Quarterly Estimates of Trusteed Pension Funds (QTPF)

Detailed information for second quarter 2020





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 - November 18, 2020


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 twelve 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 all 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 includes private and public sectors pension funds with defined benefit, defined contribution or hybrid plan types. The survey targets the largest funds accounting for 85% of the book value of assets of the trusteed universe. The remaining funds which represent 15% of the value of the universe are 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 2005 to collect more detailed financial information and offer respondents an electronic version of the questionnaire. This revised questionnaire underwent testing with respondents and the principal client, the System of National Accounts before implementation. The electronic version of the questionnaire is e-mailed to respondents quarterly.


This is a sample survey with a cross-sectional design.

The Quarterly sample is created by ranking pension funds surveyed by the Biennial Census of Trusteed Pension Funds (record number: 2608) by their book-value of assets. The largest funds accounting for 85% of total book-value of assets are the funds included in the Quarterly sample. The sample is updated every two years following completion of the Biennial Census of Trusteed Pension Funds survey.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Quarterly respondents were initially contacted through the CTPF survey(record number 2608. Respondents included in the CTPF are Canadian employers in public and private sectors offering employees an opportunity to participate in a employer sponsored Registered Pension Plan (RPP). A RPP is a pension plan that has been registered for purposes of the Income Tax Act. Funds included in the Trusteed surveys are the funds of RPP's operated according to the terms of trust agreement.

The QTPF survey is an electronic, bilingual questionnaire e-mailed to respondents. Completed questionnaires are returned through Statistics Canada's encrypted E-file transfer service. Data reported in the electronic questionnaire are imported directly into the QTPF processing system. If completed questionnaires are not returned with-in 5 weeks following the mail-out, a reminder e-mail is sent to respondents. 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 fund to confirm the reported values.


Missing or partially reported fund variables and non-response funds 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.


For those funds not included in the quarterly sample (under cut-off funds), estimates are generated using ratios derived from biennial CTPF survey(record number: 2608) data. Ratios for under-cut-off funds are applied to reported sample data to estimate for the under-cut-off portion of the Trusteed pension fund universe. Values generated for funds not included in the quarterly sample are not adjusted for inflation.

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); Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) pension plan financial data contained in the CRA Employer Sponsored Pensions plan file 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 Quarterly Trusteed Pension Fund 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.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

Data are revised once each year, when the third quarter data are released. The revision applies to the previous seven quarters' data. The revision process incorporates the use of late returns and the updating of survey results using the most recent benchmark data from the biennial CTPF survey.

Data accuracy

The QTPF survey methodology is designed to produce accurate estimates of total book and market value of assets for the entire trusteed pension fund universe. QTPF estimates are benchmarked to CTPF estimates every second year. The QTPF fourth quarter asset estimates are consistently within 1% to 3% of final CTPF values.

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