The Québec legislator recently amended the
Supplemental Pension Plans Act (SPPA) to negate the
potential impact of the decision rendered by the Québec
Court of Appeal in the Multi‑Marques
On April 2, 2008 the Québec Court of Appeal rendered
its decision in Multi-Marques Distribution inc. v.
Régie des rentes du Québec, J.E. 2008-840
(Multi-Marques). In overruling the previous decisions
of the Québec Superior Court, the Québec
Administrative Tribunal and the Régie des rentes du
Québec (the Régie), the Court of Appeal held that
a pension plan can provide that member benefits payable on plan
wind-up are conditional on full funding of such benefits.
On May 29, 2008 the Régie filed an application for
leave to appeal the Court of Appeal's decision to the
Supreme Court of Canada. Concurrent with these proceedings, the
Régie successfully approached the government to counter
the potential impact of the Court of Appeal's decision
via legislation. Bill 68, An Act to amend the Supplemental
Pension Plans Act, the Act respecting the Québec Pension
Plan and other legislative provisions, was amended while
under review by the Committee on Social Affairs to introduce
new sections to the SPPA that specifically negate the potential
impact of the Court of Appeal's decision.
During the detailed review of Bill 68, the Minister of
Employment and Social Solidarity of Québec, Mr. Sam
Hamad, stated that the Court of Appeal's decision was
based on an interpretation of the SPPA which is contrary to the
objectives of the act. He added that the decision puts aside
the concept of "debt of the employer," as defined by
the SPPA, and calls into question one of the fundamental
principles established when the statute came into force on
January 1, 1990 – namely, the complete discharge by
the employer of its obligations vis-à-vis the plan
members and beneficiaries.
Amendments to the SPPA
Bill 68 was passed by the National Assembly on June 18,
2008. It includes amendments to the SPPA which are intended to
prohibit the inclusion, in defined benefit pension plans or
defined contribution and defined benefit plans, of provisions
make the rights of members and beneficiaries conditional
upon extrinsic factors so that they are limited or reduced;
limit or reduce the obligations of an employer in respect
of the plan because of the employer's withdrawal from
the pension plan or the termination of the plan.
New section 14.1 of the SPPA lists certain factors which are
considered to be extrinsic factors, including the financial
position of the pension fund, employer contributions paid in
relation to the obligations arising from the pension plan, the
withdrawal of an employer from the pension plan or the
termination of the pension plan.
These new sections apply retroactively to January
1st, 1990. They also apply to pending cases. It will
be interesting to see what impact Bill 68 will have on the
François Parent is an associate in
the firm's Pension and Benefits Law Department
practising out of our Montréal office.
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.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
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.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).