Originally published in Blakes Bulletin on Pension &
Employee Benefits December 2008
In view of our decision to hold a special Pension & Employee
Benefits seminar in late November 2008 in conjunction with Watson
Wyatt Worldwide to discuss the implications of the Final Report of
the Ontario Expert Commission on Pensions, we did not hold our
regular semi-annual seminar.
We have, however, prepared our customary summary of Recent Case
Law Developments and Regulatory Round Up which we are attaching to
the end of this bulletin.
Highlights of the Regulatory Round up
Introduction of the federal Wage Earner Protection Program
Clarification from CRA on classification of a SERP versus an
Additional provinces deal with the introduction of phased
Quebec legislative amendments to deal with withdrawals of
employers under MEPPs
Preliminary report from CAPSA on Multi-jurisdictional Pension
Ontario Law Commission Report on Division of Pensions on
Recent Case Law Developments
The developments contain some further decisions on cases
followed in prior summaries, as well as a few new issues. The
Further discussion of surplus and expenses in Burke v.
Hudson's Bay Company
Monsanto not applied to federal PBSA in Cousins v.
Additional developments on Buschau
Discussion of costs in Patrick v. Telus
Insured pension litigation coverage in Michelin v. Ace Ina
Solvency Funding Relief
In addition, on December 16, 2008, the Ontario government
announced that it will introduce legislation this spring to provide
pension plans with solvency funding relief, primarily through an
extension of solvency amortization periods from five to 10 years
with the consent of active members or their collective bargaining
agent and retired plan members. The legislation, likely to be
implemented through regulations, will be retroactive to September
30, 2008 if passed.
The announcement also stated that the government would be
looking for approval to provide the following other forms of
" The consolidation of previous funding schedules
One year deferral of the start of catch-up payments required on
the filing of valuation reports until the beginning of the next
fiscal year, in the same manner as jointly sponsored pension
Permitting greater flexibility in the use of actuarial gains to
reduce annual cash payments by plan sponsors
Adopting the revised Canadian Institute of Actuaries'
Standard of Practice for Determining Pension Commuted Values for
There were also additional member protections in the
announcement which were said to be under consideration:
" Enhanced notice to active and retired plan members
Accelerated funding of benefit improvements
Temporary limitations going-forward on contribution holidays
where the plan actuary indicates the plan is no longer in a surplus
While the announcement provides only limited details on the
proposals, plan sponsors may wish to raise with the government a
number of concerns arising from the announcement including:
1. What limitations are proposed on contribution holidays? In
this current economic environment any potential increase in
employer costs will be a significant concern.
2. Why using letters of credit as an alternative to member
consent for the extension of the solvency amortization periods was
not included in the proposals as it has been in other
3. What is a practical method of obtaining member consent in a
non-union environment and, in particular, would a failure of a
specified percentage (e.g., 30%) of objectors be sufficient?
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Emotional culture is influenced in great part by the mindset and actions of leadership, although employees also play more of a role than they may realize in creating the culture that exists in the group.
The session will be led by Dr. Robert Brooks, an award-winning author and psychologist. In his presentation, Dr. Brooks will describe the mindset and realistic practices of leaders and staff that help to nurture and sustain a culture characterized by positive emotions, satisfying, respectful relationships, a sense of meaning and ownership for one’s work, and enhanced job performance. Examples will be offered to illustrate strategies for developing a positive emotional culture in an organization.
Join leading lawyers from the Blakes Pensions, Benefits & Executive Compensation group as they discuss recent updates and legal developments in pension and employee benefits law as well as strategies to identify and minimize common risks.
Ready? The company wants its in-house lawyers to be on the front lines, but there is little to no training around how to “look for risk,” let alone how to evaluate it or report it. Our special guest, Sterling Miller, will present simple ideas and processes you can use to spot and identify risk, and demonstrate how to evaluate and manage that risk alongside the business.
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.
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.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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