Common Good was started in 2018 by a steering committee of not-for-profit sector leaders and a broad coalition of funders, champions, and stakeholders.
The design and operations of the workplace savings program are provided in partnership with Common Wealth, a mission-driven retirement security firm.
Common Wealth is a mission-driven company focused on expanding access to retirement security. Building decades of experience with some of the world’s best pension plans, it partners with unions, associations, and sectors to create and manage collective retirement plans for workers without access to workplace pensions.
It has advised leading pension organizations with collective assets exceeding $800 billion, as well as unions, associations, and governments, on issues of strategy, governance, regulation, and the design and implementation of retirement plans and products.
In partnership with the Service Employees International Union, Common Wealth launched the first retirement plan in Canada for lower- and moderate-income earners, developed for frontline health and personal care workers.
Comprised of leaders who support the initiative and are committed to contributing to its success in their respective communities
"Those who work for our sector commit to their communities, their art, their environment. While the organizations that employ them seek financial sustainability, the pressure to keep ‘administrative’ costs low is profound. Often this effort means limiting benefits others take for granted; investment in retirement plans is one area employers in the sector struggle to realize for their teams. The Common Good Retirement Initiative gives us an opportunity to offer sector employees yet another reason to stay in the sector, doing good work for good reasons. It is an important initiative that will benefit communities across the country. It is a pleasure to support it in anyway I can."
"People working in the community sector will have access to an effective and affordable retirement savings plan with the Common Good Retirement Plan. It is being designed by people with financial expertise who also understand the nonprofit and charitable sector, and the financial pressures its employees face. Common Good will provide people in the sector with a sound and viable retirement savings option that will make a comfortable retirement possible for many for the very first time."
"A simple, cost-effective and portable way to save for retirement is essential for the well-being of people serving in the non-profit sector and to the health of the sector as a whole. As non-profits struggle continually to do more with less, the Common Good Retirement Initiative is a shining example of positive innovation to address the non-profit retirement savings gap."
"Having chosen the nonprofit sector as a career, I have seen many employees who are passionately dedicated to the mission and cause of their organizations, but have often done so at the expense of securing their financial future. I believe in decent work, and part of that is ensuring that those who work so hard to secure the future for others can themselves depend on a good retirement. Common Good provides a flexible, portable tool that provides the foundation for saving throughout your career, and is vital in ensuring a nonprofit workforce that can focus on good outcomes today knowing their own future income is assured."
“At United Way Centraide Canada, we feel it is vital that we look after those nonprofit employees who work to create meaningful and lasting change in our communities so everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential. As they advance in their careers, they should not be worried about their own retirement years. We commend the Common Good Retirement Initiative in its mission to expand retirement security to this important sector through their creation of a nationally portable retirement plan for nonprofit employees.”
"The success of our non-profit and charitable sector rests on its ability to recruit and retain talented people, and one of the biggest missing pieces to achieving this has been the absence of an affordable retirement savings plan. It's a complex challenge but a worthwhile one, considering the collective impact of those who belong to this sector. We have a collective responsibility to care for those who take care of others, and I am excited to join the chorus for change."
“The average employer in the non-profit sector is typically too small to be able to offer traditional pension plans to their employees. A sector-wide model such as the one that Common Good is proposing is timely, sensible and simply asks that non-profit organizations work together and use one of their greatest strengths – the sheer number of them. Critically, it provides a vehicle through which organizations could together achieve what they cannot do so alone, helping ensure that those who are working hard for the benefit of others will themselves be taken care of when they encounter the particular kind of vulnerability that comes with financial insecurity in old age. I commend Common Good for pursuing this brilliant idea.”
“The non-profit sector collectively employs a significant percentage of the workforce. The initiative will help individuals who want to remain in the sector long-term by allowing them to move their retirement assets seamlessly from organization to organization."
“In our work on the Living Wage campaign, we say ‘work should lift you out of poverty, not keep you there.’ The same is true for retirement, post-career in the not-for-profit world. We believe the Common Good Retirement Plan is part of the solution to retirement poverty for the sector, and we are delighted be supporting this initiative.”
"Employees in the not-for-profit sector spend their careers working on behalf of others. With the Common Good Retirement Initiative, we have an opportunity to support them by filling an important need for a high quality, portable retirement plan. This innovative solution supports savings for sector employees at all income levels whether they currently have a retirement plan at work or not – and the plan has a legal duty to act in the best interests of its members. I believe this is an excellent model with the potential to make a real difference in the financial security of so many dedicated workers."
"The nonprofit sector empowers the quality of life we too often take for granted. And while nonprofit employers can't easily compete with salary levels offered in other sectors, there's no good reason why they shouldn't be able to offer a range of benefits supporting healthy workplaces. This should ideally start with a well-designed retirement plan that offers income security to the professionals who are ensuring we all live in vibrant communities."
"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."
“Canadians pay some of the highest investment costs in the world while receiving some of the fewest investment protections. While CARP is advocating to improve this reality, we're pleased that Canadians in the not-for-profit sector have access to a better option: Common Good's retirement savings plan. No one should have to choose between doing good and doing well. With Common Good, they don't.”
"Retirement savings are a critical dimension of financial health, but very few workers in Canada’s nonprofit sector have access to high quality retirement savings plans. That’s why Prosper Canada is supporting the Common Good Retirement Initiative. The people who care for our communities every day deserve our support in return. Common Good offers an affordable, accessible and portable retirement savings plan that will work for them."
"Retirement security is a feature of decent work in the non-profit sector. By helping workers and organizations access a high-quality retirement plan, Common Good has the potential to raise employment standards in our sector and contribute to a more equitable, inclusive and prosperous Canada."
“Boys and Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton and Area has for decades explored from time to time the concept of a retirement plan for staff in the not-for-profit sector, and while there was always interest, carving out time to develop the concept was never possible. We are pleased to support the work of Common Good in the exploration and development of a retirement plan for the sector and look forward to working with you to bring this important benefit to those that work so hard to meet the needs of families and communities across this country.”
"Why isn't this a thing already? As someone who has worked in the social change sector for more than 10 years - I'm excited by the potential of the Common Good Retirement Plan to truly shift the way people like me think about saving for the future. With the changing nature of work - and indeed the changing nature of retirement - a gold-plated pension after 25 years of service with the same organization just isn't in the cards for me. Adaptive. Flexible. Nimble. We all agree that these are valuable traits of people driving social change. I think they can and should also apply to how people like me can better save for the future."
"Canada’s nonprofit sector labour force is not well-served by the current retirement support system (RRSPs / traditional pension). This is because they are often lower-income or part-time workers with higher turnover rates. GIS claws back their pension, CPP and RRSP benefits. That’s why I support the Common Good Retirement Initiative, which uses savings instruments designed to work better for this population."
“The nonprofit sector has for more than a century been an integral part of building strong, safe, vibrant and sustainable communities. It is growing in scale and importance, employing a greater percentage of the population. With automation, robotics and AI, this dynamic will intensify. But, ironically, for a sector that helps build a more progressive and equitable Canada, nonprofit employment is also typically marked by precarity, lower wages and a lack of benefits vis-a-vis the private and public sectors. Unfortunately, it is no place to work if one wants to enjoy retirement benefits approaching those of other Canadians. This is why the Common Good Retirement Initiative is so timely, exciting and important to consider. Canadians working hard to build better communities should have access to a decent, dignified and rewarding retirement.”
"Low salaries are not uncommon in the nonprofit world, so it is important that these workers are given the support to start saving for their retirement. Through my work with low-income earners, I know firsthand the challenges they face in securing their financial future. The Common Good Retirement Plan would not only help these individuals preserve their government retirement benefits, but also assist the nonprofit sector in providing a high-quality retirement plan to its dedicated workforce."
“In my home province of Prince Edward Island, with a population of just over 150,000, there are 6,000 people employed in the non-profit sector, and 1,100 registered charities contribute to the social and economic well-being of their communities. They build and provide homes for people, create and share art, promote equality, and protect the environment. And that’s not all. In fact, the non-profit sector is the third largest contributor to PEI’s economy. My dream is that young people seeking jobs in this sector are able to apply their impressive skills, wisdom and passion to jobs that are secure, and properly compensated. And that they can work throughout their careers confident that they will have some security afterwards. Common Good offers that possibility. And I love that it’s based on the idea of the collective. That’s such an important aspect of our work, building solidarity and finding ways to work for positive change, together.”
"At Social Capital Partners, we believe that you must tackle the present if you want to be properly prepared for the future. The Common Good Retirement Plan is an example of a key innovation that will help the many non-standard workers in the nonprofit sector who have not been able to save for retirement through their employer. We must address long-term financial security issues for employees if we are going to make Canada the best place to work in the nonprofit sector."