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.


Telus Health (Formerly 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 Telus Health. Their services are available to you and your dependents at no additional cost (as defined by your IBEW Local 353 Benefit Plan). Telus Health 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  Telus Health (formerly 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!


Financial Wellness 101

TFSAs, RRSPs, RESPs oh my! That’s a lot of acronyms, and when you start thinking about your own financial wellness journey it can be confusing to know where to start.

What is financial wellness? Financial wellness is how you effectively manage your economic life and the state of your financial well-being. Just like your physical and mental wellness, financial wellness is essential to living a healthy lifestyle. Understanding your relationship with money is important because if you know your financial situation you feel empowered to take care of it. Here are seven things to think about no matter where you are on your financial wellness journey:

  • Budget — Set a plan in place to help you manage your money. Set a monthly budget so you keep track of income and your expenses.
  • Live within your means — Make sure you have enough money to cover your expenses and save for your future.
  • Spend wisely — Get the most out of your money in line with what matters to you.
  • Avoid debt — Save money for that rainy day and pay your credit cards off in full each month.
  • Have an emergency fund — A financial safety net is key to saving for those unexpected expenses that can happen in life.
  • Save for your future — It’s never too early to plan for your retirement. As a member of the IBEW Local 353 you have access to a variety of services and information to help you plan for your retirement. Contact TEIBAS today.
  • Protect yourself from fraud — Always check the registration of any person or business trying to sell you an investment or give you investment advice. Visit: CheckBeforeYouInvest.ca or call 1-877-785-1555

If you’re wondering how to develop your financial wellness skills, there are many resources available to you as members of the IBEW Local 353. Check out the financial wellness page on myteibas.com for a list of resources to help you with your financial wellness journey. Or you can attend one of our upcoming financial wellness webinars! Visit the teibas.com events page for dates and times.


Understanding and Improving your Money Mindset

What is a money mindset? Your money mindset is made up of how you think about money, how you save your money, how you spend your money, and how you manage your debt. It can also be defined as your core beliefs and values about money, and how you make your decisions about money.

It’s essential to your overall wellness, including your financial wellness, to have a positive mindset about money. If you’re looking for resources to help you understand and improve your money mindset, there are a variety of resources available to you as a member of the IBEW Local 353.

Check out the financial wellness page on myteibas.com for a list of resources to help you with your financial wellness journey. One of the resources, Telus Health formerly known as LifeWorks, has a range of tools, videos and toolkits to help you improve your money mindset. Log in to login.lifeworks.com with username: canadalife and password: lifeworks

Or you can attend one of our upcoming financial wellness webinars!  Save the date for our next financial wellness webinar, Saving Strategies, Easy Concept, Difficult Reality on Thursday May 25th at 7:00 p.m. To register, email members@teibas.com.

You can also join us on Saturday October 14th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for TEIBAS’ Wellness Fair at the IBEW Local 353 South Union Hall. Listen to guest speakers discuss financial and physical wellness topics, or book a retirement planning session. Register today at members@teibas.com.


How Your Plan Measures Up

We’re proud to state that the IBEW Local 353 Benefit Plan (benefit plan) offers the highest relative value in a recent independent report compared to 11 peer plans in the construction and building trades industry in Ontario. This means for you as members, your IBEW Local 353 Plan has a generous benefit offering compared to peer benefit plans.

The Relative Value Comparison Report of the IBEW Local 353 Benefit Plan (the report) is based on an industry-leading benefit benchmarking study conducted by PBI Actuaries and Consultants which simplifies benefit plan designs into a comparable format, then compares your benefit plan against a group of peer plans operating in the same industry, in a sense comparing ‘Apples to Apples.’

What does this mean for you?

At a high level, it means your benefit plan has a generous benefit offering compared to peer benefit plans in the construction and building trade industry in Ontario. Your benefit plan offers a relative value of above 100% which means that your plan offers a benefit matching or in this case exceeding comparison plans in the industry. The report measures how benefit dollars across plans are being spent, and shows the benefits being used by members in the plan.

Alignment of Value

Your benefit dollars are spent where you most value them. In our last member research survey, plan members ranked the following benefits as highly valued dental, prescription drugs, paramedical, disability benefits and life insurance. This report demonstrates how your plan dollars are aligned with member expectations and needs. For example, your plan offers a relative value above 100% in Extended Health Benefits like prescription drugs and paramedical services.

Did you know? Your benefit plan offers the best value for disability benefits compared to other plans. This is primarily due to the following reasons: the benefit is linked to pre-disability income, pension credits keep accruing while on you’re on disability, members have their health benefits maintained while on disability at no cost to them, and no CPP offsets are applied to disability payments.

Protecting Your Future

Your benefit plan has a strong focus on Protecting Your Future. This focus resonates through providing plan members with industry-leading coverage within Ontario’s construction and building trades industry.

Read the new report to learn more.


Mental Health Resources at Your Fingertips

The first week of May is Mental Health Week here in Canada. This year’s theme for Mental Health Week is ‘My Story’. Collectively and individually, we all have stories and life experiences that make us who we are. Each year 1 in 5 Canadians experience a mental illness or mental health issue, but 5 in 5 of us – that’s all people – have mental health.

When it comes to your mental, physical, or financial health, it takes work to build a healthy lifestyle. But you don’t have to do it alone. As a member of the IBEW Local 353 you have a variety of mental health resources at your fingertips. Below are some helpful resources you can use to support an issue or a challenge you or a loved one might be facing.

Mental Wellness Benefit

As part of your IBEW Local 353 Benefit Plan, your Mental Wellness Benefit is reimbursed at 100% based on reasonable and customary charges, to a maximum of $2,500 per calendar year, per covered person for all mental wellness practitioners combined.

Mental health practitioners must be registered with their profession’s regulatory or governing body in the province where services are provided. Coverage is subject to reasonable and customary limits. Here is the list of practitioners you have access to as part of your benefit plan:

  • Clinical psychologist
  • Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI)
  • Psychotherapist
  • Social Worker

Member Assistance Program – Telus Health (Formerly LifeWorks) – 1-866-289-6749 

Your Member Assistance Program (MAP) provides you and your covered family members with immediate, no-cost, and confidential help for work, health, and life concerns. If you or your loved ones are feeling stressed about work, family, finances, or need some help finding services for life’s complications, contact Telus Health.

Your MAP provides 24/7 confidential short-term counselling at your fingertips anytime, anywhere whether online, on the phone, or on their app. Your MAP also offers a range of wellness tools and personalized recommendations such as LIFT fitness sessions, assessments, digital clinical programs, and challenges, to help you reach your health and fitness goals and keep you on track.

Visit login.lifeworks.com |Username| canadalife and password| lifeworks or call the Care Access Centre toll-free at 1-866-289-6749 and indicate that you are a member of the IBEW Local 353.

Teladoc – 1-877-419-2378

If something is on your mind, big or small, there’s support for whatever challenge you might be facing. Mental Health Navigator offers you and your eligible family members a discreet and confidential way to seek mental health support from the comfort of your home. Their Mental health professionals are there to point people in the right direction and can help with:

  • Controlling anxiety from work or home stressors,
  • Managing and understanding depression, and
  • Managing the responsibility of caring for an aging or dependent loved one.

Give Teladoc a call at 1-877-419-2378 and speak with a mental health navigator today.

From time to time, we all need support to deal with an issue or challenge. These mental health resources are there to support you when you need them the most.


5 Facts to Know About Your Pension Plan

You might be surprised to learn that your IBEW Local 353 Pension Plan can become one of the most valuable assets you will ever have, and it’s for life. It grows with contributions made for each hour you work for an IBEW Local 353 contractor until you retire, then it pays off for the rest of your life.

Did you know these 5 facts about your pension?

  1. Type of pension plan

Your IBEW Local 353 Pension Plan is a “Specified Ontario Multi-Employer Pension Plan” or Target Benefit Pension Plan. It provides a pension based on a formula and grows each year that you work for an IBEW Local 353 participating employer. Every year in June you get a statement telling you how much you can expect to receive in retirement (based on the normal form of pension). That number is the target. Of course, it’s possible your pension payments could end up being higher or lower than the target. Plan performance can’t be guaranteed, but the plan hasn’t paid out less than the target in all the years it’s been run.

  1. How to join the plan

You automatically join the pension plan if you are a member of IBEW Local 353 and work for an employer party to an IBEW Local 353 collective agreement that requires pension contributions be made to the plan, or work for an employer that has signed a participation agreement with the Board of Trustees.

  1. Contributing to the plan

Your employer contributes to the plan for each hour that you work. The exact amount of the contribution depends on the collective agreement or participation agreement in place with your employer. The more hours you work, the more your employer contributes, and the bigger your pension is going to be when you retire.

  1. When you can start receiving your pension

You can retire as early as age 55 but if you retire before age 61 your pension is reduced by 6% per year that you are under the age of 65. This reduction doesn’t apply once you reach age 61 if you’ve had pension contributions made in at least 1 out of the last 24 months before you retire.

  1. How your pension is paid

Once you retire your pension is paid to you each month for as long as you live.

Did you know? TEIBAS offers ongoing webinars on your how to become retirement ready as well as on how your pension and benefits plans work. They’re a great way to find out how to plan for retirement and how to keep your retiree benefit coverage in force. Sign-up by emailing members@teibas.com.

Want to learn more about your IBEW Local 353 Pension Plan? Watch a new pension explainer video at teibas.com or at myteibas.com on the main page or under the Pension Video Tab. The video gives you a quick overview of your IBEW Local 353 Pension Plan.

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!


Powering You Forward — Come to TEIBAS’ Wellness Fair!

Save the date! Join us for a fun and informational Powering You Forward — Wellness Fair on Saturday, October 14th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the IBEW Local 353 South Union Hall located at 1377 Lawrence Avenue East in Toronto.

Our wellness fair is a one stop shop for all your wellness needs and interests, whether they are physical, mental, or financial. Discover information that is tailored to you, our IBEW Local 353 members. Ask questions and get guidance on a wide variety of topics; your pension and benefit plans, your group RRSP, healthy eating, financial wellness and many more! During the fair we’re having short workshops on financial and physical wellness topics.

You will also here from our special guest speaker, Dr. Prerana Rudrapatna, a Clinician Engagement Strategist. She will speak about the six pillars of lifestyle medicine which include a whole-food, plant-predominant diet, physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances, and maintaining positive social connections.

You can also book an in-person retirement planning session, feel free to book in advance at members@teibas.com, otherwise members will be booked on a first come, first serve basis in person at the Wellness Fair. You’ll hear more from us in the coming months as we approach October.

If you’d like to RSVP in advance, send us an email at members@teibas.com.

TEIBAS Tip: TEIBAS regularly offers webinars on your how to become retirement ready, as well as on how your pension and benefits plans work. They’re a great way to find out how to plan for retirement and how to keep your retiree benefit coverage in force. Sign-up today by emailing members@teibas.com.

Questions? We’re here to help!

Please contact us either by email at members@teibas.com or call us at 416-637-6789 or toll-free at 1-800-267-0602.


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.