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

Category Archives: Conversions

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Federal Framework for Target Benefit Plans vs. New Brunswick’s Shared Risk Model: Similarities and Differences

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Conversions, Innovation & Plan Design, Target Benefit Plans

By: Jana Steele and Laura Stefan On April 24, 2014, the federal government released a consultation paper proposing a framework for target benefit plans (TBP), and seeking input from stakeholders on the parameters of the proposed TBP framework. The government’s initiative would incorporate TBP provisions into the federal Pensions Benefits Standards Act, and would make… Continue Reading

Ontario Government Committed to Improving Pensions Through Extensive and Innovative Measures

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

By:  Jana Steele, Paul Litner and Lesha VanDerBij The 21st century workforce needs a modern retirement income system, but Ontario and Canada have a 20th century system in place. That is why Ontario is taking a leadership role in addressing this pressing issue. On May 1st, the Ontario government presented its Budget for 2014 (the… Continue Reading

Federal Government Announces Target Benefit Plan Consultation

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Conversions, De-Risking, Innovation & Plan Design, Target Benefit Plans

Earlier today, the Minister of State (Finance), Kevin Sorenson, announced that the federal government is launching consultations on a potential federal framework for Target Benefit Plans, or TBPs. TBPs would be a new, voluntary, sustainable and flexible pension option available to federally regulated private sector employers and Crown Corporations. The government followed up the announcement… Continue Reading

The ABC’s of Target Benefit Plans – Part II

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Conversions, DB Plan Funding, De-Risking, Innovation & Plan Design, Target Benefit Plans

This is my second blog post in a series regarding target benefit plans (TBPs) (for Part I, which provides a general overview of TBPs, see my March 10, 2014 post). In this post I will focus on New Brunswick, as the first jurisdiction that has implemented comprehensive target benefit legislation. In 2012, New Brunswick introduced… Continue Reading

Financial Services Tribunal Finds Halliburton Does Not Apply in Ontario

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Conversions, Legislation & Regulations

Many in the legal community (myself included) have felt for years that the Alberta pension regulator and the Alberta courts got it wrong in Halliburton when they concluded that the employer was precluded from implementing a “hard” freeze on defined benefits (i.e., freezing both service and earnings) when converting to a defined contribution (DC) formula… Continue Reading

Update on Reducing Benefits in Federal DB Pension Plans

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Conversions, Regulator Policies & Communications

On July 19, 2012 OSFI issued its final Instruction Guide – Authorization of Amendments Reducing Benefits in Defined Benefit Pension Plans, which replaced the previous April 2006 version. The Guide sets out the factors and specific requirements (e.g., valid amending power – unilateral or mutual by affected groups, legislative compliance, options considered, plan viability and… Continue Reading

Pension Plan Restructuring (Part I)

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Conversions, DB Plan Funding, Wind-Ups

These days, many plan sponsors are looking to exit the defined benefit (DB) world – largely for the following reasons:  they want to cut benefit funding and administration costs, as market volatility and low interest rates drive up solvency deficits and make planning more difficult; to achieve better planning and budgeting by making pension liabilities… Continue Reading

Incorporation of Pension Plan Into Collective Agreement Did Not Preclude Unilateral Plan Amendment

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Conversions, Plan Administration

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

Transition from DB to DC Platform can be Risky Business for Employers and Services Providers

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Conversions

Sponsors of defined benefit (DB) pension plans transitioning to a defined contribution (DC) platform would be well advised to carefully consider how they communicate the change to their employees. The claim made by plan members in Dawson v. Tolko Industries Ltd. confirms the potential legal pitfalls associated with programs offering members the option to move… Continue Reading