Glossary of Terms

Many of the terms used in this booklet have precise meanings. Although we have summarized the important points below, note that the official Plan Text takes precedence over these definitions.

Annualized Pensionable Earnings

Essentially, this refers to your annualized* wages or salary and includes:

  • Sick pay, vacation pay (when the pay is for vacation taken), acting pay, and temporary assignment pay, and
  • One-time lump-sum cash bonuses provided as part of either a collective bargaining agreement settlement or negotiation or modification of any other employment contract with a group of members, provided all the members of the group are eligible to earn such a bonus.

Pensionable earnings exclude such types of additional compensation as:

  • Stand-by pay, callback pay, premium pay for holidays and shifts, overtime pay, lump-sum payments in lieu of taking vacation, retirement allowance, and any individual bonus that you may receive from your employer.
  • For members who work fewer than the full-time equivalent hours for their position, the Plan must ""annualize"" the actual pensionable earnings reported by the employer for those actual hours worked. The result is an expression of the pensionable earnings as if the member had worked all of the full-time equivalent hours for their position."

    * For example,

    • Employer reports that a member earns $24,000 in a year.
    • Employer reports that the member worked only 1248 hours and full time hours for her position are 2080 (member worked 60% of this).
    • Therefore, her annualized pensionable earnings are:
    •        $24,000   =  $40,000
    •           60%
    • (i.e. if she had worked all of the full-time equivalent hours for her position, she would have earned $40,000).

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Applicable Benefit %

This is the percentage used in the benefit formula to calculate your pension benefits. It is applied to your annualized pensionable earnings. The applicable benefit % used for calculating your lifetime pension benefit and your bridge benefit are as follows:

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Base Year

The Plan deems that your annualized pensionable earnings for all years before the current Base Year are equal to your annualized pensionable earnings in the current Base Year (unless the use of an earlier Base Year produces a higher pension benefit for you).

The current Base Year is 2019. Future Base Year upgrades are subject to the approval of the Trustees and in some situations, the consent of the Plan Sponsors.

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Commuted Value

This is the lump-sum present value of your future pension benefits.

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Continuous Service

This is the service that establishes when you are eligible to start receiving a pension. It represents your most recent period of continuous employment that is uninterrupted by a termination of employment.

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Credited Service

This is the service that is included in the defined benefit pension formula used to calculate how much your pension benefit will be.

Credited Service includes:

  • Periods of membership in the Plan for which you contributed to the Plan as required.
  • Periods of disability and other workplace absences as described here.
  • Periods of service purchased as a Past Service Purchase or resulting from a transfer into the Plan from another pension plan.

For years of reduced service where you worked and contributed on fewer than the full-time equivalent hours for your position, you will receive a partial year of credited service.

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Deferred Pension

A deferred pension is one that starts at a future date.

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Dependent Child

A dependent child is a natural or adopted child who, at the time of your death, is:

  • Under age 18, or
  • Over age 18 but under age 23 and a full-time student.

Pension payments made to a dependent child continue until the earlier of:

  • The end of the month in which the child no longer meets the above definition of dependent child, or
  • The end of the month in which the death of the dependent child occurs.

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Full-time Employee

For Plan purposes, an employee employed by one or more of the employers participating in NSHEPP who, in total, works 50% or more of regularly scheduled full-time hours on a regularly scheduled basis. Such employees are subject to the Plan’s criteria for compulsory enrolment.

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Locked In Retirement Account (LIRA)

  • This is a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) or other prescribed investment vehicle to which you can make an eligible transfer of your lump sum commuted value upon termination of employment.
  • The transferred benefits are locked-in, which means that you cannot withdraw any monies until the earliest date permitted by any of the pension plans from which the funds were transferred.
  • Once eligible to receive funds from the LIRA, the payments must be in the form prescribed by the Nova Scotia Pension Benefits Act.

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Part-time Employee

For Plan purposes, a part-time employee is an employee who does not meet the Plan’s definition of a full-time employee. Such employees are subject to the Plan’s criteria for optional enrolment.

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Pensionable Earnings

See Annualized Pensionable Earnings.

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Plan Sponsors

Plan Sponsors means the Health Association Nova Scotia (HANS) and the major unions that represent Plan members (CUPE, NSGEU, NSNU and Unifor).

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Spousal Status

Your formal declaration and status as to whether you are single, or have a spouse, as of a specific date (e.g. your retirement date).

In the case of the pre-retirement death of a member, pension law in Nova Scotia requires that benefits be paid in accordance with the member’s spousal status as of the date of death. Payment of post-retirement death benefits is based on the pensioner’s spousal status on the first day of retirement.

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See Appendix.

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Trustees are eight individuals appointed by the Plan Sponsors to administer the Plan.

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The Year's Maximum Pensionable Earnings (YMPE) is established by the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). It is the maximum salary level used to determine employer and employee contributions to the CPP. The federal government revises this amount every year, according to the increase in the Average Industrial Wage Index in Canada.

The Plan uses the YMPE for two purposes:

  1. To establish the amount of the contributions required by the Plan that will be deducted from your pay and remitted to the Plan. Your contributions are calculated in two steps:
  2. To calculate the amount of your lifetime pension benefit. Your lifetime pension benefit is also calculated in two steps:

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