On June 24, 2011, the Ontario government published final regulations governing the
division of pensions on marriage breakdown. With the publication of
these regulations, which come into force on January 1, 2012,
long-awaited reform of the family law provisions of the Ontario Pension Benefits Act
appears to be coming to a close.
The reform of the marriage breakdown provisions began with the
passing of Bill 133, the Family Statute Law Amendment
Act, on May 14, 2009. Under this new regime, former
spouses of plan members will be able to receive an immediate
payment of their share of the member's pension benefits
– either as a lump sum transfer or a division of monthly
pension payments, depending upon whether the valuation date is
before or after the member's retirement. (This differs from the
current "if and when" regime, which requires spouses to
wait until the member has terminated employment or retired before
they can access the member's pension.)
In March of this year, the Ontario government finally released
the regulations – in draft form – required to
implement this regime. As discussed in my earlier blog post, the draft regulations set out the
methodology to be followed by pension plan administrators when
calculating the valuation of the member's pension assets.
In the final form of the regulations, some refinements have been
made to the calculation methodology, including:
guidance for administrators of "hybrid" plans (i.e.,
plans that include both defined benefit and defined contribution
components) – the government had sought feedback on this
issue earlier this year in its consultation paper;
separate methodologies depending upon whether the valuation
date falls before or after the earliest date on which the member
would have been eligible (or deemed eligible) for an unreduced
pension under the plan's early retirement provisions; and
procedures to follow where an agreement has not yet been
reached with respect to the valuation date.
To provide additional guidance to plan administrators and
members, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) has
posted questions and answers on its website. Among other things, these
Qs&As confirm that there will be no retroactive application of
the new rules, and thus court orders and agreements made before
January 1, 2012 will continue to be governed by the current
"if and when" regime. The Qs&As also emphasize that
once in force, all plan administrators must provide these
calculations when requested to do so – it is not
FSCO has also indicated that it is in the process of developing
new marriage breakdown forms, including a form to be completed by
spouses requesting a plan administrator to determine the value of
pension assets and a form to be completed by the plan administrator
showing the value of those assets.
Given the complexity of these new regulations, plan
administrators should begin putting in place systems and procedures
now so that they are ready to respond to requests in the new
Douglas Rienzo practises exclusively in the
area of pensions and employee benefits, with a particular focus on
pension surplus issues and family law issues related to
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
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.
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.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).