New amendments to the Ontario Pension Benefits Act,
which are expected to come into effect on July 1, 2012, will
require pension plans to provide grow-in benefits for members whose
age plus service total at least 55 and whose employment is ended by
their employer, subject to certain specified exceptions. The new
amendments allow multi-employer pension plans (MEPPs) and jointly
sponsored pension plans (JSPPs) to opt out of providing grow-in
benefits to their members. If a decision is made to opt out of
providing grow-in benefits, existing MEPPs and JSPPs may want to do
so by July 1, 2012 to prevent the application of the grow-in
benefits provisions in any interim period.
Opting Out Process
Draft Regulations set out the details of the opting out process
and propose that existing MEPPs and JSPPs will have until
July 1, 2013 to make a one-time election to opt out of the
grow-in benefit provisions. Importantly, the draft regulations
state that the effective date of the election cannot be earlier
than the date on which the election is filed with the
The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) has
indicated that MEPPs and JSPPs which intend to opt out of the
grow-in provisions from the expected date of inception,
i.e., July 1, 2012, may file notice of their elections
with the Superintendent before July 1, 2012, i.e.
now. The effective date of the elections cannot, however,
be earlier than the date the new section permitting the opt out
comes into force (expected to be July 1, 2012).
FSCO has also announced that MEPPs and JSPPs that are registered
in other jurisdictions and have Ontario members may elect to opt
out of providing grow-in benefits to their Ontario members.
Specified requirements will need to be met for such elections to be
Prompt Action for MEPPs and JSPPs
If a MEPP or JSPP decides to opt out of the grow-in benefits
provisions, it will be important for it to file a notice of
election promptly, because the grow-in provisions are expected to
come into effect on July 1, 2012 and the draft regulations propose
that the effective date of the election cannot be earlier than the
date on which the election is filed with the Superintendent. Any
delay in filing after the date of inception of the grow-in benefits
could result in the application of the grow-in benefits provisions.
For instance, filing a notice of election on August 1, 2012 would
have the effect of having the grow-in benefits provisions apply
from July 1, 2012, to July 31, 2012.
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.
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