Will there be any changes to the pension contribution rates for lawyers on parental leave?

No.  Currently, a lawyer who is on leave without pay for any of the following reasons, is required to contribute to the public service pension plan at a single rate for the first 52 weeks of their absence:

  • because of the birth of a child of the contributor,
  • in order to carry out parental responsibilities in respect of the acceptance of custody of a child for adoption, or
  • to provide a child of the contributor with care and custody.

For any portion of leave that extends beyond 52 weeks, a lawyer is required to contribute at double rate, equivalent to twice the amount required had they not been absent. This applies to all contributors to the public service pension plan, including lawyers, regardless of their province of residence.

When a lawyer is on a leave without pay approved by the employer, they can choose to declare any period of their leave without pay in excess of the first three months as non-pensionable. This non-contributory service will not be credited to the lawyer either for eligibility or pension calculation purposes. You can find more information on public service pensionable service here.

While there are no changes to pension contribution rates for lawyers on parental leave in the new Collective Agreement, an initiative is currently underway to align the Public Service Superannuation Regulations with the recent Canada Labour Code amendments, as announced in the TBS Forward Regulatory Plan: 2019 to 2021. These amendments will extend the single rate for an additional 6 months for this type of leave, benefiting those lawyers who choose an extended parental leave.