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

Category Archives: Pension Reform

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New Brunswick Reforms MLAs Pensions to Shared Risk

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, De-Risking, Innovation & Plan Design, Pension Reform, Public Sector Plans, Target Benefit Plans

On March 26, 2014, the New Brunswick legislature introduced for first reading Bill 51, An Act Respecting Members’ Pensions, which proposes to move Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) to the shared risk pension plan currently available for other public sector employees in New Brunswick. (As discussed in a prior blog post, New Brunswick recently… Continue Reading

Quebec Releases Draft Voluntary Retirement Savings Plan Regulations

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, DC Plans, Innovation & Plan Design, Pension Reform

On March 12, 2014, the Quebec government released draft regulations (pdf) that are required to complete the new legal framework for the establishment of voluntary retirement savings plans (VRSPs) in Quebec effective July 1, 2014. The Quebec government adopted Bill 39 (the VRSP Act) last December, which defines the main characteristics of the VRSP design. One… Continue Reading

Restructuring Pensions in Quebec’s Municipal Sector: Hints of Private Sector Reform to Come?

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, DB Plan Funding, Pension Reform, Public Sector Plans

As was expected, the Quebec government recently tabled Bill 79, An Act to provide for the restructuring of and make other amendments to municipal defined benefit plans, which is aimed at improving the sustainability of defined benefit pension plans in the municipal sector. This Bill is one of the steps that were announced in the… Continue Reading

Federal Budget 2014 Includes Pension Changes for Public Sector Employees

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Pension Reform, Public Sector Plans, Target Benefit Plans

Yesterday’s federal budget demonstrates that, like many of its provincial counterparts, the federal government is looking for cost savings in its employees’ compensation arrangements. Federal Budget In an effort to ensure that “public service employee compensation is reasonable and affordable, as well as aligned with that offered by other public and private employers”, the federal… Continue Reading

Quebec’s New Pension Reform Proposals: Effective Solutions in the Works?

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, DB Plan Funding, Innovation & Plan Design, Pension Reform, Public Sector Plans, Target Benefit Plans

As in many other jurisdictions in Canada, Quebec’s pension landscape is in the midst of significant change driven by the issues of pension coverage, adequacy and sustainability. Notable highlights for 2013 included: the release of a report by the pension expert committee mandated to analyze the state of Quebec’s retirement income system and to make… Continue Reading

New Brunswick Proposes Public Sector Changes

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Innovation & Plan Design, Legislation & Regulations, Pension Reform, Public Sector Plans, Target Benefit Plans

On November 19, 2013, the Province of New Brunswick introduced for First Reading, An Act Respecting Pensions under the Public Service Superannuation Act (the Act). Under the Act, the Public Service Superannuation Act (PSSA) will be repealed and the pension plan under the PSSA will be converted to a shared risk plan in accordance with… Continue Reading

Public Sector Pension Reform Includes Retirees

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Innovation & Plan Design, Pension Reform, Public Sector Plans, Target Benefit Plans

Reform of Canada’s public sector pension plans is no longer limited to active employees – increasingly governments are willing to address expensive components of retiree pensions as a part of their reform initiatives. Most recently, Prince Edward Island announced that, beginning in 2017, it would only grant cost of living adjustments (COLA) to its public… Continue Reading

Ontario Releases Draft Asset Transfer Regulations

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Legislation & Regulations, Pension Reform, Sale of Business

On July 2, 2013, Ontario’s Ministry of Finance released for public comment draft regulations that would give life to the new pension asset transfer provisions in Ontario’s Pension Benefits Act (PBA) that were inserted in the PBA three years ago – on May 18, 2010 (through Bill 236) – but have yet to be proclaimed… Continue Reading

Pooled Registered Pension Plans – Status Update

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Innovation & Plan Design, Pension Reform

To address concerns about pension coverage in Canada, the federal government introduced the concept of the pooled registered pension plan (PRPP) in late 2011 through Bill C-25, the Pooled Registered Pension Plan Act (PRPP Act). The PRPP is intended to provide a “low cost” and accessible retirement savings vehicle for Canadians who do not currently… Continue Reading

Ontario Budget 2013 – More Pension Reform to Come

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Family Law Issues, Innovation & Plan Design, Legislation & Regulations, Pension Reform, Public Sector Plans, Target Benefit Plans

In today’s budget, the Ontario government announced that it is continuing with its pension reform agenda, but it is not all “old news”. Perhaps of most interest to employers and plan administrators will be the government’s intention to review the implications of the recent Carrigan case and its expanded interest in alternative plan designs.

Expert Committee Pressing for Pension Reform in Quebec

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, DB Plan Funding, Pension Reform

Back in the fall of 2011, an expert committee chaired by Alban D’Amours was mandated by the Quebec government to analyze the state of the Quebec retirement income system and to make recommendations on how to improve it in light of the new economic and demographic realities. The Committee released a voluminous report on April… Continue Reading

Quebec Budget Forecasts Further Pension Reform

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Innovation & Plan Design, Pension Reform

Last month, the Quebec government posted its budget for 2012-2013, which included a number of pension-related items. Expert Committee: The committee tasked with studying Québec’s retirement system, chaired by Alban D’Amours, is expected to table its report in early 2013. The recommendations of the Expert Committee will likely lead to a round of pension reform… Continue Reading

Ontario Pension Plans Will be Permitted to Use Letters of Credit

Posted in DB Plan Funding, Pension Reform

Effective January 1, 2013, certain Ontario employers will be able to use letters of credit to fund their pension plans’ solvency deficiencies. Provisions permitting letters of credit were added to the Ontario Pension Benefits Act (the PBA) in late 2010 when Bill 120 was passed, but they did not come into force pending the publication… Continue Reading

Alberta Introduces New Pension Legislation

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, DB Plan Funding, Innovation & Plan Design, Legislation & Regulations, Pension Reform

Almost four years after the Joint Expert Panel on Pension Standards (JEPPS) submitted its final report with recommendations to fundamentally reform Alberta and British Columbia’s pension systems, the Alberta government has introduced Bill 10, Employment Pension Plans Act. Similar to B.C.’s Bill 38, which was passed earlier this year, Bill 10, if passed, will replace… Continue Reading

Ontario Pension Reforms Come into Force

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Legislation & Regulations, Pension Reform, Plan Administration, Plan Wind-Ups

As of July 1, 2012, a number of amendments to the Ontario Pension Benefits Act (PBA) and related amendments to the general regulation under the PBA were proclaimed in force. Employers and plan administrators should carefully review their plans and their administrative practices to ensure that they continue to be compliant with the PBA, and… Continue Reading

FSCO Instructions for MEPPs & JSPPs Looking to Opt Out of Grow-In Benefits Now

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Pension Reform, Public Sector Plans

The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) has posted information for jointly sponsored pension plans (JSPPs) and multi-employer pension plans (MEPPs) which are planning to opt out of the new grow-in benefit regime. Of particular note, these plans may file notice of their election with the Superintendent of Financial Services before July 1, 2012, though… Continue Reading

Ontario Releases More Draft Pension Regulations: Disclosure Requirements

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

Late last week, the Ontario government released another round of draft regulations. This time the focus is on disclosure of plan related documents to plan members, former members, retired members, and their spouses, as well as other specified persons. They include amendments with respect to the following: plan records to be made available on request… Continue Reading

British Columbia Bill 38 Includes Some Novel Pension Reforms

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, DB Plan Funding, Innovation & Plan Design, Legislation & Regulations, Pension Reform

On April 30, 2012, British Columbia introduced Bill 38, Pension Benefits Standards Act, for first reading. If passed, the current British Columbia Pension Benefits Standards Act (PBSA) would be repealed and replaced in its entirety by Bill 38. Bill 38 marks the first significant amendments to British Columbia’s pension regime since the Joint Expert Panel… Continue Reading

Ontario Releases Long-Awaited Draft Pension Regulations

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Legislation & Regulations, Pension Reform, Plan Wind-Ups, Public Sector Plans, Surplus

Almost two years after passing its initial amendments to the Ontario Pension Benefits Act (the PBA) in Bill 236 and Bill 120, the Ontario government has released the first round of regulations required to implement its pension reform agenda. The regulations, which are in draft form and subject to public consultation, address a number of… Continue Reading

Ontario Budget Bill 55: PBA Amendments

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Legislation & Regulations, Pension Reform

On March 27, 2012, the Ontario government introduced Bill 55, Strong Action for Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2012, for first reading. Schedule 53 of Bill 55 sets out a number of amendments to the Ontario Pension Benefits Act (PBA) which relate to previous amendments that have not yet come into force, including amendments: clarifying entitlement… Continue Reading

Ontario Budget: Implications for Private and Public Sector Pensions

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, DB Plan Funding, Innovation & Plan Design, Legislation & Regulations, Pension Reform, Plan Administration, Public Sector Plans

The Ontario government’s 2012 Budget, released yesterday, includes a number of announcements which will be of interest to administrators of both private and public sector pension plans. Some Good News for Private Sector Employers The government recognized that as a result of ongoing market volatility and low interest rates many private sector defined benefit plans… Continue Reading

OSFI Provides More Guidance re Letters of Credit

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, DB Plan Funding, Pension Reform, Regulator Policies & Communications

Over the past two years we have seen a number of amendments to federal pension legislation with respect to the funding of defined benefit (DB) plans (see April 1, 2010 and December 17, 2010 posts). These reforms include amendments permitting plan sponsors to use letters of credit in lieu of making solvency payments to a… Continue Reading

Quebec Announces Extension of Solvency Funding Relief for DB Plans

Posted in Bankruptcy, Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, DB Plan Funding, Pension Reform

Back in 2009, the Quebec government adopted measures to alleviate the effects of the 2008 financial crisis on the funding of defined benefit (DB) plans. These measures allowed an employer to instruct a plan’s pension committee to implement one or more of the following measures for the first complete actuarial valuation dated after December 30,… Continue Reading