The Ontario Expert Commission on Pensions released its
final report, entitled "A Fine Balance: Safe Pensions;
Affordable Plans, Fair Rules" (the Report), which contains 142
recommendations to the Ontario government for "reforming and
reinvigorating" the pension system in Ontario. The Ontario
government has asked for "focused feedback" on the Report
by February 27, 2009.
As the title of the Report indicates, the Commission was clearly
trying to balance various stakeholder interests. Whether the Report
got it right, and how and to what extent the Ontario government
will act on the Report's recommendations, only time will
Another theme or principle running through the Report was to
"accept that one size doesn't fit all." Many of the
Report's recommendations differentiate between single-employer
pension plans (SEPPs); multi-employer pension plans (MEPPs) and
jointly sponsored pension plans (JSPPs).
The Report, however, is not legislation; it only gives
recommendations, many of which are quite broad. In this regard, the
"devil is in the detail" and it will be up to the Ontario
government to flesh out the recommendations as part of any
legislation to reform Ontario's Pension Benefits Act
This Update summarizes the key recommendations under the
following headings: (i) Funding; (ii) Surplus; (iii) Restructuring
Businesses; (iv) Bankruptcies & Insolvencies; (v) Regulation;
(vi) Governance; (vii) Investments; (viii) Innovative Pension
Designs; and (ix) Future Reform. Also included at the end of this
Update are the "word for word" excerpts of all of the
Report's recommendations. A note of caution: the Report itself
emphasizes that it must be viewed as an integrated whole; as a
result, many of the recommendations are best understood when read
in conjunction with their corresponding text in the Report.
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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