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

Category Archives: Public Sector Plans

Subscribe to Public Sector Plans RSS Feed

Big Changes for Alberta Public Sector Pension Plans

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

On April 16, 2014, the government of Alberta tabled Bill 9, Public Sector Pension Plans Amendment Act, 2014 (Bill 9), which proposes significant changes to public sector pension plans in Alberta. In this blog post, I will discuss proposed changes that, if passed, will impact the Management Employees Pension Plan (MEPP), Local Authorities Pension Plan… Continue Reading

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

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

Ontario Latest Jurisdiction to Announce Changes to Public Sector Employee Benefits

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

Earlier this week, the Ontario government announced that it would be making changes to its post-retirement benefit program in order to “bring the Ontario Public Service retiree benefits in line with other public sector organizations”. First, the government intends to increase the eligibility period for retiree benefits. Members who do not have 10 years of… 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 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.

Ratansi: Court Clarifies Treatment of Employees Who Are Transferred as Part of Transaction

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Legislation & Regulations, Public Sector Plans, Sale of Business

The Ontario Divisional Court’s recent judgment in Ontario Pension Board v. Ratansi has overturned an earlier decision of the Financial Services Tribunal and restored an understanding established by previous Tribunal precedents. Employees who have transferred to a new employer as a part of a sale of business or divestment are not entitled to receive pension… 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 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 Government Announces Consultation with Public Sector Plans

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

Following up on its 2012 budget, the Ontario government announced that it will begin consultations on a new legislative framework for jointly sponsored public sector pension plans (JSPPs). As the government indicated previously, their focus is to make public sector pension plans "more sustainable for members and more affordable for taxpayers.” In addition, the Ontario… 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

New Brunswick Court Rules on Proposed Amendments to Eliminate Indexing

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Plan Administration, Public Sector Plans

As a result of today’s difficult economic times, many employers are evaluating their retirement programs and considering how they can reduce benefits. The decision of the New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench in Quinn v. New Brunswick (Minister of Finance) contains guidance on the common law analysis to be applied when considering a potential option… Continue Reading

Ontario Court of Appeal Reminds Those Communicating with Plan Members of Fiduciary Duties

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Plan Administration, Public Sector Plans

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.

Reduction of Supplementary Death Benefits Based on Age Does Not Infringe Charter

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Plan Administration, Public Sector Plans

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

Ontario Announces Temporary Solvency Funding Relief for Public Sector Plans

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

Late last week, the Ontario government announced that it would provide temporary solvency funding relief to certain public sector and broader public sector (BPS) pension plans. Obtaining such relief, however, will not be an easy matter. The government has made it clear that in an effort to ensure that these plans are sustainable in the… Continue Reading

Supreme Court of Canada to Consider Whether Pension Plan Benefits Based on Age are Contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Plan Administration, Public Sector Plans

Later this month, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear an appeal from the British Columbia Court of Appeal’s decision in Withler v. Canada. The issue in Withler is whether a supplementary death benefit under a pension plan that is reduced for every year the plan member’s age exceeds a specified age violates the right… Continue Reading