, with a whole new level of retirement support. Common Good addresses the gaps and challenges unique to the non-profit sector that have made retirement planning so challenging for our organization and staff to date. We know this initiative has the potential to make a tangible, positive impact on the lives of our employees and their families.”
“CPAWS Yukon is a conservation organization, and working with groups who promote social equity and a healthy environment is important to us. For several years, our organization has been looking for a retirement savings plan that's both affordable and socially progressive. When we heard about Common Good, we were excited. We hope that soon we'll finally be able to offer our staff a retirement savings plan that's not only designed for our industry, but one that lets them feel confident that their investments align with their values.”
“At the Community Resource Centre, we’re working toward a future in which everyone has access to the connections, opportunities, supports and services they need to live full lives in vibrant, sustainable rural communities. Supporting our employees to plan and save for their retirement is a key part of this strategy. The Common Good plan will be a great benefit for our employees. The portability and flexibility of the plan along with the reduced administrative burden make it a very attractive option.”
“Social Services Network endorses and supports the idea of offering retirement options to small not-for-profit organizations like ours. We believe the Common Good Retirement Initiative is critical from three perspectives:
- Increases the opportunity to recruit candidates for positions in small agencies that otherwise we would not be able to attract competitively
- Provides a great incentive for staff and rewards their passion and commitment to the organization
- Strengthens the NFP sector as a whole, compared to the private and public sectors where benefits are often better
“We were very excited to hear about the Common Good Retirement Initiative at Thinking Rock. As a small non-profit located in rural Northern Ontario, it's important for us to create local jobs in the arts and culture sector that are as sustainable, rewarding and stable as possible in order to attract and retain creative and talented northerners in this region. Having access to an accessible, easy-to-understand, trustworthy and flexible retirement plan like that offered by Common Good - created with the unique needs of non-profit sector workers in mind - will allow us to do that in a way that simply wouldn't have been possible before, especially given our limited HR resources and small staff team. This initiative will benefit our current staff, as well as our many contractors and temporary workers, and help us attract and retain additional core staff in the years to come.”
"The Common Good Retirement Initiative is an exciting and much needed flexible offering. My colleagues and I were enthused to learn about the energies being spent on developing it. Non-profit staff do all that they can to support and improve the lives of others. This is a great step in helping them enjoy the retirement that they deserve. We have no doubt that it will have a meaningful impact on the lives of non-profit workers across the country."
“People who choose to work in the non-profit sector often accept lower wages in order to do the meaningful work we do. Saving for retirement may feel like an unaffordable luxury. Giving employees access to information and savings vehicles through the Common Good Retirement Initiative will be both empowering and enabling. Our small organization is grateful for this initiative. It is timely and much-needed!”
“The work that we do in the nonprofit sector is so important by helping so many people in the community, and yet as a worker, you have to wonder how you're helping yourself in the future. The Common Good Retirement Initiative allows organizations to look after the people who are looking after this country. We hope other nonprofits across Canada will come on board so that their employees have the opportunity to benefit from an affordable and portable retirement plan."
Lead the way to a better retirement for your employees
Whether you offer a retirement plan or not, let us show you how your organization could benefit from Common Good.
Email us to find out more about participating in Common Good