TEIBAS’ The Wire

Who we are

Welcome to TEIBAS’s The Wire. This blog is a one-stop shop for you, our members, whether you want more information on your pension and/or benefit plans, you’re looking to explore retirement planning tools, or want to keep up with TEIBAS — this blog is for you! As members of IBEW Local 353 you are enrolled in the IBEW Local 353 Pension and Benefits Plans. Here at TEIBAS, we administer those plans. We are a small organization with a dedicated and caring team that strives for excellence in delivering the best member experience possible.

Here are a few things you should know about us:

  1. We’re here to help. We are a dedicated, reliable, and trusted source of professionals when it comes to your pension and benefits.
  2. We are member-centric. Everything we do is grounded in efficiency and excellence for you, our members.
  3. We are helping you protect your future. We inform and help members prepare for their retirement by providing them with the information they need.
  4. We deliver member value through transparency, integrity, and respect. These three strategic elements are the cornerstones of every interaction with our members and their employers.

Whether you are a new member, long-standing member, or a retiree, we’re always here to help. This blog is just one of the many resources available to you as a member of the IBEW Local 353. Questions about your pension and benefits? Email us at memberservices@teibas.com or give us a call at 416-637-6789 or toll free at 1-800-267-0602.

Stay informed on the latest news from TEIBAS and other news on your benefit and pension plans by checking back here on our blog regularly.

New Retirement Age & Pre-Retirement Checklist

Are you keeping up with TEIBAS? In our May 2022 Newsletter, we announced that members voted overwhelmingly to introduce a new early unreduced pension eligibility age of 61. Retiring can be an exciting but also a stressful life event that takes time and planning. Here at TEIBAS we are dedicated to making sure you have all the information you need to meet your retirement goals.

Use this checklist to start putting your retirement goals in to action:

  • Sign-up for upcoming information session by emailing members@teibas.com or calling 416-637-6789.
  • Make a retirement plan and review your finances.
  • Access myteibas.com and review your Annual Pension Statement each year.
  • Use the TEIBAS pension estimator to see how the value of your pension may change over your career.
  • Visit servicecanada.gc.ca to access your My Service Canada Account which provides convenient and secure access to view your Canada Pension Plan (CPP), and Old Age Security (OAS) information online.
  • Review your RRSP savings and the contribution room you have available to you.
  • Watch LifeSpeak retirement and financial planning videos.
  • Learn more about retirement planning with Smart Path, part of Canada Life has many resources to help you plan for your retirement.
  • Update any life changes such as a change in address, adding or removing a spouse, adding children or beneficiaries on myteibas.com.

Click here to download and print a checklist of your own!

Ready to Retire?

Remember life doesn’t end at retirement, it’s a whole new beginning. Make sure you have a retirement plan in place to protect your future. Contact TEIBAS, before you retire as part of your retirement planning so you are aware of the changes that happen to your benefits at retirement, and make sure you know how to keep your retiree benefit coverage in force. Request your personalized pension retirement option package.

Teladoc – An Expert Opinion at Your Fingertips

Another great benefit at your disposal is access to Teladoc Medical Experts which is a confidential service offered to you and your eligible dependents as part of your IBEW Local 353 benefits.

Teladoc can provide a comprehensive medical review of your doctor’s diagnosis and review your treatment plan to make sure that is best for you.

Whether you need medical questions answered, a diagnosis double-checked, help deciding on a treatment plan, or guidance about a surgery, they provide an expert medical opinion when you need it most.

Teladoc is an expert opinion at your fingertips, receiving a diagnosis can be scary and leave you with many questions, or feeling uncertain. You can use Teladoc and hear from leading medical experts on a wide range of services such as:

  • Are unsure about a diagnosis or need help choosing treatment.
  • Need help finding a specialist outside of Canada.
  • Need help finding a local doctor or expert who specializes in treating your condition.
  • Would like in-depth information and research about your specific condition.
  • Want to make progress or need guidance on a mental health condition

Give Teladoc a call or visit their website next time you have a question related to you or your family’s health:

What is your Group RRSP?

Did you know that saving for your future doesn’t need to be stressful? It can be easy! In Canada, saving for retirement consists of three main avenues, also known as the “three pillars of retirement.” The three pillars are:

  1. Government based programs (Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, etc.),
  2. Employment based programs (like your IBEW Local 353 pension, and Group Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)) and,
  3. Individual savings (individual RRSPs, Tax Free Savings Accounts, personal savings, property, etc.).

A Group RRSP is a savings plan registered with the Canadian government where you and/or your employer on your behalf, can contribute over the course of your career until you retire. The government introduced RRSPs in 1957 to help Canadians save for their retirement.

Why contribute to your Group RRSP?  Taxes on RRSP contributions are deferred until retirement which means the more money you contribute now, the more money you will have to retire with. Also, the earlier you start saving, the more time you have for your money to grow. The reason for this is related to the time value of money. The longer the timeline you have to invest, the more money you can generate with your savings.

For every hour you work, your employer contributes a percentage of your wages to the IBEW Local 353 Group Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) (currently 3% for many IBEW Local 353 collective agreements), which is administered by Canada Life.

Your Group RRSP has six important benefits:

  1. Investment fees can be less than half of the going retail rate as compared to individual RRSP accounts.
  2. There are reduced administrative fees compared to individual RRSP accounts.
  3. It’s a painless way to save because contributions are paid directly by your employer and deposited into your individual Group RRSP account.
  4. As with other retirement savings plans, your contributions to the Group RRSP are tax deductible (up to a contribution limit affected by pension contributions) when you file your tax return.
  5. You choose the investment strategy that’s right for you – from a variety of funds.
  6. You can use your RRSP to supplement your income in retirement, to buy your first home, or use it in a financial emergency.

You can always monitor your contributions online at myteibas.com or by reviewing your quarterly contribution statements from TEIBAS. Canada Life will provide you with regular information on how your investments are performing.

Reminder: Review your RRSP Contribution Room

Towards the end of the year is a good time to review your RRSP “contribution room.” You should review your most recent Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Notice of Assessment not later than December 31st of each year. You can confirm your RRSP deduction limits and compare it to how much you have contributed to make sure you haven’t over contributed in the year. If you have overcontributed to your RRSP, take steps immediately to withdraw any excess amounts, or you could end up paying penalties and interest to the CRA.

Visit the Canada Revenue Agency’s website or call their tax inquiry service at 1-800-959-8281 to answer your questions about overcontributing to your RRSP.

Still have Questions? Call Canada Life’s Group RRSP number at 1-800-724-3402 and when calling, you’ll be asked for your group policy number, GE11257.

LifeWorks — Your Member Assistance Program

Life can be complicated, especially navigating your health and wellness around the holiday season. Get help with all of life’s questions, issues and concerns with LifeWorks. Anytime, 24/7, 365 days a year. It’s support when you need it, for all kinds of issues. Your Member Assistance Program (MAP) provides confidential and professional support services including short-term counselling, programs and resources to members and their immediate family members.

Here are just some of the solutions that LifeWorks can help with:

  • Active wellbeing such as stress, depression and anxiety.
  • Get financial guidance on topics like budgeting, credit and debt management, and changing circumstances.
  • Improve nutrition with weight management, managing high blood pressure and preventing diabetes.
  • Manage relationships and family with help on separation and divorce, parenting and elder care.

If you’re feeling stressed about work, family, finances, or need you need some help finding services for life’s complications, contact LifeWorks. Their services are available to you and your dependents at no additional cost (as defined by your IBEW Local 353 Benefit Plan). LifeWorks by Canada Life provides confidential short-term counselling at your fingertips anytime, anywhere, whether online, on the phone, or on their app.  Make the right decisions for you and your family with help from your MAP.

Call the Care Access Centre toll-free at 1-866-289-6749 and say that you’re a member of the IBEW Local 353. Or visit login.lifeworks.com | Username: canadalife | Password: lifeworks

You can also download the free LifeWorks app for Android or iOS – just search for LifeWorks.

5 Tips to Protect Yourself Against Scams

Is that your phone ringing again from an unknown number? It seems that every day we’re getting more and more calls, texts, and emails from scammers who want our personal and/or financial information.

Here are 5 ways you can better protect yourself against scams:

  1. Be careful when responding to unsolicited emails, texts and phone calls. Don’t give out personal information over the phone, via text, through email or over the Internet unless you initiated the contact and know who you’re dealing with.
  2. Protect your devices by regularly updating your systems, using antivirus software, and using two-factor authentication where available. Make sure you use strong and unique passwords for every account. Also remember to choose the strongest privacy settings for your social media accounts.
  3. Change your passwords and PINs. When was the last time you changed the PIN on your debit card or the password for online banking? We know it can be hard to keep track of all those passwords and PINs, but experts recommend changing them at least twice a year, even if your accounts haven’t been compromised. Consider using a password manager that can help you safely manage your passwords, while only having to remember one password to access all of your online accounts
  4. Monitor your transactions. Don’t wait until the end of the month to check your bank or credit card statements. Check your bank and credit card statements frequently and look for unusual or unknown transactions. You can also set up transaction alerts on your bank accounts to stay informed and monitor your bank activity.
  5. Clicking on links via text. Before you click a link or send money to anyone whether it’s a family member or a friend, confirm that you are sending money to the right person by giving them a call. Clicking on spam links could install malware that can collect information from your phone. It can take you to fake sites that look real but are designed to steal your information.

Questions? Email us at members@teibas.com or call us at 416-637-6789, (toll-free 1-800-267-0602).

We’re here to help!

Disclaimer: This blog was prepared on behalf of the Trustees of the Local 353 IBEW Trust Funds. It provides summary information about the Local 353 Health and Welfare Plan and the IBEW 353 Pension Plan (registration number 0598235) in plain language. This publication is not intended to provide advice. If there is any discrepancy between this document and the legal documents that govern the plans, the legal documents will apply. The Trustees expect to maintain these benefit plans indefinitely. However, they reserve the right to change or cancel any or all benefits under the Health and Welfare Plan, the Pension Plan, and the SUB Plan for active and retired members, and their survivors and dependants.