Plan fiduciaries and ERISA litigators got a few surprises in a recent United States Supreme Court decision on whether participants can be awarded benefits promised to them in plan communications, but not in the plan document. The decision, CIGNA v. Amara, has been described as a victory for plan sponsors by defense counsel and as… Continue Reading
The recent Federal Court decision in Canada (Attorney General) v. Aéroport de Québec inc. will serve as a reminder to employers that there may only be a relatively short window of time to challenge decisions rendered by pension regulators. Failure to act within that period can prevent an employer from successfully challenging the decision at… Continue Reading
The Ontario government’s reform of the law governing pension division on marriage breakdown appears to finally be moving forward with the release of long-awaited draft regulations. Reform of the marriage breakdown provisions in the Ontario Pension Benefits Act (PBA) began with the passing of Bill 133, the Family Statute Law Amendment Act, 2009, on May… Continue Reading
Another recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal, in Ault v. Canada, has continued the trend in jurisprudence to hold plan administrators and others who are responsible for communicating with pension plan members to a very high fiduciary standard, including a legal duty to disclose accurate information about the implications of any elections made by members.
Even though post-retirement benefit (PRB) plans are not the same as registered pension plans, and are not subject to pension standards legislation, the recent arbitration decision in Regional Municipality (Durham) v. Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 1764 is an important reminder to both employers and employees that benefits under pension plans and PRB plans… Continue Reading
In this week’s Budget announcement, the Ontario government confirmed that work continues on its pension reform initiatives. While a number of the government’s announcements focus on the administration, investment and funding of single and multi-employer pension plans, the government also reiterated its desire to make changes at the “macro” level through support of modest phased… Continue Reading
As we reported in an earlier post, the Canadian Association of Pension Supervisory Authorities (CAPSA) published a consultation paper in late 2009 entitled “The Prudence Standard and the Roles of the Plan Sponsor and Plan Administrator in Pension Plan Funding and Investment”. Following up on this consultation paper, CAPSA recently released draft guidelines on funding… Continue Reading
The Supreme Court of Canada has affirmed decisions by the British Columbia Supreme Court and Court of Appeal that provisions of the Public Service Superannuation Act (PSSA) and the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act (CFSA), which reduce a supplementary death benefit (SDB) based on the member’s age at the time of death, do not infringe section 15… Continue Reading
Where contributions to pension or group benefit plans are based on an employee’s earning or hours worked, at first blush it seems attractive to argue that if the employee is on an unpaid leave of absence, the employer has no contribution obligation. Three recent arbitration decisions have rejected this argument – Employees of the Hunter… Continue Reading
The New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench decision in Tower Estate v. Tower Estate serves as yet another reminder that a prescribed written beneficiary designation trumps other less specific documents purporting to revoke or substitute a named beneficiary.
The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) recently released the “Guide to Intervention for Federally Regulated Private Pension Plans” (the Guide), which outlines the varying degrees of scrutiny that federally regulated plan administrators can expect from OSFI and the circumstances under which intervention measures may be taken.
In King v. King, Mr. King, a former member of a registered pension plan sought a declaration that his former wife had waived her entitlement to a survivor’s pension. The Court dismissed Mr. King’s application. Shortly after their separation, Mr. and Mrs. King entered into a separation agreement, which contained a general pension release, providing,… Continue Reading
In an apparent effort to improve plan transparency, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) has released a consultation policy to clarify a plan administrator’s responsibilities when responding to and managing inquiries and complaints from plan beneficiaries (Policy). In addition to providing information already contained in the Pension Benefits Act (Ontario) (PBA) and other FSCO… Continue Reading
A few recent cases have highlighted the importance of setting up appropriate governance and oversight processes to select and monitor plan investments. This is particularly true in the current era of underfunded pension plans, where the investment of plan assets may come under greater scrutiny. In one of these cases, which is still pending before… Continue Reading
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… Continue Reading
Yesterday Bill 120, Securing Pension Benefits Now and for the Future Act, 2010, received royal assent. As discussed in previous posts (see October 22, October 29 and December 6, 2010 posts), Bill 120 made a number of significant changes to the Ontario Pension Benefits Act, including:
Last week, the Ontario government moved forward with its reform of the province’s pension system with the introduction of Bill 120, the Securing Pension Benefits Now and for the Future Act, 2010. Bill 120 follows the first stage of pension reform, Bill 236, which received royal assent earlier this year. (Please see our May 20, 2010… Continue Reading
On September 30, 2010, the federal government introduced Bill C-47, which makes further amendments in conjunction with this year’s budget, including another round of pension reform amendments. Among these, perhaps the most interesting are the amendments which purport to provide defined contribution (DC) plan administrators with a limited form of “safe harbour” from liability related… Continue Reading
The St. Marys Cement and United Steelworkers Local 9235 decision by a labour relations arbitrator may provide some comfort to employers who sponsor collectively bargained pension plans, since the arbitrator in that decision held that an employer’s ability to amend a pension plan is not necessarily restricted simply because the pension plan is incorporated by… Continue Reading
Bill 236, the first stage of pension reform in Ontario, included amendments to the advisory committee provisions in the Pension Benefits Act. The amendments appear to be aimed at increasing the involvement of pension plan members in plan administration and are directed primarily at single employer plans. Although these provisions are not yet in force,… Continue Reading
Earlier this year, we did a post on the Financial Services Commission of Ontario’s (FSCO) consultation policy on pension record-keeping . FSCO has recently released the final version of this policy, “Management and Retention of Pension Plan Records by the Administrator” (the Policy). The Policy is important reading for pension plan administrators as it imposes… Continue Reading
As we mentioned in an earlier blog post, Bill 236, the Pension Benefits Amendment Act, 2010, received Royal Assent on May 18, 2010. While not yet in force, sections 23 and 24 of the Bill provide for immediate vesting of pension benefits, as compared to the current 2-year vesting period for post-reform benefits (post-1986 service),… Continue Reading
Bill 236, Pension Benefits Amendment Act, 2010, received royal assent on May 18, 2010. As discussed in previous posts (from April 21, 2010 and December 10, 2009) Bill 236 makes a number of significant changes to the Ontario Pension Benefits Act, including: eliminating partial wind-ups; introducing immediate vesting; extending “Rule of 55” grow-in benefits to… Continue Reading
Following several days of public hearings and receipt of many written submissions, on April 19, 2010 the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs reported on Ontario Bill 236, Pension Benefits Amendment Act, 2010, making a number of amendments to the Bill. Probably the most significant change in the revised version of the Bill, which… Continue Reading