Pension e-news

September 25, 2015

The Path Forward to Next Generation and the New Employer Portal

Employers' needs were a key factor in selecting May 30 as the Go Live date for the Employer Portal.

APS consulted a number of employers to create a timeline that would minimize the impact on employer operations. For instance, last year almost 60 per cent of the well over 600,000 employer transactions were carried out in the First Quarter - at the same time as employers prepare T4s and finalize year-end functions such as budgets and reporting.

Suffice to say that, regardless of the benefits of the new system, we didn't want to make the transition a difficult experience.

APS is confident the new project timeline will ensure a quality experience for employers and members at Go Live. We're working with you to ensure you are ready to use the new portal and will have support systems in place to help after Go Live.

Here are some key dates to keep in mind in 2016:

  • March 25 - APS's Go / No Go Quality checkpoint.
  • April 4 - Employer training begins.
  • May 20 - System freeze begins.
  • May 30 - Go Live.
  • June - Go Live (exact date to be determined).

Troy Diakow,
Executive Director, APS Client Services

Benefits of the New Employer Portal

The new Employer Portal provides increased flexibility, greater control of information and supports multiple formats that gives you better data handling.

  • 1. You choose how you want to report your information to APS: As simple as cutting and pasting information from your payroll to an Excel spreadsheet and uploading it to the Employer Portal, to using a single entry form, or a UTF file, or a combination of all three—the choice will be yours.
  • 2. Submit all of your transactions together: You’ll be able to send a year-end, retro payments, leaves of absences and variable pay in a single file.
  • 3. Work on groups of transactions: If there is an error in a group of transactions, a total view will help identify and fix errors. You will also be able to update multiple records at the same time.
  • 4. Own your employee information: Errors or anomalies in employee information will be flagged. The new system will provide greater ability to identify the flagged errors and gives you the choice of correcting an information or process supported by an explanation reflecting your organization’s specific circumstances.
  • 5. Access employee information: You’ll be able to obtain detailed information on optional service accounts, including balances and projected interest costs. This at-a-glance ability for employers to access member information benefits both employers and employees. Employers will no longer have to contact APS for this information.
  • 6. Reporting: The new portal provides multiple ways to pull reports off the system, including CSV.

Year-End Reminder

The 2015 year-end reconciliation is quickly approaching. As you have read, data is being frozen on May 17th to allow for a conversion period. It is important to ensure your year-end is reconciled and closed before this time. APS is recommending April 30th as the last possible closure date to allow a full two weeks before data is frozen to clean up any in-year transactions.

APS realizes that, for the vast majority of employers, this poses no issues and it will be business as usual. However, it is important to begin working with your Employer Services representative today, and start planning for year-end. APS encourages employers to test their data prior to final submission, to assist with identifying and correcting any existing issues, which may delay year-end processing.

Do you have new employees who are not familiar with the year-end reconciliation, or someone who needs a refresher? Contact your employer services representative.

You can also watch for additional FAQs in the coming weeks which will give employers tips about best practices for the year-end reconciliation.

Employer Training Sessions

Dates and locations for the fall employer workshops have been posted.

This training will cover:
Year-end preparation.
A "sneak peek" at the Employer Portal.
All sessions start at 9:00 AM and end at 4:00 PM. For more information and to sign up, please log on to EOS now.

  • Athabasca - Oct 29
  • Calgary - Nov 5 & 12
  • Edmonton South - Nov 10, 16 & 26
  • Edmonton West - Nov 24
  • Fort McMurray - Oct 27
  • Grand Prairie - Sept. 29 & 30
  • High Level - Oct. 21
  • Lethbridge - Oct 14 & 15
  • Peace River - Oct. 6
  • Red Deer - Nov. 3 & 4
  • Sherwood Park - Nov. 25

Member One-on-One Sessions

Members nearing a pension-related life event, such as a retirement or termination from their plan, can inquire about booking a one-on-one information session with a pension specialist.

  • Red Deer - Provincial Building, 4th floor, 4920 - 51 St. - MacKenzie room - Oct. 6,7 or 8
  • Grande Prairie - Provincial Building, 3rd Floor 10320 - 99 st. room 1903 - Oct 8
  • Lethbridge - Provincial Building, Room 251, 200 - 5th Ave So. - Oct 13, 14, or 15
  • Calgary - Holiday Inn - calgary Airport, 1250 McKinnon Drive NE, Alpha Room - Oct 20, 21, or 22
  • Edmonton - Peace Hills Trust Tower, 6th flood, meeting room 6C - Dec 8,9 or 10