Guide to the OSFI-49 Annual Information Return

Document Properties

  • Type of Publication: Guide
  • Date: 2012-2013
  • Revised: February 2013
  • For plan years ending between October 1, 2012 and September 30, 2013

1. General

This Guide will assist administrators of pension plans subject to the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985 (PBSA) in completing the OSFI 49 – Annual Information Return (AIR) that is required to be filed with the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI).

The Guide does not supersede the PBSA, the Pension Benefits Standards Regulations, 1985 (PBSR), Directives of the Superintendent, or any Guidelines that OSFI has issued or may issue regarding the administration of pension plans subject to the PBSA.

2. Filing Requirements

This consolidated form comprises the AIR, as required by the PBSA and Schedule A, as required by the Income Tax Act and Regulations.

In accordance with section 12 of the PBSA and section 12 of the PBSR, the administrator of a pension plan shall file an AIR with the Superintendent annually, or at such other intervals or times as the Superintendent may direct, within six months after the end of the plan year to which it relates. OSFI requires an administrator to file an AIR annually, while there are any assets remaining in the pension fund. The information provided in Schedule A will satisfy the filing requirements under section 8409 of the Income Tax Regulations. OSFI is responsible for sending the information contained in Schedule A to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

The required assessments are to be determined according to the current assessment schedule on page 6 of this Guide.  Assessments are due within 6 months of plan year-end.

3. Requirements related to Electronic Filing

  • All values reported in this return must be reported in dollars (not thousands of dollars). Plans may, however, round values to the nearest thousand. All values must also be entered as positive numbers.
  • OSFI will only accept an AIR submitted in the proper file format (.xml). A file submitted in another format (e.g. .pdf, .xls) will not be considered received and will be returned to the plan administrator to be refiled. Similarly, a blank file will also be returned.
  • The AIR can be filed with OSFI in two ways:
    • online through an Automated Data Transfer (ADT) facility (follow link for instructions on how to use this facility), or
    • by mailing an electronic copy of the AIR (in the proper file format (.xml)) to OSFI.
  • Please enter all required information directly into the proper section of the AIR. Attached lists or files are not acceptable.
  • “n/a (not applicable)” is not an acceptable value through electronic filing. Please leave such fields blank.
  • Plan administrators are expected to keep a signed copy of the OSFI-49 (AIR) (or a reasonable facsimile) in their records. This copy is to be signed by the plan administrator and will certify that, to the best of the plan administrator’s knowledge, the information provided is true, correct, and complete. This certification is to apply to both the OSFI and CRA information.

Please note that until OSFI receives an acceptable version of the AIR, we will not be able to share the Schedule information with the CRA as per the Income Tax Act and Regulations and, as such, your plan may be subject to CRA late filing penalties.

4. Annual Information Return (AIR)

Page 20.010

Line 001: Please provide both PBSA and CRA registration numbers on this line.

Line 003: Indicate the type of pension plan: defined benefit, defined contribution (money purchase) or a combination plan. A combination plan is one with defined benefit and defined contribution provisions.

Line 004: A publicly traded company has shares traded in the marketplace.

Line 007: The official name of the pension plan as defined in the plan documents is to be entered on this line.

Line 012: The Plan Administrator is determined in accordance with Section 7 of the PBSA and is responsible for administering the pension plan in accordance with the PBSA.

Line 022: The third-party administrator is a person or organization, who has been contracted by the Plan Administrator to carry out, on its behalf, certain administrative duties required in the operation of the pension plan.

Lines 032 to 037: If the pension plan books and records are held at a location other than that of the Plan Administrator or third-party administrator, their location is to be indicated on these lines.

Lines 038 and 039: The pension fund custodian is the organization that receives and holds the pension fund assets as well as reconciles the portfolio and reports to the Plan Administrator. The name of the fund custodian(s), the policy or account numbers, and a contact person are to be entered on these lines. In cases where the custodian has more than one branch office, please specify the city of the branch office next to the company name.

Line 045: The period covered by the AIR is usually the 12 month plan year. The period covered may not be more than 12 months. Therefore, a change in plan year end will result in an AIR that covers a period of less than 12 months.

Page 20.012


A member of a pension plan is a person who has become a member of the pension plan and has neither ceased membership in the pension plan nor retired. Members include inactive members (see line 013).

Line 002: Ensure that membership at the beginning of the period under review reflects the membership at the end of the previous year (line 011 from previous AIR).

Line 003: New entrants include new members joining the pension plan and transfers from other pension plans.

Line 006: All types of retirements – normal, early, disability, or special – and deaths of members are to be reported on this line.

Line 008: Terminations of membership include those who terminate employment and those who transfer to another pension plan.

Line 013: An inactive member of a pension plan is a member who is not accruing benefits and for whom no contributions are being made to the pension plan as at the plan year end. This could include members who are temporarily laid-off, suspended, disabled or on leave of absence but does not include retirees or those who ceased membership in the pension plan but did not transfer their benefit out of the pension plan (deferred vested members).

Membership by Location of Employment

Lines 015 to 034: Members are to be reported by province of employment in columns 001 and 002. Males and females are reported separately for Statistics Canada purposes. Some pension plans registered under the PBSA include members whose work is not in included employment. The number of plan members, both male and female, working in included employment is to be entered by province in column 003.

Included Employment

Included employment is employment in connection with any work, undertaking or business that is subject to the legislative authority of the Government of Canada. The following activities are generally considered included employment:

  • any work, undertaking or business carried for or in connection with navigation and shipping, both inland and maritime;
  • ferries between provinces (interprovincial) or between a province and the U.S (international);
  • interprovincial or international rail transportation
  • air transportation;
  • interprovincial or international road transportation;
  • communications, including radio, television, telegraph, and telephone companies;
  • banks;
  • any work, undertaking or business that is declared by the Parliament of Canada to be for the general advantage of Canada (or for the advantage of two or more of the Provinces. This includes atomic energy, uranium mining and , flour, ad or seed feed mills), seed cleaning mills and certain grain elevators;
  • employment in the Northwest Territories, Yukon or Nunavut;
  • any undertaking or business outside the exclusive legislative authority of provincial legislatures. For example, if an employer is exclusively engaged in areas such as health care or education, then provincial labour and pension legislation applies. If an employer is engaged in an area of exclusive federal jurisdiction such as the administration of a First Nation band council, then federal labour and pension legislation would apply.

Please refer to section 4.(4) of the PBSA for the definition of included employment.

Line 035: Plan administrators should ensure that the amount reported on line 035 is the sum of columns 001 and 002 on line 034. As a validation check, the membership total on line 035 should be the same as the number of members at the plan year end on line 011.

Line 036: Please enter the number of “Other beneficiaries” of the plan. This will include:

  • Retirees. When considering the number of retirees, it is important to include retirees for whom an annuity has been purchased by the plan .
  • Survivors collecting death benefits.
  • Deferred vested members. When considering the number of deferred vested members, remember to include those for whom an annuity has been purchased by the plan.
  • Members who have taken portability under section 26 of the PBSA but who still have a transfer deficiency in the plan

Line 038: The amount reported should be the sum of lines 035 and 036. This Grand Total is the number that should be used to calculate the annual assessment payable for your pension plan.

Current Service Payments

Current service payments relate to the benefits that have accrued to the members during the period covered by the AIR. Amounts reported should include amounts remitted to the pension fund subsequent to the plan year end if they relate to that plan year (the period covered by the AIR). These are the amounts that may be shown as contributions receivable on the OSFI 60-CFS.

Lines 040 to 044: Member contributions and additional voluntary contributions remitted to the pension fund for the period covered by the AIR are to be reported on line 040 and line 042 respectively. Additional voluntary contributions include those made for the purpose of purchasing flexible benefits.

Line 045: Employer current service contributions required for the period covered by the AIR are to be entered on this line.

  • Employer current service contributions for defined contribution plans are as determined by the plan documents.
  • Employer current service contributions for defined benefit plans are as determined by the actuarial valuation report for the pension plan.

Line 047: The amount of any surplus assets (defined benefit plans), or forfeitures (defined contribution plans), used to reduce required employer current service contributions, is to be reported on this line.

Note: Forfeitures in a defined contribution plan are employer contributions, and the interest accrued thereon, that were made on behalf of former members who forfeited entitlement as a result of terminating employment before their benefit was vested. Effective July 1, 2011 all benefits are immediately vested so future forfeitures will not accumulate.

Line 049: The net amount of employer current service contributions remitted to the pension fund for the period covered by the AIR is to be entered on this line.

Contribution Base

The contribution base is the base to which the contribution rate is applied to give the current service contribution for each class of plan members. The contribution base is frequently the total payroll of the class of members in question.

A contribution class is an identifiable group of employees who contribute to the pension plan at an established rate, based on the plan documents. A pension plan may have many contribution classes, each with different contribution rates.

Lines 050 to 054: If different rates apply to different classes of employees, the portion of payroll or other contribution base corresponding to each class is to be indicated. For example, if 70% of the members are in Class A and 30% are in Class B, the payroll must reflect this breakdown.

Line 056: The collective bargaining agent or union is to be entered even if they do not negotiate pension plan matters on behalf of the members. Also indicate the expiration date of the current collective agreement.

Page 20.014

Note: Plan administrators of defined contribution plans are not required to answer any of the questions on this page.

Special Payments

Special payments include those amounts recommended by the actuary as being required to amortize an unfunded liability or solvency deficiency over a prescribed period of time.

Lines 001 and 002: Unfunded liability and solvency deficiency payments that have been remitted to the pension fund for the period under review are to be reported on these lines.

Line 003: Another type of special payment would be a lump-sum amount remitted by the employer to cover, in full, the cost of amendments that increased the pension plan’s liability or to permit a payout of a transfer deficiency or a payment remitted that was greater than the annual required payments indicated in lines 001 and 002. An explanation of such a special payment should be given on page 20.016, line 010.

Adjustments to Pensions

Lines 015 to 035: This section is for the purpose of collecting information on any regular or adhoc increases to retirees or surviving spouses in receipt of a pension.

Page 20.016

Participating Employers and Trustees

Line 001: A participating employer is an employer whose employees are participating in the pension plan. List all participating employers, whether or not the pension plan is a multi-employer plan.

Line 002: If the pension fund is invested through individual trustees (as opposed to a corporate trustee) include a current list of the trustees and their phone numbers.


Line 003: Indicate whether any amendments were made to the pension plan and whether the amendments were submitted to OSFI. All plan amendments must be submitted within 60 days after an amendment is made and must be accompanied by an Amendment Information Form OSFI-593 (DC) (DOC, 178 kB) or OSFI-594 (DB) (DOC, 229 kB).

4. Pension Assessments

Plan administrators must submit their assessment and file the AIR within six months of the plan year end. For information purposes only, the current pension assessment schedule is set out below.

Pension Assessment Rate
Effective Date Per Beneficiary up to 1,000 Per Beneficiary Over 1,000 Minimum Assessment Maximum Assessment
October 1, 2012 $10.00 $7.50 $500 $200,000

Assessments payable for previous years are to be calculated using the assessment rate schedule for that year. For further information, visit our web site at or contact us at:

  • Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions
  • Telephone: (613) 990-6651
  • Fax: (613) 991-6118
  • e-mail:

Please make cheque or money order payable to: Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada

  • 255 Albert Street
  • Ottawa, Ontario
  • K1A 0H2

Schedule A

Page 20.018

Note: For more information on this schedule, contact the general enquiries services of the Registered Plans Division of Canada Revenue Agency at (613) 954-0419 for service in English and (613) 954-0930 for service in French.

Line 002: Total amount of benefits paid.

Line 005: Total amount of all transfers to other plans including registered pension plans (RPPs), registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs), and registered retirement income funds (RRIFs).

Line 007: Total amount transferred in from deferred profit sharing plans (DPSPs), other RPPs, and RRSPs.

Line 010: An inactive plan is one that has been terminated by the plan sponsor but the total plan funds have not been disbursed.

Examples of inactive plans are those that:

  • have no active plan membership, but the employer is continuing to pay pension benefits from the fund; or
  • are on a paid-up basis but retain registration with the Agency.

Line 020: A member is an employee who accrues benefits in a defined benefit plan, or who makes contributions or on whose behalf the employer makes contributions to a money purchase plan. According to the Income Tax Regulations, a connected person is generally one who:

  • owns, directly or indirectly, 10% or more of the issued shares of any class of the capital stock of the employer or a related corporation (see section 248(1) of the Income Tax Act for details for the definition of a specified shareholder ) ;
  • does not deal at arm’s length with the employer (see section 251 of the Income Tax Act for details); or
  • is a specified shareholder of the employer by reason of paragraph (d) of the definition of specified shareholder in subsection 248(1) of the Income Tax Act.

For a complete definition of a connected person, see subsection 8500(3) of the Income Tax Regulations.

After line 025:

  • For specified multi-employer plans, no further questions.
  • For multi-employer plans, go to line 050.
  • For all other plan types, continue with line 030.

A specified multi-employer plan (SMEP) has the following characteristics:

  • the plan is a MEP (see definition below);
  • employers participate in the plan under a collective bargaining agreement and contributions are according to a negotiated formula;
  • employer contributions are based on hours worked by employees or some other similar measure;
  • all or nearly all (90% is acceptable) of the employers are taxable entities;
  • it is expected that at least 15 non-related employers will contribute to the plan in the year, or at least 10% of the active members of the plan will be employed in the year by more than one participating employer; and
  • the plan administrator applied and was granted designation as a SMEP under paragraph 8510(2)(b) of the Income Tax Regulations.

For a complete definition of a SMEP, see section 8510 of the Income Tax Regulations.

A multi-employer plan (MEP) is a plan for which, at the beginning of the year, it is reasonable to expect that no more than 95% of the active plan members will work for any one of the employers or group of related employers at any time during the year.

For a complete definition of a MEP, see subsection 8500(1) of the Income Tax Regulations.

Line 045: If the plan sponsor is a corporation, indicate whether the corporation underwent a change of control during the plan year. If the sponsor is not a corporation, check the box N/A for “Not Applicable.”