Ontario is on the verge of implementing new rights for members
of registered pension plans. Members will have the right to form
committees that will have broad rights to review information about
all aspects of plan administration including investments. Employers
who sponsor or administer a registered pension plan should
familiarize themselves with these new Ontario legal requirements.
They are not yet law, but likely will be in a matter of months.
Last week the Ontario government released revised draft
regulations about these new legal requirements, seeking comments by
September 12th, 2016. The new requirements have been
kicking around in draft for the past six years and will replace
current Ontario legislation regarding member advisory committees.
Most employers probably haven't heard of the current
requirements regarding such committees, because the current rules
have no teeth. The new ones will. You can find the new requirements
The new requirements will apply to pension plans that have at
least 50 members (including retirees). For those plans, if 10
members (or their union) notify their plan administrator of their
desire to form a member advisory committee, a process must be
launched to inform all plan members and conduct a vote. If a
majority of members vote in favour of establishing an advisory
committee, it should be established in a matter of months. The plan
administrator will have no right to representation on the
committee. Reasonable expenses of the committee are payable from
the pension fund.
Once a new committee is formed, the plan administrator must:
arrange for the plan actuary (for
defined benefit plans) to meet with the committee at least
give the committee access, at least
annually, to an individual who can report on the plan's
give information to the committee,
and allow it to examine the plan records.
These new legal requirements will not give plan members a say on
how their plan should be administered, but they certainly will
change the landscape of members' access to information about
their pension plan. The new requirements will come into play only
where there is sufficient interest among members, or unions, in
forming a member advisory committee.
These new Ontario rules will create an entirely new type of
scrutiny of pension plan administration. Prepare now.
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