On December 18, 2014, the Government of Alberta amended the new
Employment Pension Plans Regulation ("EPPR")
which had come into force on September 1, 2014. Notably, the
amendment extends the deadline for filing pension plan text
amendments to comply with the new Employment Pension Plans
Act ("EPPA"). The original deadline was December 31,
2014. The amendment eases the burden on plan administrators without
requiring them to request an extension. Administrators now have
until June 30, 2015, to file amendments to plan
documents filed under the former Act. Any extension previously
granted will automatically be extended until the new deadline.
For defined contribution pension plans where members provide
directions regarding investments, the default investment option
originally needed to be a balanced or target date fund by December
31, 2014. That date has been changed to June 30,
Summaries of contributions required to be made in respect of
plans, other than collectively bargained multi-employer plans
("CBMEPs"), were originally required to be provided to
fundholders on the new prescribed Form 21 by October 1, 2014. The
deadline to use the new form has been postponed by 120 days to
January 29, 2015.
The amendment establishes a new moratorium on solvency funding
for CBMEPs. The previous moratorium expires on December 31, 2014.
The new moratorium has no pre-defined expiry date. CBMEPs may apply
to the Superintendent for an exemption from solvency funding. After
a phase-in period, exempted plans must be funded in accordance with
the funding requirements applicable to target benefit provisions
under the new EPPA, including the application of the Provision for
Adverse Deviation. Existing CBMEP rules, including with respect to
the payment of benefits, will still apply, but the combination of
no expiry date for the solvency funding moratorium and the use of
the PfAD effectively allows CBMEPS to fund on a target benefit
basis pending any eventual amendments to the new EPPA that would
allow for the conversion of accrued defined benefits to target
The amendment also reduces the required frequency of plan
administration assessments, which would otherwise have been annual.
After the first assessment of the administration of the plan, which
for plans with a December 31 fiscal year end must take place by
December 30, 2016, assessments must be done at
least every three years. This change certainly eases one aspect of
the pension plan governance obligations under the new EPPA.
However, it also means that plan administrators who only conduct
triennial plan administration reviews will have to be diligent in
ensuring that they have appropriate governance processes in place,
including sufficient monitoring and reporting, to enable them to
effectively conduct an administration assessment that covers a
three year period.
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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