Effective September 1, 2014, the new Alberta Employment
Pension Plans Act (New EPPA) and Employment Pension Plans
Regulation (New Regulation) came into force. Pension plans
registered in Alberta, as well as plans registered in other
jurisdictions which have Alberta members, will need to review their
plans and make any necessary amendments to ensure compliance with
the new requirements.
In this post we highlight the key amendments that administrators
of single employer pension plans will have to make to their plans,
however, it is not an exhaustive list of all required compliance
amendments under the New EPPA.
We recommend a comprehensive review of each pension plan's
specific provisions in order to confirm compliance with the New
EPPA and the New Regulation.
Mandatory Plan Amendments
Plans must be amended by December 31, 2014 to reflect the
unlocking due to small benefit, shortened life expectancy and
effective date of the plan (which now must be specified in the
where the plan text provides for automatic enrollment (which is
not a mandatory requirement) the plan text must specify the time
period within which the employee can opt out; and
on marriage breakdown, where a member's pension is already
in pay when the division occurs, the continuing pension payable to
the member must be in the form of a single life pension, unless the
plan text provides that the member may elect a different form of
Defined contribution plans must also specify whether the plan
administrator, members or both have responsibility for directing
plan investments. Where members are permitted to make investment
decisions, the funding agreement must provide a default investment
option which is either a balance fund or a portfolio of investments
that takes into account a member's age.
The plan text for defined benefit (and target benefit) plans
must indicate the rules around the formula used to determine the
amount of benefits. (For more information on target benefit plans
and the requirements associated with such plans, please see our
Where applicable, plan texts must be separate from a collective
agreement, and from any other document that creates the plan.
New Plan Documents
In addition to plan amendments, plan administrators must put in
place a governance policy and a funding policy (for defined benefit
and target benefit plans only) by August 31, 2015. We discuss the
requirements of these policies and what issues they must address in
As we noted above, the plan amendments required under the New
EPPA and New Regulations may vary depending upon the type of plan
and its specific provisions. If you sponsor a pension plan with
members in the province of Alberta, a compliance review is in order
to ensure that the new requirements are met.
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.
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