Quarterly Estimates of Trusteed Pension Funds (QTPF)

Detailed information for fourth quarter 2023





Record number:


The purpose of this survey is to collect quarterly financial information on the revenues, expenditures and assets of trusteed pension funds. Within Statistics Canada, these data are used as input to the System of National Accounts.

Data release - June 12, 2024


The Quarterly Survey of Trusteed Pension Funds (QTPF) is a sample survey of the largest pension funds in Canada. Trusteed pension funds data are an input to Statistics Canada's System of National Accounts and are reported to other organizations including Finance Canada, the Bank of Canada, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Governments, financial institutions, pension administrators and analysts monitor the financial conditions of trusteed pension funds and use the data as input to pension policy and planning in Canada.

The assets of employer sponsored pension plans funded through a trust agreement account for almost half of pension savings in Canada. Successful investment and growth of pension contributions and accumulated assets is essential to ensure the adequacy of retirement benefits for pension plan members.

Reference period: Quarter

Collection period: Between two and nine weeks after the end of each quarter.


  • Business performance and ownership
  • Financial statements and performance
  • Income, pensions, spending and wealth
  • Labour
  • Non-wage benefits
  • Pension plans and funds and other retirement income programs

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population of the Quarterly Trusteed Pension Funds survey are the pension funds of Registered Pension Plans (RPP's) operated according to the terms of a trust agreement. The survey includes private and public sector pension funds operating under a trust agreement for at least a portion of the plan assets, and pension funds administered by federal and provincial pension investment boards. The population consists of pension funds with defined benefit, defined contribution or hybrid plan types. The survey targets the largest funds accounting for approximately 90% of the market value of assets of the trusteed universe. The remaining funds representing approximately 10% of the value of the universe are not estimated.

Instrument design

The design and financial variables included in the Quarterly questionnaire reflect the structure and information available in a pension fund financial statement or financial accounting report. The questionnaire has been modified on a regular basis to add or remove items of interest, or for clarification.

A major revision of the questionnaire was implemented for the first quarter of 2021 to collect more detailed financial information and offer respondents an electronic version of the questionnaire. This revised electronic questionnaire (EQ) underwent testing with respondents and the principal client, the System of National Accounts before implementation. The link to the electronic questionnaire is emailed to respondents quarterly.


The Quarterly sample is created by ranking pension plans from Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) administrative files by their market-value of assets. The 250 largest plans accounting for approximately 90% of total market-value of assets are the plans included in the Quarterly sample. The sample is updated every year following the receipt of the final CRA administrative file.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

The QTPF survey is an electronic, bilingual questionnaire e-mailed to respondents. Completed questionnaires are submitted via Statistics Canada's EQ portal. If completed questionnaires are not returned within 7 weeks following the mail-out, three staggered e-reminders are sent out and a non-response follow-up phone call is made. The average response time to complete the questionnaire is 2 hours.

View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s) .

Error detection

Once data reported on the questionnaire is captured, either electronically or manually, the data is subject to validity checks to detect inconsistencies. Tolerance level edits are completed for: the receipts and net realized gains and disbursements and net realized losses along with the book and market value of assets. Once an error has been flagged, a follow-up may be completed with the respondent to confirm the reported values.


Missing or partially reported variables and non-responses are imputed using ratios from reported funds. In addition, subject-matter staff may use returns from similar sized funds, current year reporting trends and subject matter expertise to manually impute missing variables or non-response funds.


No estimation is performed for the pension plans under the cut-off.

Quality evaluation

Data are compared with other pension statistics including data reported by pension supervisory authorities to the Pension Plans in Canada survey (Record number: 2609); CRA pension plan financial data and pension fund data published in pension trade magazines. In addition many organizations publish audited financial statements for their pension plans which can be compared to data reported on the questionnaire.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects that could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

In order to prevent any data disclosure, confidentiality analysis is done using the Statistics Canada Generalized Disclosure Control System (G-Confid). G-Confid is used for primary suppression (direct disclosure) as well as for secondary suppression (residual disclosure). Direct disclosure occurs when the value in a tabulation cell is composed of or dominated by few enterprises while residual disclosure occurs when confidential information can be derived indirectly by piecing together information from different sources or data series.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

The revision process incorporates the use of late returns and the use of updated administrative data.

Data accuracy

QTPF quarterly total book and market value of assets are compared against administrative data and alternate sources to ensure consistency.

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