Administrative Policies

GSI has established certain administrative policies to assist with timely and effective record keeping. GSI appreciates your compliance and cooperation in following these policies.

Collection of Past Due Accounts

ELCIC Group Services Inc. (“GSI”) has the mandate to establish and administer national group plans for pension and benefits.

All employers (congregations and others) sign agreements (participation for pension and subscription for benefits) that outline their roles and responsibilities which include remitting contributions and premiums each month to GSI (i.e. within 30 days after the month end of the respective payroll – but 15 days is desirable).

When the remittance from the congregation is 30 days past due (i.e. two months after the payroll date), GSI will attempt to contact the treasurer by telephone and e-mail to make arrangements for payment or resolve any issues they may have.

If an employer is unresponsive after 15 days of the first contact attempt another written attempt will be made with a copy to the Synod Bishop, the Council Chair and the plan member(s) affected.

The employer will be made aware that the plan member’s contributions will not gain the full advantage of timely investment if the contributions are late.  Also late premiums could jeopardize a member’s health and life claims.

Amount outstanding due to financial hardship

If the employer is not paying due to financial hardship, GSI will work with the employer to determine a payment schedule to bring the account up to date.  If the situation continues on an ongoing basis, an assessment of the employer’s ability to have paid employee(s) and their overall financial viability may need to be assessed.  This should be done in conjunction with the employer’s management team and the Synod office.

Amount outstanding is in dispute

If the outstanding amount is in dispute every attempt will be made to have open communication and resolve the difference.  If the amount is significant, an in person meeting may be warranted.

If the employer is not cooperating the respective Synodical Bishop may be notified and asked to begin disciplinary action as described in the Church Bylaws:

CHBYLAWS, Part II, Section 6c. “Willfully violating or disregarding the constitution or official actions of this Church or the Synod.”

In situations where the plan member shares in the cost in benefit premiums and refuses the payroll deduction or acts to discourage their employer from forwarding amounts owing, then the respective Synodical Bishop may be notified and asked to begin disciplinary action as described in the guideline:

‘Guidelines Re: Grounds for discipline of Ordained Ministers’ point 4 “Willful disregard of the constitution, administrative bylaws or enactments of ELCIC or the Synods shall be grounds for discipline of ordained ministers.”

Regardless, in all such cases involving the plan member, the congregation becomes responsible for the entire amount.

Finally

If the outstanding amount is 6 months past due and no workable solution can be determined GSI reserves the right with 30 days notice to terminate the employer from the ELCIC Pension and Benefits Plans as a participating employer.  At that time all their employees cease to be active pension plan members and their benefits coverage will cease of that date.  All amounts owing to that date will be due and payable immediately.

Thereafter GSI reserves the right to engage a collection agency or initiate court action as the situation may require.  The Financial Services Commission of Ontario will be notified after all reasonable efforts to collect outstanding amounts have been made and amounts remain uncollected.

Effective November 2013

Communications

ELCI Group Services Inc., ‘GSI’ will strive to provide all communications in clear and simple language that is free of industry jargon. GSI will also strive to make its key messages relevant and understandable and with information that is complete, correct, consistent and unbiased.

Our communication will protect members’ privacy, maintain clear boundaries and ensure that bullying and harassment does not occur.

The authorized spokespersons of GSI are the Board Chair / President and the Executive Director.

GSI uses a range of tools to communicate with our members:

Website

  1. The website includes current information on plan coverages, policy documents, guidance for treasurers and retirement planning for plan members.
  2. No offensive content or photos will be published.
  3. Feedback is welcomed from plan members and employers to improve the information available on the site.

Email

Email is used by the GSI staff for regular business correspondence.

Newsletters

GSI provides regular newsletters to plan members with plan information, wellness tips and other current information. Newsletters are e-mailed to plan members and then archived on the website.

Member Pension Statements

Pension account statements for all plan members are produced and distributed semi-annually.

Annual Report

An Annual Report for the Pension Plan is produced and posted on the website. Plan members are notified when it is available with a link to the website. Printed copies are available on request.

Communications to GSI from Plan Members or Employer Representatives

GSI expects to receive communications that are respectful and constructive.

Communication:

  1. must not offend, intimidate, humiliate or bully another person;
  2. must not be misleading, false or injure the reputation of another person;
  3. should respect and maintain the privacy of members.

Please also see the GSI Privacy Policy.

Individual Extended Health Care Premium Payment

Who this policy applies to

ELCIC Group Services Inc (“GSI”) has contracted with Manulife Financial for a group extended health care plan, which is available to individuals who are:

  • former employees of ELCIC congregations or other ELCIC ministries, which are now retired and have attained age 60, and
  • ELCIC Long Term Disability (LTD) members, which are now receiving LTD benefits

Member must be residing in Canada and must have been previously enrolled in, or eligible for the active member group extended health benefit plan.

Premium payments

Retired and LTD members are financially responsible for the monthly premium which must be made by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) from the member’s designated bank account. The applicable enrollment form must be completed, signed and a void cheque attached.  The EFT occurs on the 10th day of each month or the next following business day of each month.

Declined or returned payments

If the EFT payment is declined by the financial institution for any reason it must be replaced with a cheque within 30 days otherwise enrollment will be terminated.

If the EFT payment is declined or a replacement cheque is returned for any reason, three times in a 12 month span, GSI reserves the right to terminate coverage and coverage cannot be reinstated at a later date.

Additional information

A description of what the extended health care plan covers as well as eligibility and administration information is available at www.elcicgsi.ca. You may contact the GSI office to have a printed copy mailed to you.

Effective January 1, 2012

Member Choice with respect to ELCIC Pension Plan Investments

ELCIC Group Services Inc. ‘GSI’ as the Pension Plan Administrator recognizes that many ELCIC plan members do not have the expertise and resources to make asset allocations decisions and investment choices, which are critical to growing the account to provide a reasonable income in retirement.

Due to the geographical spread and low employee to employer ratio, GSI is unable to meet the applicable regulator’s ‘Know Your Client’ annual requirement to meet personally with and document a plan member’s risk tolerance, investment knowledge and financial position.

For the same reason of geography and low number of individuals per site, it is very challenging for GSI to adequately educate plan members on investment and financial matters in order for them to make their own informed asset allocation decisions and investment choices.

These factors make it prohibitive for GSI, due to its fiduciary responsibilities, to offer plan members investment choice within their pension account and GSI as plan administrator determines the investment selection and asset allocation policy.

Member Unsupported Benefits Claims Policy

ELCIC Group Services Inc. (“GSI”)

Policy for Member Unsupported Benefits Claims

Effective June 1, 2017

Background

The Manulife on-line claims system allows plan members to submit electronic health claims without submitting a receipt. Manulife randomly selects claims for audit as well as when certain flags within the claim are triggered. The audit of any claim, regardless of selection method, may include:

  • requesting receipts from the member,
  • confirming the claim with the service provider, and
  • conversations with both member and provider.

In any selected audit Manulife may uncover unsupported or fraudulent claims. Manulife has established policies regarding appropriate responses to a variety of findings. Based on the Terms & Conditions that the plan member agrees to when using and submitting claims via the Plan Member site, Manulife is authorized to share detailed information of the findings with the plan sponsor GSI.

GSI Policy

Upon notification and review of information on any findings indicating a plan member has made unsupported or fraudulent claims, GSI expects the plan member to repay the full amount of these unsupported and/or fraudulent claims, however GSI will not necessarily pursue further legal action.

Whether or not the amount is repaid in full, GSI will notify the employer and terminate the members group benefits plan enrollment which includes not only the specific benefit on which the fraud was committed, but includes health, travel, dental, life, short and long term disability, Accidental Death Disease & Dismemberment, and Employee & Family Assistance Plan.

In the case of a Rostered plan member, the Synodical Bishop will also be advised.

Plan Fees

ELCIC Group Services Inc. (GSI), operates on a not for profit basis and therefore fees are charged on a cost recovery basis with no anticipated margin for excess profit.

For the ELCIC Group Benefits Plan, GSI may charge employers, premiums that are higher than the premiums required by the insurance companies to be retained by GSI as a fee for service.

For the ELCIC Pension Plan, GSI charges a management fee that is deducted against investment income or loss which is allocated to member accounts.

Fees are determined based on costs and expenses as follows:

GSI in its role as Administrator enters into contracts on behalf of the ELCIC Pension Plan.  These contracts are for services that are wholly attributable to the Pension Plan and include, but are not limited to:

  1. investment management;
  2. pension consulting;
  3. legal advice;
  4. audit and tax services;
  5. asset custody and;
  6. performance monitoring.

There are additional expenses that GSI incurs that relate to both the pension and benefits administration.  These include, but are not limited to:

  1. salaries and benefits;
  2. software;
  3. board oversight expenses;
  4. communications media: newsletters, web, annual report;
  5. rent;
  6. insurance;
  7. office supplies;
  8. postage;
  9. capital expenditures.

GSI charges the pension plan a management fee on a cost recovery basis for portion of these shared costs.  The portion is determined annually based on staff time split between the pension and benefits plans.