Census of Trusteed Pension Funds

Detailed information for 2016




Every 2 years

Record number:


The purpose of this biennial survey is to collect financial information on the revenues, expenditures and assets of trusteed pension funds. Within Statistics Canada, the data collected by the Census of Trusteed Pension Fund (CTPF) are used to calculate estimates for the entire trusteed universe and update the sample for the Quarterly Survey of Trusteed Pension Funds (Record number: 2607).

Data release - December 5, 2017


The reserves held by trusteed pension funds are second in size only to those of chartered banks, and are a significant source of retirement income for members of employer sponsored pension plans.

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: Fiscal year

Collection period: April through July of the year after the reference period.


  • Income, pensions, spending and wealth
  • Non-wage benefits
  • Pension plans and funds and other retirement income programs

Data sources and methodology

Target population

This census is a biennial survey of all employer-sponsored trusteed pension funds in Canada. It covers exclusively funds operating under the terms of a trust agreement in both the private and public sectors. The population includes pension funds with defined benefit, defined contribution or hybrid plan types.

Instrument design

The design and financial variables included in the census questionnaire reflect the structure and information available in a pension fund financial statement or a financial accounting report. The majority of items on the questionnaire have remained unchanged for several years.


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

Data are collected for all units of the target population, therefore, no sampling is done.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2015-04-01 to 2015-07-31

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents and extracted from administrative files.

Data are collected in two ways. Pension funds with assets exceeding $10 Million are surveyed directly. A questionnaire, available in English or French is mailed directly to respondents. The average time needed to complete the questionnaire is 2 hours. Respondents complete the questionnaire using data from their pension fund financial records. A follow-up telephone call to the respondent may be required to discuss or verify reported data.

Data for pension funds with assets less than $10 Million are extracted from a Canada Revenue Agency, Registered Pensions Administrative System (RPAS) data file obtained and managed by Statistics Canada's Administrative Data Division. The RPAS administrative data replaces CTPF survey data for approximately 7,300 small pension funds,for which only aggregate totals for Total Income,Total Expenditures,Total Book and Total Market value of assets are published.

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

Error detection

All returns are manually verified upon receipt by comparing to previous returns. Consistency and basic accounting is checked. Each questionnaire is processed and validated individually and a computerized system ensures data quality and consistency. Any data validation and verification are accomplished by means of a telephone call.


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.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

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, and pension fund estimates published in pension trade magazines.

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

This methodology does not apply to this survey.

Data accuracy

Census data are not subject to sampling error. The source data are financial records; there is no measurement error. The estimates are based on data compiled from completed returns and administrative data sources, accounting for about 95% of total assets of the trusteed universe.

Non-response funds account for a relatively small portion of total assets, and have little impact on the overall estimates of trusteed pension funds.

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