This study examines the status of the defined benefit (DB) pension plans of Canada's largest publicly-traded companies. Thirty-nine companies on the S&P/TSX 60 maintain DB pension plans, amounting to one-third of all private sector pension plan assets in Canada. However, only nine plans were fully funded in 2016. Together, the 39 companies oversaw a $10.8 billion deficit in their pension plans in 2016, while increasing shareholder payouts from $31.9 billion in 2011 to $46.9 billion last year.
This paper, co-published by the CCPA and the Canadian Labour Congress, details the extent to which DB pension plans among S&P/TSX 60 companies are underfunded, provides the cost to shareholders that eliminating the pension deficits would pose, and offers a series of recommendations for ensuring the security of retirees’ benefits.