A Steadfast Vision: 2022 highlights

UPP is pleased to share our 2022 Annual Report, marking our first full operational year as your pension provider. The Plan maintained a healthy funding position, staying well-equipped to pay members’ pensions today and over the long term.

Barbara Zvan
President and Chief Executive Officer

I am pleased to share our second annual report, with reflections and highlights from UPP’s first full operating year. As we continue to establish UPP as a trusted plan for Ontario’s university sector, our utmost priority is, as always, ensuring our members have a sustainable and predictable pension to rely on. Our annual report provides an important opportunity to share progress against our short- and long-term objectives and transparency into our decisions as we deliver on our promise of pension security for members today and tomorrow.

Gale Rubenstein
Board Chair
As Chair of UPP’s Board of Trustees, I am pleased to share UPP’s second annual report, delivered as UPP marks our first full year of operations as Ontario’s newest jointly sponsored pension plan. UPP is a plan designed specifically for its sector, providing best-in-class retirement benefits while meeting the needs of university employers and employees alike—with stability and security being foremost among those needs.
All figures reported in this document are as at Dec. 31, 2022.

Plan performance

UPP’s portfolio posted a 9.1% net loss in 2022, outperforming median defined benefit pension returns in Canada by 3.3%*. The performance primarily reflects UPP’s transitional portfolio state amid the strained macroeconomic environment.

While we never want to incur negative returns, our focus is sustainable long-term performance and a well-funded Plan that delivers benefit and contribution rate stability through time. Despite last year’s market challenges, the Plan maintained a healthy funding and liquidity position, staying well-equipped to pay members’ pensions over the long term and agile to investment opportunities as markets evolve.

In 2022, we maintained a strong focus on completing the foundation of our investment approach, putting the building blocks in place to ensure our portfolio meets the needs of members today and in the years ahead.

*Based on a sampling of public sources, the annual average net return among Canadian DB pension plans in 2022 was -12.4% (RBC Investor & Treasury Services, January 2023, reporting -10.3%; Northern Trust Pension Universe Data, January 2023, reporting -12.8%; Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario Quarterly Update on Estimated Solvency Funded Status of Defined Benefit Pension Plans in Ontario, December 2022, reporting -14.1% for plans subject to solvency funding).
0 %
Funding surplus*
$ 0 B

*On a smoothed asset basis

university and affiliate organizations
NEW participating organizations in 2022


While the recent economic conditions are challenging, there is no impact to your pension, or the security of your pension. Under a defined benefit pension plan, your pension is based on a formula, not annual investment returns.

Our commitment is to deliver retirement peace of mind to our members—and we remain in an excellent position to do just that.

To that end, member and employer contribution rates were unchanged in 2022, and retired members, survivors, and dependents in pay received an inflation protection increase to the post-conversion portion of their pensions of 4.75% at January 1, 2023, helping them keep pace with rising prices. Together, these measures of stability reinforce the strength of a defined benefit pension in both certain and uncertain times.

$551 million

in pension benefits paid


inflation protection increase for retired members, survivors, and dependents to the UPP portion of their pensions

Building a progressive, member-driven service model

A modern, digitally enabled Pension Administration Solution (PAS) is a cornerstone of our commitment to provide proactive, personalized service to members and participating organizations.

To deliver best-in-class service and build the right solutions, we first needed to understand what excellence meant to members. Following a two-part member engagement series throughout 2021 and 2022 to better understand the expectations, values, and priorities of our members, we selected Vitech as our partner in creating a secure, digitally enabled PAS with state-of-the-art systems, tools, and self-service features.

The design and implementation of UPP’s PAS will roll out in multiple phases over the coming years, led by a dedicated project team.

Responsible investing

At UPP, we firmly believe in the power of stewardship as a lever for value creation, risk management, and improved corporate practices.

Our stewardship involves direct and collaborative engagement with investee companies and external investment managers, supporting sound public company governance through proxy voting, and advocating for sustainable public policy and market standards.

In UPP’s inaugural voting year of
2022, we voted on:

We voted on 202 shareholder proposals to drive stronger practices and accountability on important ESG topics:
Progressing against our Climate Action Plan
In 2022, UPP published our Climate Action Plan, detailing our commitment and path to net-zero portfolio emissions by 2040 or sooner, with an emphasis on decarbonizing the real economy. Our Action Plan speaks to two deeply connected objectives for UPP: growing a strong, resilient fund that secures retirement benefits for our members today and far into the future, and investing in a stable, healthy world for our members to retire into.


GHG emissions by


or sooner

2022 carbon footprint

To track our progress, we annually calculate and report our portfolio carbon footprint, which is an analysis of the emissions associated with our investments*.

Much like investment returns, carbon footprints are driven by a number of factors that can drive short-term fluctuations. That’s why we keep a dual focus on decarbonizing both our portfolio and the real economy, with strong transparency along the way.


reduction in carbon footprint since base year (2021)*


reduction in total carbon emissions since base year (2021)
*We are committed to continuously improving the quality of our data and methodology for determining our carbon footprint. In 2022, we revised our process to estimate with greater accuracy the GHG emissions of investee companies that do not disclose this data. To maintain comparability in our year-over-year reporting and the integrity of our targets, we have restated our 2021 footprint under the revised methodology, which resulted in an 8% decrease in our 2021 baseline intensity and a 7% decrease in 2021 baseline total carbon emissions.
Employee survey results
employees agree that our workplace is diverse and inclusive, and see that commitment in action each day
of employees say they are proud to work for UPP (12% above best-in-class benchmark)
0 %+

Life at upp

Each person at UPP contributes their experiences, knowledge, and skills to our vision, working together to help bring retirement peace of mind to members today, and those to come.

We believe that supporting people to do their best work benefits everyone and are creating an intentional culture where all employees feel embraced, rewarded, and empowered to perform at their peak.

To help us shape our employee experience and workplace culture, we launched our inaugural employee engagement and culture surveys in 2022. Our Intentional Culture Survey assessed the core values and behaviours of our organization today and those we believe are important for future success. Our Employee Engagement Survey provided a forum where employees shared their experiences and insights about working at UPP.

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Reconciliation at UPP

Together, we at UPP are shaping an inclusive workplace built on collaboration and respect for one another and the world around us.

Our Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Reconciliation (EDI & Reconciliation) program and three-year roadmap are the blueprints for our inclusive, respectful working environment and our way of honouring the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #92.

Our roadmap is rooted in our belief that diverse teams, perspectives, and lived experiences spark better decisions and outcomes, new thinking, and a thriving work environment—all essential foundations to strong performance.

For more information on our results, download the full report



We are always looking for ways to improve your experience. Please tell us about your experience below.

Your responses will be kept confidential. To protect your privacy, please do not enter your account or personal information.

Customize your experience through accessibility adjustments