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Pensions & Benefits Law A Discussion of Canadian and U.S./Cross-Border Pension & Benefit Legal Issues

Federal Bill C-47 Receives Royal Assent

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, DC Plans, Investments, Legislation & Regulations, Pension Reform, Plan Administration

The federal government announced that Bill C-47, which included another round of pension reform, received royal assent yesterday.

As discussed in a prior post, Bill C-47 follows up on the Bill C-9 amendments to the federal Pension Benefits Standards Act (the PBSA) that were passed earlier this year. Perhaps the most interesting are amendments which purport to provide defined contribution plan administrators with a limited form of “safe harbour” from liability related to member directed plan investments. Bill C-47 also included the following amendments to the PBSA:

  • authorizing the Minister of Finance to designate an entity for the purposes of receiving, holding and disbursing the pension benefit credit of any person who cannot be located;
  • permitting plan information to be provided in electronic form;
  • providing rules regarding negotiated contribution plans;
  • requiring consent of a member’s spouse or common-law partner before the transfer of the member’s pension benefit credit to a retirement savings plan;
  • authorizing the Minister of Finance to enter into an agreement with the provinces respecting multi-jurisdictional pension plans; and
  • authorizing the Superintendent to direct the administrator of a pension plan that is subject to the pension legislation of more than one jurisdiction to establish a separate pension plan for certain members, former members and survivors.

With the passing of these amendments to the PBSA (and the publication of draft amendments to the Pension Benefits Standards Regulations earlier this week – which will be discussed in a future blog post) the federal government will have completed much of the reforms that it had originally announced in October of 2009.