Below are recent pensions and benefits developments (with
applicable web links) that may be of interest to you.
1. Federal - Consultation Paper re Pension Reform
On January 9, 2009, the federal government released a
consultation paper: "Strengthening the Legislative and
Regulatory Framework for Private Pension Plans Subject to the
Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985." The paper
seeks stakeholders' views on a number of issues affecting
defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans, including
funding requirements, surplus ownership/distribution, contribution
holidays, safe harbour rules, default investment options, and
federal investment rules. Written comments on the consultation
paper must be submitted by March 16, 2009. The federal government
will also hold public consultations with key stakeholder
The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions has
released "PBSA Update 30 - January 2009." The update
discusses a number of issues, including: recent funding relief
proposals, the application of the new Canadian Institute of
Actuaries Guidelines for Determining Commuted Values, and
OSFI's instruction guides for terminations of and asset
transfers between DC plans.
Bill 1, An Act to amend the Supplemental Pension Plans Act
and other legislative Provisions in order to reduce the effects of
the financial crisis on plans covered by the Act, received
royal assent on January 15, 2009. The Bill permits certain plan
members and beneficiaries of DB plans which are underfunded on
termination to apply for the payment of their benefits through a
pension administered by the Régie des rentes du
Québec. As well, the new Canadian Institute of Actuaries
Guidelines for Determining Commuted Values can be applied to
actuarial valuations of plans as of December 31, 2008.
4. Manitoba - Regulation re Solvency Funding Relief
Manitoba registered a new Special Payments Relief Regulation,
which provides that existing solvency deficiencies (as reported in
an actuarial valuation dated between December 30, 2008 and January
2, 2011) may be consolidated and amortized over a new 10 year
period, subject to members and beneficiaries being notified and not
objecting within a specified time period. These provisions are only
available to plan sponsors whose funding payments are up to date.
If a plan sponsor/administrator elects to take advantage of the
extended amortization period, certain restrictions apply.
5. Alberta - Discussion Paper re Pension Funding Relief
On December 18, 2008, the Alberta Superintendent of Pensions
released a discussion paper which sets out a number of proposals
for pension funding relief, including permitting plans to: use the
new Canadian Institute of Actuaries Guidelines for Determining
Commuted Values for actuarial valuation reports as at December 31,
2008; extend the amortization period (from five to 10 years) for
any unfunded liability attributable to the 2008 economic
environment; and apply for an exemption from making solvency
payments for a three-year period. Plan sponsors using either the
moratorium or extended amortization options would be required to
advise members on their annual statements that these remedies are
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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