The Ontario government confirmed its commitment to ongoing
pension reform in the 2011 Ontario budget announced on March 29,
2011.1 Several new proposals contained in the budget
build on the pension reforms passed in 2010.
The key proposals include
requiring pension plans to file Statements of Investment
Policies and Procedures (SIP&Ps) with the regulator and
disclose whether or not their SIP&Ps consider environmental,
social or governance factors;
permitting terminating plan members to initiate a direct
transfer of their lumpsum pension entitlement toward the purchase
of a life annuity, if allowed under the terms of their plan;
exploring options to handle the benefits of unlocated members
of plans that are wound up, so that full and partial windups may be
updating regulatory requirements to reflect recent changes to
standards issued by professional bodies, such as new actuarial
standards of practice and the recent adoption of International
Financial Reporting Standards by Canada's Accounting Standards
The government also discussed the concerns of Ontario pensioners
affected by the termination of the Nortel pension plans. Proposed
amendments to the Pension Benefits Act would allow Nortel
pensioners to opt out of the current windup process and transfer
the lump-sum value of their pensions to a life income fund. This is
consistent with what is currently available to plan members who are
not yet in receipt of a pension, and those who choose to transfer
their pensions will be able to select their own investment
strategy, subject to any limits under the federal Income Tax
Act. Another notable inclusion in the budget is that the
government reiterated its commitment to review options for making
modest enhancements to the Canada Pension Plan with the federal,
provincial and territorial finance ministers during the summer of
Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
A former teacher at Bodwell High School has learned a valuable lesson from the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal— it is not discriminatory for an employer to offer child-related benefits to only employees with children.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
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