Life Events for Plan Members

Please keep GSI informed of any of the life changes outlined on this page.

Each tab describes what information or forms are required and what further steps may be necessary for each life event. Please review these and refer back to them when these occasions arise.

New Plan Member

ELCIC Group Services Inc. (GSI) has created a complete pension and benefits package for all eligible employees of any ELCIC congregation or affiliated ELCIC organization. Your treasurer or someone in the human resources area of your organization needs to complete the eligibility form, salary basis calculation form and advise GSI of your call or hire. You will need to complete the Pension Plan Enrollment form, the Group Benefits Plan Enrollment form and the Continuing Education Plan (CEP) Enrollment form (all can be found on the forms and worksheets page).

Next you should review how your pension plan works and the benefits available to you. Just take a few minutes to scan those and then you will know where to reference back to them when a need arises.

If you have a spouse and that spouse has health and dental coverage, you will need to review what each plan covers and the associated costs. Then you can decide if you want to be on just one of the plans or on both plans so that you can make claims to each.

The pension plan is a savings account for your retirement. The account grows by the contributions you and your employer make each month. Investment returns are credited to the account each month as well. So expect a deduction of 7% from each pay cheque to be added to your pension account. Your employer will also be making a contribution of 8% of your pay.

Now is the time to consider whether you would like to make voluntary pension contributions to increase your overall savings for retirement (max is another 3%). If you do, talk to your treasurer about the amount of additional deduction they should make and forward to your pension account and complete the voluntary pension form (also on the forms and worksheets page). You may also want to think about signing up for optional life insurance for you or for your spouse.

New to Canada

It can be confusing navigating the system in an unfamiliar setting. Basically, everything under new plan member applies with a couple of twists as follows:

The extended health plan is a second payer to the government health program, therefore you need to apply for provincial health coverage first and the ELCIC plan will begin when your provincial coverage becomes effective (typically 3 months after arrival). All other benefits will start immediately. If you have a spouse and/or children, coverage for them will begin once you are enrolled and they are living in Canada as well. Contributions to the pension plan can begin as soon as you have your social insurance number.

Getting married

Spouses are covered under the ELCIC dental and health benefits plan.  If your new spouse is also working and has a dental and health plan, then you will need to review what each plan covers and the associated costs. Then you can decide if you want to be on just one of the plans or enroll in both and make claims to each.

Let your spouse know that they have access to the short term counselling plan as well, outside of the dental and health plan.

There is also $10,000 life insurance coverage for your spouse.

Most importantly, please review your life insurance beneficiary and note that your spouse is the automatic beneficiary of your pension account.

You will need to complete the Change of Marital Status form and submit it to the GSI office.

Changes to Spouse's Benefits

Changes to Your Spouse’s Benefits

If your spouse has a health and dental plan that also covers you and any dependents you can chose to either be enrolled in both plans and co-ordinate the benefits or waive your benefits.  See the details of those choices below.

If your spouse’s coverage terminates please advise us immediately as we need to update the records in order for any claims to be processed (whether you had been co-ordinating or had waived and now need to rejoin your plan).

If your spouse did not have coverage previously but has started a new position and now has coverage, you have a one-time opportunity to review your choice to co-ordinate or waive benefits.

We will need to be advised of the exact date of the change.

Co-ordination of Health and Dental Benefits

Co-ordination of benefits allows for reimbursement of insured medical and dental expenses from both yours and your spouse’s plans up to a total of 100% of the actual expenses incurred.

Does your spouse have extended health and/or dental benefits through his/her current employer that includes coverage for you and your dependents?  If yes your health and dental benefits will be co-ordinated with your spouse’s.

To co-ordinate your benefits contact our office with the following information:

  • Effective date of spouse’s coverage
  • Is it for both health and dental
  • Is it a family plan or single coverage for your spouse
  • If spouse’s plan is with Manulife indicate plan number and certificate number

Please review the How to Submit a Claim section in the Group Benefits information for guidance on which plan pays first.

If you are divorced/separated and your children have coverage under another plan contact our office to advise of their co-ordination of benefits.

Waiver of Health and Dental Benefits

If your spouse has health and dental coverage you may waive your health and dental coverage.  We require a letter from your spouse`s employer indicating you are covered under their plan.

Once you waive health and dental coverage you may only enroll in the health and dental coverage if your spouse loses their coverage.  We require a letter from your spouse`s employer indicating the date their coverage ceased.  You would come onto the health and dental coverage as your true family status the day after your spouse loses their coverage.  Continuous coverage is required on the health and dental plan.

Becoming a parent


Please contact us so that we can add your new baby to the benefits plans.  We require you to complete page 2 of the Eligibility Form for evidence to the insurance company. 

Supplemental Pay Information – starting January 1, 2017

If you are a member of the ELCIC Group Benefits Plan and are receiving employment insurance for maternity and/or parental benefits, you may be eligible for supplemental pay benefit at 30% over 12 months or 20% over 18 months coinciding with the employment insurance option selected, of your pre-leave salary.

Review the full details of the Parental Leave Policy in the Compensation Guidelines Appendix Two for more information.

Please consult with your treasurer and complete the forms found under the Forms & Worksheets page. Note that pension contributions are required on the supplemental pay. Your employer must maintain your group benefits while you are on leave.

New call for existing plan members

If you are transitioning from your previous call without a break in service, all of your benefits continue seamlessly.

Please ensure your former treasurer has contacted our office to advise us of your final date and to confirm that all amounts owing are correctly remitted.  Then make sure your new treasurer has notified our office of your hire date and submitted a Salary Basis Calculation form (found on forms page) so we can update our records.

If there is some time between your calls, please contact our office about which benefits can be converted to individual plans for the in between time.

Require Sick Days

ELCIC Sick Leave Policy – as of January 1, 2017

This policy is provided for employees to better manage their health and wellness. Please see Appendix One of the Compensation Guidelines.

Become disabled

The disability program aims to create an environment of wellness and engagement through awareness and acceptance of any health challenges. The program also aims to support health and wellness promotion and to have excellent attendance and engagement. 

The ELCIC Group Benefits Plan provides both short-term disability and long-term disability benefits to plan members with supported claims.   

We invite you to refer to the Short-term Disability Policy plan document for detailed information on the terms and conditions of the plan.  

As well, you may download the Short-term Disability Member Guide for an overview of plan benefits, a checklist for plan members and answers to some frequently asked questions. 

Waiting period – two weeks 

When you become ill, disabled or require time off for surgery, the first two weeks are managed by your employer under the ELCIC Sick Leave Policy (see the previous tab, or Compensation Guidelines). When it becomes apparent that you will be unable to return to work after two weeks from the initial absence, your congregation/employer should notify GSI immediately. 

ShortTerm Disability – next 15 weeks 

Process and Forms  

Once your congregation/employer advises GSI of your prolonged absence, you will be contacted by Windley Ely, an independent disability management firm. Windley Ely will explain the STD program and answer your questions. They will also get preliminary information about your claim. They will then provide you with the forms that you and your doctor will need to complete. Your completed forms should be submitted directly to Windley Ely. 

Payment and Benefit Amount 

When Windley Ely has notified you that your claim is approved, your congregation/employer will pay you the STD benefit amount, which is calculated as 70% your salary basis (salary & housing) less statutory withholdings. 

Pension and Benefits 

Your pension contribution at 7% of your disability income (i.e. the reduced amount) will be withheld on your pay. Your congregation/employer will make the required 8% contribution on the disability income amount, as well. 

Your congregation/employer will continue to be responsible for the ELCIC Group Benefit Plan premiums during the short term disability period. 

LongTerm Disability – 17 weeks and beyond 


If you continue to be sick or disabled after 17 weeks, Windley Ely will assist in transitioning the case to long-term disability with The Co-operators. Transition steps will begin several weeks ahead of STD ending. Updated medical information will likely be required to support the LTD claim. 

Payment and Benefit Amount 

Upon approval from The Co-operators, disability payments will come directly from them. The benefit amount is equal to 65% of your pre-disability Salary Basis (salary and housing) less statutory deductions.  

Pension and Benefits 

The 15% pension contribution on your pre-disability Salary Basis is insured and will be paid by The Co-operators to GSI directly. The premiums for life and disability are waived by The Co-operators during this period. You may continue on the health and dental plan at your cost for two years from the date the long term disability benefit began

Leaving employment

Your group benefits end effective the same day as your employment ends.

Dental and health premiums must be paid in full for the month as the carrier will not pro-rate them; however coverage ends with your last day of work.  You have 90 days to submit any claims that were incurred prior to your last day, but the on line system will not be available to you after termination and so paper claims must be made.

Manulife offers individual extended health and dental plans for you when your employment ends. You may apply for an individual plan with Manulife within 120 days of termination. Whether you are at the end of your career with the Church or in professional transition and just bridging benefits, connecting with My Next Chapter helps makes the transition easier.

Life insurance coverage will also end on your last day at work.  You will have 30 days to convert your coverage to an individual plan with Co-operators without a medical exam, if you have been a plan member for at least 5 years.  You can convert the value of your current coverage, including any optional coverage to a total maximum of $200,000.  Coverage for your dependents will end and there is no conversion option.

Disability insurance, accidental death and dismemberment, and the short term counselling will end on your last day at work and there is no conversion option.

Your pension account will go into a suspended status after we receive the final contributions from your employer.

Investment income earned in the pension fund will continue to be allocated to your account.

Non-Rostered employees will receive a statement of their account, the available options and the forms required to transfer the account.

Rostered members can request their statement and the available options if:

  • you are age 65, or
  • your status is retired on the roster and you are over age 55, or
  • you have not contributed to the pension plan for one year and have declared your intension not to return to a participating employer, or
  • your roster status is: removed, terminated or transferred.

When you have received your options, please review them carefully with your financial planner and return the completed forms to our office.  Please also take some time to visit the retirement planning section of the website.

Continuing Education Plan (CEP)

CEP is a resource of funds for plan members to enhance their employment skills. This is the overriding criteria, which allows these funds to be used on a tax free basis to the member. Please review the CEP Policy for information on your account balance options at termination.

Reaching age 65

As you continue to work past age 65, your health and dental benefits will continue.  Unfortunately the following benefits and coverage will end:

  • travel coverage (defined as everything in the ‘Out of Province / Out of Country section in your group benefits information),
  • accidental death & dismemberment,
  • disability coverage (both short- and long-term), and
  • the  employee and family assistance plan (short term counselling),

Life insurance coverage will also end on your 65th birthday, however  you will have 30 days to convert your coverage to an individual plan with Co-operators without a medical exam, if you have been a plan member for at least 5 years.  You can convert the value of your current coverage, including any optional coverage to a total maximum of $200,000.  Coverage for your dependents will end and there is no conversion option.

You will have some decisions to make with regard to your pension account.  As long as you keep working, from age 65 to age 71 you may choose to continue to make pension contributions and your employer will also be obligated to make their corresponding contribution.

Alternatively, you can request to have your account balance transferred to your financial institution and manage your investments until you are ready to convert those to your retirement income.

Retiree Health Eligibility

Joining the Retiree Health Plan

This is a voluntary plan with a one time opportunity to join when your employment ends if you are over age 60 and continue residing in Canada.  A form will be mailed to you where you will indicate your choice to join the plan or waive coverage. If you have waived the active plan due to spousal coverage you will have a one time opportunity to join the retiree health plan when the spousal coverage ends.


The benefit coverages in the Retiree Health Plan are consistent with the Active Health Plan.  Please note that travel and dental converages are not part of the Retiree Health Plan.


The plan is paid by the member 100%.  Payments are made monthly by electronic funds transfer.  There is a collections policy that you should be aware of in the policy section of the website. Premiums are listed by province in the premium rates table on this website.

Getting divorced

GSI should be notified when you become separated or divorced by completeing the Change_of_Marital_Status. Beneficiary and dependent information may need to be updated. There are requirements within legislation (that vary from province to province) for splitting your pension with your former spouse for the time period of your marriage / co-habitation. Please ensure that this is clearly and properly addressed in your separation documents, so that we can calculate the split.

When someone dies

When someone dies it can be emotionally overwhelming and confusing.

If a plan member dies, GSI needs to be notified in order to process any survivor or beneficiary claims.  A death certificate will be required.

Benefits – If the member was enrolled in health and dental the spouse (family) continues on the plan for two years with the premiums waived.  A claim for life insurance has to be made with the benefit being three times the annual salary.  The short term counselling services can be accessed for the following two months and may assist with grief counselling.

Pension – If the member had a spouse, a number of options are available to that spouse and we will send out a letter detailing those.  If there is no spouse then a lump sum will be paid to the beneficiary or the estate.