With almost four billion in assets, 400+ participating employers and more than 70,000 active, deferred and retired members, the IWA–Forest Industry Pension Plan is one of Canada’s top 100 pension funds, and is one of the top three private pension funds in BC.
The pension plan was founded in 1973 following negotiations between the International Woodworkers of America (IWA) and forest industry employers. In 1978 the Coast, Southern Interior and Northern Interior regional pension plans merged together to create the current pension plan. Later, in September 2004, the IWA merged with the United Steelworkers (USW), and now the plan’s forest industry employees are members of the USW.
Established to support Canadian forestry workers and their families, this pension plan is an important part of members’ financial security in retirement. That’s because during retirement, members receive a monthly pension from the plan, for their lifetime. Depending on the option chosen at retirement, members’ surviving spouses or beneficiaries may also receive a pension benefit from the plan following the member’s death.
The pension plan established the Pension Trust Fund. This fund holds contributions from both employers and employees for retirement benefits. It is governed by a board of trustees and administered by the Plan Office.
The pension plan is administered by the Plan Office and is governed by a board of trustees. Working for decades so members’ benefits are there when they need them, the Plan Office collects contributions, invests the assets of the Pension Trust Fund, processes benefit payments and answers questions and guides members.
The board of trustees oversees the administration of the pension plan, determines benefit levels and sets plan design. Its objective is to optimize the plan’s performance while ensuring that the plan is able to meet its obligations to its members and beneficiaries. The board is required to act independently from the USW and participating forest industry employers, and decisions are always made in the best interest of plan members and beneficiaries.