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

Category Archives: Regulator Policies & Communications

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CAPSA Releases Final Guideline re DC Plans – Plan Administrators May Need to “Up Their Game” Regarding Communication of De-Accumulation Options

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, DC Plans, Regulator Policies & Communications

On March 28, 2014, the Canadian Association of Pension Supervisory Authorities (CAPSA) released the Defined Contribution (DC) Pension Plans Guideline (CAPSA previously released a draft for comment in July 2012). While CAPSA’s guidelines do not have the force of law, these guidelines may be used as a benchmark by the courts and/or regulators to assess… Continue Reading

Régie Des Rentes Releases Unfavourable Position on Margins for Adverse Deviations

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

Effective December 31, 2010, revisions were made by the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) to its Standards of Practice – Practice-Specific Standards for Pension Plans. In particular, the revised CIA Standards of Practice now provide that assumptions for going concern valuations are either best estimates or best estimates modified to incorporate margins for adverse deviations… Continue Reading

Alberta Extends Solvency Funding Relief

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, DB Plan Funding, Legislation & Regulations, Regulator Policies & Communications

Following up on the solvency funding relief for Alberta specified multi-employer pension plans (SMEPPs) which was passed last year, the Alberta government recently amended the Employment Pension Plans Regulation to also provide solvency funding relief to defined benefit plans which are not SMEPPs. Notably, the regulation does not require any form of member consent, or… 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

CAPSA Releases Draft Guideline re DC Plans

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, DC Plans, Regulator Policies & Communications

In an effort to provide further guidance to administrators of defined contribution (DC) pension plans, the Canadian Association of Pension Supervisory Authorities (CAPSA) has released a draft “Defined Contribution Pension Plans Guideline” (the Guideline) for comment. The Guideline is intended to supplement existing CAPSA guidelines (i.e., Guideline No. 3 – Capital Accumulation Plans, Guideline No…. Continue Reading

FSCO to Make Electronic Filing Mandatory

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Plan Administration, Regulator Policies & Communications

In March of 2010, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) launched its Pension Services Portal (PSP), which enables plan administrators to file Annual Information Returns, Investment Information Summaries, Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund Assessment Certificates, Pension Plan/Fund Financial Statements, Actuarial Information Summaries, and Actuarial Valuation Reports electronically.  Last week, FSCO announced that effective January 1, 2013 all of  these… 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

CAPSA Releases Draft Guidelines on Prudence Standard and Funding Policies

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

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

OSFI Releases Guide re Intervention Process

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

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.

Draft FSCO Consultation Policy on Beneficiary Inquiries and Complaints

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Plan Administration, Regulator Policies & Communications

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

FSCO Policy Outlines New Requirements Regarding Pension Plan Records

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Plan Administration, Regulator Policies & Communications

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

New FSCO Policy on Distribution of Partial Wind Up Benefits Remaining in Plan and not Annuitized

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Regulator Policies & Communications, Wind-Ups

On December 2, 2009, the Ontario Financial Services Tribunal released its decision in Imperial Oil which held that pension administrators are not required to purchase annuities in respect of partial wind up benefits remaining in the plan following member portability elections. On June 30, 2010, FSCO posted a new policy (effective March 10, 2010) confirming… Continue Reading

Amendments to Federal DB Funding and Plan Investment Rules Finalized and Regulator Responds

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

On June 25, 2010 the federal government announced that it finalized the amendments to the defined benefit funding provisions and the federal investment rules, which it had released in draft form for comment earlier this year. Most of these amendments to the Pension Benefits Standards Regulations, 1985 come into force on July 1, 2010.

FSCO Moves to Electronic Filing of AIRs

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Plan Administration, Regulator Policies & Communications

The Financial Services Commission of Ontario announced that effective March 31, 2010 pension plan administrators will be able to file Annual Information Returns (AIRs) electronically. The electronic filing method will be optional in that plan administrators will still be permitted to file AIRs in paper format should they so chose.

CAPSA Consultation Update – Prudence Standard in Pension Plan Funding and Investments

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Investments, Plan Administration, Regulator Policies & Communications

As I discussed in an earlier post, the Canadian Association of Pension Supervisory Authorities recently published a consultation paper entitled “The Prudence Standard and the Roles of the Plan Sponsor and Plan Administrator in Pension Plan Funding and Investment” (PDF). The comment period for the paper – which provides helpful guidance to pension plan sponsors and… Continue Reading

FSCO Attempts to Address Delays in Processing DB Plan Applications, but Legislative Reform Also Required

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Pension Reform, Regulator Policies & Communications, Surplus, Wind-Ups

In January 2010, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) released a consultation paper outlining proposals to streamline the regulatory review process for defined benefit (DB) applications (PDF). The proposals outlined in the most recent paper – an earlier consultation process had taken place in the spring of 2009 – are designed to lead to more… Continue Reading

FSCO Proposed Policy on Record Retention Will Impose New Obligations on Plan Administrators

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Plan Administration, Regulator Policies & Communications

If you are responsible for the day-to-day administration of a pension plan, you should take the time to review a consultation policy on record retention released by FSCO just before the holidays. Why should you be concerned? Because the consultation policy imposes new obligations on plan administrators that will affect the day-to-day operations of all pension… Continue Reading

CAPSA Releases Consultation Paper on Prudence Standard and Roles of Plan Sponsor and Administrator in Pension Plan Funding and Investment

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, Investments, Plan Administration, Regulator Policies & Communications

The Canadian Association of Pension Supervisory Authorities (CAPSA) recently published a consultation paper entitled “The Prudence Standard and the Roles of the Plan Sponsor and Plan Administrator in Pension Plan Funding and Investment” (PDF). The paper provides helpful guidance to pension plan sponsors and administrators regarding the regulators’ view of best practices for pension plan… Continue Reading

Comments on OSFI’s Draft DC Disclosure Guidelines Due by Year End

Posted in Canada Pensions & Benefits Law, DC Plans, Regulator Policies & Communications

It is common knowledge that pension legislation was drafted with defined benefit pension plans in mind and does not deal adequately with defined contribution pension plans.  Until recently, the only regulatory guidance for DC plan sponsors was the CAPSA Guidelines for Capital Accumulation Plans (PDF) (CAP Guidelines).  Now DC plan sponsors will have another resource – the Disclosure Guideline for… Continue Reading

FSCO Provides Guidance on Commuted Value Transfers

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

Earlier this year, the Ontario government amended the regulations under the Ontario Pension Benefits Act to provide sponsors of defined benefit plans with temporary relief from current solvency funding pressures.  Included in these amendments was a permanent change to section 19 of the regulations, which now requires a plan administrator to seek the prior approval of the Superintendent… Continue Reading