Skip to content

Are You A CEU Member Who Is Thinking About Retiring From WCB?

Article 331 of the WCB Act states that WCB Pension matters, “must not be the subject of a collective agreement between the Board and its employees”.  As such, CEU is legislatively prohibited from bargaining WCB Pension related matters.  However, we have some information and tips to consider when you do contemplate retirement.

Notice to your Manager

The Collective Agreement does not require you to provide your Manager with any advance notice of your retirement date.  And while many Members want to provide advance notice to ensure that coworkers are not overwhelmed when they leave, notice is not a legal requirement contained in the contract between WCB and CEU. You should, however, ensure that you start planning retirement with the help of the Pension Corporation and/or WCB’s pension advisor, Nicole Snidanko, at least 2-3 months prior to your desired retirement date.

Use of Vacation, ETO, and Severance time prior to Retirement

Long ago, CEU bargained the right for Members to use unused vacation and ETO time immediately prior to their retirement date.  CEU also bargained the right for Members to use earned severance entitlement under Article 63 of the Collective Agreement immediately prior to a Member’s retirement date.  Logistically, a Member hoping to retire simply picks their retirement date (more below on the best days in the month to pick). Then the Article 63 severance time is used immediately prior to the retirement date as paid time off.  Then unused vacation and ETO time sitting in the banks are applied immediately prior to the Article 63 severance time as paid time off. 

There are various advantages to using vacation and ETO hours as time off immediately prior to severance time off (instead of having these banks paid out).  While on vacation and ETO time, you still receive extended benefits coverage, including Long Term Disability coverage. You also still contribute to the pension plan in terms of time and money while on vacation and ETO days off. Lastly, when vacation and ETO banks are paid out in lump sums, the Employer must withhold 30% of the amount in tax by virtue of the Income Tax Act.

Likewise, there are various advantages to using severance pay as paid days off immediately prior to your retirement date (instead of having it paid out as cash).  While you no longer have Long Term Disability while on paid severance time off, other extended health benefits coverage remains eg. dental, paramedical services, prescription drugs etc.  While on off receiving severance pay, it’s important to note that you do not accrue to your vacation or ETO banks.  The paid time off, however, is also pensionable insofar as you are still contributing to your pension in both time and money.  And again, if you opt to receive your severance allowance in a lump sum payment, the Employer is obligated to deduct 30% in tax at source.

Extended Benefits after Retirement

After you retire, the pension plan continues to pay for extended benefits coverage for you, and your spouse/dependents, as a retiree. This is unusual as nearly all BC defined benefits pension plans no longer pay for retiree extended health coverage. But, the WCB pension plan does not pay for dental coverage.  As well, the benefit levels you’ll receive as a retiree are quite reduced from the negotiated Collective Agreement levels you received as an active Employee of WCB and Member of CEU.  For example, as a retiree, you will be able to spend up to a maximum of $150,000 through the benefits plan, total.  As an Employee/Member you are entitled to $1 million worth of benefits expenses, maximum. Also, regarding paramedical services, Massage Therapy and Physiotherapy are combined for a one limit max per year of $250. Chiropractor and Naturopathy services are combined into one maximum of $200 per year.  Podiatry is paid to a maximum of $100 per year.  Orthotics are not covered when you are a retiree.  And hearing aids are not provided as a retiree when you reach the age of 66.  Optometry is not covered as a retiree.  Eyeglasses/contacts are reimbursed every 2 years to a maximum of $100.  Lastly, all prescription drugs are provided as the generic brand, unless there is no generic version of the drug or you have special permission by Pacific Blue Cross (“PBC”) to access the name brand drug because a physician has certified that the generic drug is contraindicated for you (eg. you are allergic to one of the fillers in the generic version etc.).

As a retiree of the WCB Pension Plan, you can supplement the Employer paid benefits coverage by paying for a top up plan yourself. There are 3 different top up plans offered by PBC with different levels of coverage and corresponding premium costs. The “Bronze” top up plan (the lowest level of top up with the cheapest monthly premium) is quite popular with WCB retirees.  It provides higher benefit limits per year and is about $100/month per covered person (i.e.. $100 for the retiree and $100 for each covered spouse/dependent).  As a WCB retiree, you can also purchase dental coverage, but the dental benefits provided are quite minimal and many retirees decide not to purchase the dental plan.

Given the vast difference in benefit coverage, we encourage Members to get all necessary dental treatments, prescription drug renewals, and eyeglasses/contacts while you are still a CEU Member/active WCB employee under the negotiated Collective Agreement benefits plan.

Best Dates in a Month to Select as an Official Retirement Date

Make sure you know your annual step increment date (if you are not already receiving the Special Increment wage on your wage grid).  You will not go up a step if your annual step increment date falls while you are already on paid severance time off. You must be actively working or in receipt of vacation/ETO pay on the day that you have your increment anniversary to receive the step increment increase.  Similarly, keep in mind that most bargained wage raises occur on April 1st of each year.  You must be actively at work or on vacation/eto pay on April 1st to receive the pay increase.  Lastly, you should consider picking a date near the end of a month as your official retirement date.  This is due to the timing of your pension pay.  The monthly pension amount is paid to a retiree 2-3 business day before the end of each month.  And the first pension deposit is paid in the month following the month in which you retire.  So, for example, if your retirement date is August 1st, you will not receive your first pension amount until the end of September.  To avoid waiting nearly 2 months for your first pension pay, it’s best to retire on a date near the end of a month.  For example, if your official retirement date is July 31st, you will receive your first pension deposit at the end of August.

WCB Pension Information Seminars and other Resources

While you are an active Employee/CEU Member at WCB, your are entitled to attend 1 WCB Pension Information Seminar on paid work time.  This seminar is a day long and provided virtually.  You may attend more than one seminar but only the first seminar that you attend is paid by the Employer.  So, to attend another WCB Pension Seminar, you would need to attend on a vacation/ETO day.  If you are contemplating retirement, this seminar is an excellent source of information.  You can sign up for a Seminar on WSN.

You can also book a 30-minute one-on-one session with the Pension Corporation to discuss your pension options and any other questions, however, in order to access this service, you must have first informed the Pension Corporation of your official retirement date.

Nicole Snidanko at WCB (moc.cbefaskrowobfsctd@oknadins.elociN) is also an excellent source of information and advice regarding your individual pension options, time off options immediately prior to retirement, your benefits options as a retiree etc.  We strongly encourage all Members to reach out to Nicole 2-3 months prior to your desired retirement date so that she may schedule a one-on-one meeting(s) to discuss your individual circumstances and best retirement date.  All meetings with Nicole are confidential and she does not advise your Manager that you have met or decided upon a retirement date.

You can also access your pension plan information by visiting:  Once you have online access (simply call the pension corporation at the contact information provided on this website), you can upload needed documents (eg. your ID; your spouse/dependent’s ID; past separation agreement etc.) and use their online pension calculator to see how much money you specifically will receive as a retiree based on different hypothetical retirement dates and pension options selected.

Have you taken a Leave in the past to child rear or otherwise?

Please remember that you could receive pension time credit if you took time off to raise children.  As well, if you contact the Pension Plan within 5 years of your return-to-work date from a Leave, you may be able to buy back the pensionable money contributions for that period.  On this topic, the best practice is to always contact the Pension Corporation directly within 5 years of a Leave to see if you can receive pension time credit and/or buy back pension amounts for the Leave period.  A one-year Leave can significantly affect your retirement date/options.

Back To Top