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Benefits 101

Employee benefits are benefits that are made available to employees through their employer. Employee benefits form part of the employee’s total compensation package and may be paid wholly or in part by the employer. A well-designed benefits plan is good for employee morale and provides tax effective compensation that helps to attract and retain the best employees. If you are an employer competing for talent or looking for ways to improve employee retention you should consider how the addition of a benefits plan can positively impact your business.

Designing Your Benefits

We tailor make plan designs specific to the needs of each company we work with.
The following are benefit options that are commonly included in a group insurance plan:

Healthcare

Under the Healthcare umbrella a number of different and independent options are available.

Prescription drugs – Provides coverage for many prescription drugs not covered by the Provincial Healthcare plan. Coverage for prescription drugs coverage works in concert with the requirements of provincial drug legislation.

Paramedical practitioners – Coverage for paramedical treatments such as a Chiropractor, Physiotherapist, Acupuncture, Registered Dietician, Massage Therapist, Naturopath can be included in your plan design.

Coverage for semi-private hospital stays

Medical Services and supplies such as orthotics, hearing aids, diabetic supplies, and wigs for cancer patients.

Emergency Travel coverage

Dental Care

Plans can be designed to cover basic dental procedures such as cleaning, X-rays and fillings.  Depending on your plan goals you may upgrade to include Major Dental (crowns and dentures) as well.  Coverage for orthodontics is available as a separate plan feature and will requires the plan to include Major Dental.

Vision Care

Vision care coverage can include reimbursement for eye exams not covered through the Provincial Health Plan and coverage for glasses, contact lenses or laser eye surgery. 

Disability Insurance

Short term disability (STD) – Short term disability benefits provide an employee who is off work due directly to a covered illness or injury with a disability benefit. The amount of disability benefit payable at claim time is a percentage of pre-disability salary up to the weekly maximum benefit amount. There are a range of start date and benefit period options available to choose from although benefits are generally designed to cease after 4 months on claim.

Long term disability (LTD) – Long term disability benefits help provide financial protection to an employee who is off work due directly to a covered illness or injury. A claim for a covered disability can begin immediately following a short-term disability claim or after the elimination period has been satisfied. There are a range of start date and benefit period options available to choose from. Generally LTD claims have a four to six month waiting period and benefits can be payable for 2 years, 5 years or to age 65.

Life Insurance

Life insurance can be selected to include the employee, their spouse and their children. The minimum and maximum amount of coverage available will depend on the size of the group, the insurance carrier selected and the age of the insured

Critical Illness

When the insured is diagnosed with a covered critical condition (the most commonly claimed conditions are heart attack, life threatening cancer, and stroke) and satisfies the survival period a lump sum benefit becomes payable to the insured. The insured has full control over the benefit they receive and may decide to spend or save the funds as they choose. The insured’s ability or inability to work is not part of the claim adjudication process.

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Health Care Spending Account (HCSA)

 

 

With healthcare spending accounts the claim risk is shifted away from the small business. HCSA’s are simply an account funded by the employer to a specified maximum, for example $1,500/year. The employee can claim against their annual allotment for any Healthcare or Dental Care expense. As a result, the premium risk to the small business is low as the expense is capped at the annual allotment multiplied by the number of employees. HCSAs do represent increased claim risk to employees. If an employee or family member is faced with a large health expense they can hit the HCSA limit quickly and subsequently be faced with a financially damaging out-of-pocket expense.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)

EAP’s are gaining traction and for good reason. Plans are designed to cover the unique needs and goals of your plan members. Plans can be designed to include access to professionals to help employees deal with depression, anxiety, grief, financial, legal support and much more. The employer can also utilize an EAP to help deal with issues facing the business such as coaching and guidance, an employer newsletter, and trauma response for assistance dealing with a critical incident that is affecting your workforce.

Cost Plus Arrangements


EAP’s are gaining traction and for good reason.  Plans are designed to cover the unique needs and goals of your plan members.  Plans can be designed to include access to professionals to help employees deal with depression, anxiety, grief, financial, legal support and much more.  The employer can also utilize an EAP to help deal with issues facing the business such as coaching and guidance, an employer newsletter, and trauma response for assistance dealing with a critical incident that is affecting your workforce..

 

Healthcare

Under the Healthcare umbrella a number of different and independent options are available.

Prescription drugs – Provides coverage for many prescription drugs not covered by the Provincial Healthcare plan. Coverage for prescription drugs coverage works in concert with the requirements of provincial drug legislation.

Paramedical practitioners – Coverage for paramedical treatments such as a Chiropractor, Physiotherapist, Acupuncture, Registered Dietician, Massage Therapist, Naturopath can be included in your plan design.

Coverage for semi-private hospital stays

Medical Services and supplies such as orthotics, hearing aids, diabetic supplies, and wigs for cancer patients.

Emergency Travel coverage

Dental Care

Plans can be designed to cover basic dental procedures such as cleaning, X-rays and fillings.  Depending on your plan goals you may upgrade to include Major Dental (crowns and dentures) as well.  Coverage for orthodontics is available as a separate plan feature and will requires the plan to include Major Dental.

Vision Care

Vision care coverage can include reimbursement for eye exams not covered through the Provincial Health Plan and coverage for glasses, contact lenses or laser eye surgery. 

Disability Insurance

Short term disability (STD) – Short term disability benefits provide an employee who is off work due directly to a covered illness or injury with a disability benefit. The amount of disability benefit payable at claim time is a percentage of pre-disability salary up to the weekly maximum benefit amount. There are a range of start date and benefit period options available to choose from although benefits are generally designed to cease after 4 months on claim.

Long term disability (LTD) – Long term disability benefits help provide financial protection to an employee who is off work due directly to a covered illness or injury. A claim for a covered disability can begin immediately following a short-term disability claim or after the elimination period has been satisfied. There are a range of start date and benefit period options available to choose from. Generally LTD claims have a four to six month waiting period and benefits can be payable for 2 years, 5 years or to age 65.

Life Insurance

Life insurance can be selected to include the employee, their spouse and their children. The minimum and maximum amount of coverage available will depend on the size of the group, the insurance carrier selected and the age of the insured

Critical Illness

When the insured is diagnosed with a covered critical condition (the most commonly claimed conditions are heart attack, life threatening cancer, and stroke) and satisfies the survival period a lump sum benefit becomes payable to the insured. The insured has full control over the benefit they receive and may decide to spend or save the funds as they choose. The insured’s ability or inability to work is not part of the claim adjudication process.

b

Health Care Spending Account (HCSA)

 

 

With healthcare spending accounts the claim risk is shifted away from the small business. HCSA’s are simply an account funded by the employer to a specified maximum, for example $1,500/year. The employee can claim against their annual allotment for any Healthcare or Dental Care expense. As a result, the premium risk to the small business is low as the expense is capped at the annual allotment multiplied by the number of employees. HCSAs do represent increased claim risk to employees. If an employee or family member is faced with a large health expense they can hit the HCSA limit quickly and subsequently be faced with a financially damaging out-of-pocket expense.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)

EAP’s are gaining traction and for good reason. Plans are designed to cover the unique needs and goals of your plan members. Plans can be designed to include access to professionals to help employees deal with depression, anxiety, grief, financial, legal support and much more. The employer can also utilize an EAP to help deal with issues facing the business such as coaching and guidance, an employer newsletter, and trauma response for assistance dealing with a critical incident that is affecting your workforce.

Cost Plus Arrangements


EAP’s are gaining traction and for good reason.  Plans are designed to cover the unique needs and goals of your plan members.  Plans can be designed to include access to professionals to help employees deal with depression, anxiety, grief, financial, legal support and much more.  The employer can also utilize an EAP to help deal with issues facing the business such as coaching and guidance, an employer newsletter, and trauma response for assistance dealing with a critical incident that is affecting your workforce..

 

GROUP RETIREMENT PLAN

Group Retirement Plans give your employees the ability to save for the future through payroll deduction. Your employees will benefit from tax savings at source, reduced investment management fees, and access to investment fund managers that they may not have access to as an individual investor. Employers can elect the degree to which they match the contributions of their employees. Group Retirement Plans that we recommend include:

Group RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan)

The Group RRSP offers the benefit of pre-tax payroll deduction contributions, so employees get an immediate tax break every time they contribute. They can contribute up to their RRSP limit each year. With earnings and contributions fully tax-sheltered until withdrawn, this is an ideal way to save for retirement.

Group Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA)

A Group TFSA doesn’t provide a tax deduction up front, but it does provide a multi-purpose savings vehicle in which all investment earnings are tax-sheltered. Since TFSA withdrawals are tax free, members can re-contribute in a subsequent year, any amount they withdraw, without penalty – it can be an ideal way to save for any goal.

Deferred Profit Sharing Plan (DPSP)

The DPSP rewards employees for their role in the financial success of the business. The employer can share business profits with employees by contributing to the DPSP on each employee’s behalf. Contributions can vary year to year depending on company results. Significant shareholders or family members are not eligible to enroll in a DPSP however these members are eligible to enroll in the RRSP and TFSA. DPSPs are subject to maximum contribution limits set by CRA.

Defined Contribution and Defined Benefit Pension Plans

Defined Contribution Pension Plan

A defined contribution pension plan requires specific or defined contributions by the employer. Contributions may also be required from employees or offered on an optional basis to employees. All contributions are deposited in a pension fund to accumulate investment earnings until retirement. The amount of retirement benefit that will be available for the employee is not guaranteed and can be negatively or positively influenced by interest rates and investment returns.

Defined Benefit Contribution Plan

In a defined Benefit Pension Plan, an employer agrees to provide a specific level of retirement pension. The amount of retirement income may be expressed either as a fixed-dollar or percentage-of-earnings amount. The retirement income benefit available may increase with years of seniority at the company. With defined benefit pension plans the company assume financial risks for funding the pension including those associated with interest rate and investment rates of return.

Thinking about benefits or have a benefits question you would like answered?

Contact Us Today!

t: 613 546-2282
toll free:1-844-546-2282
e: info@bcpbenefits.com