Expert Committee: The committee tasked with
studying Québec's retirement system, chaired by Alban
D'Amours, is expected to table its report in early 2013. The
recommendations of the Expert Committee will likely lead to a round
of pension reform in 2013-2014.
CPP/QPP Improvements: The Québec
government will continue working with the other provinces and the
federal government to assess the possibility of making gradual and
fully funded improvements to the Québec Pension Plan and the
Canada Pension Plan. (This proposal seems to have some
"legs" as only today The Globe and Mail reported that a policy
paper on CPP reform prepared by federal and provincial public
servants will be presented to the finance ministers at their annual
Voluntary Retirement Savings Plans: The
Québec government will table, by the spring of 2013, a bill
to implement its new voluntary retirement savings plans (VRSP).
This VRSP proposal is largely consistent with the Québec
government's previous proposal (as discussed in my
March 22, 2012 blog post). As I noted in my earlier post, it
remains to be seen how harmonized this new scheme will be with the
federal government's pooled registered pension plans (for which
the federal government passed framework legislation and regulations this
fall). For the time being, it already appears that VRSPs will be
different from the federal PRPPs in at least some respects
(including mandatory participation, locking-in rules, investment
options and the meaning of "low cost").
In addition, the National Assembly recently adopted Bill 15,An Act to provide for the establishment of
target-benefit pension plans in certain pulp and paper sector
enterprises, which is intended to pave the way for the
establishment of single-employer target benefit plans in Quebec.
While its scope is currently limited to the pulp and paper
industry, it is to be expected that this design will be made
available more broadly in the future (possibly as part of the
upcoming pension reform). Note that Bill 15 only creates an
exemption from the application of certain provisions of the
Supplemental Pension Plans Act. The entire framework for
target benefit plans is to be set out in regulations which have yet
to be released.
Pensions continue to be a hot topic in Canada, as employers who
sponsor defined benefit plans grapple with funding challenges and
governments try to determine how to best address pension coverage
issues. It will be interesting to see how (or perhaps I should say
if) Quebec's proposed approach (and the recommendations of the
Expert Committee in particular) addresses these outstanding
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