Employer pension plans saw strong growth in the fourth quarter, according to new data from Statistics Canada.
The market value of employer pensions rose by $100 billion in Q4 to $2.2 trillion — up 4.7% from the previous quarter and 6.6% year over year.
Public sector pensions saw the strongest growth, with assets increasing by $86.6 billion, up 5.9% from the previous quarter and 6.5% year over year.
Private sector pensions, meanwhile, saw assets grow 2.1% from the previous quarter and 7% from Q4 2020.
The value of foreign investments outpaced domestic investments in Q4, StatsCan reported.
Foreign investments grew 9.5% in the quarter, reaching $781 billion thanks to strong returns in foreign equities (+18.4%) and pooled assets (+6.2%).
Domestic assets grew 2.3% during the quarter, buoyed by positive returns in real estate (+4%) and also pooled assets (+2%).
Pension contributions were up 11.1% in the quarter, with employee contributions (+13.9%) outpacing employer contributions (+9.5%).
Total pension expenditures were up 8.7% year over year, reaching $29.9 billion in Q4. This was driven largely by withdrawals (up 182.1%) and pension payments (up 9.2%), which together accounted for 83.3% of expenditures in the quarter.