New Legal Developments – Central Canada
a) Regulations amending the Ontario Pension Benefits Act were filed, as follows:
Ontario Regulation 181/13 amending O. Reg 178/11 under the Pension Benefits Act was filed on June 10, 2013. This regulation came into force on the day it was filed, and relates solvency funding relief for certain public sector pension plans.
To access the full text of Ontario Regulation 181/13, visit:
Ontario Regulation 185/13 amending Regulation 909 R.R.O. 1990 (General) under the Pension Benefits Act was filed on June 20, 2013. This regulation comes into force on January 1, 2014, and changes the rules for making an application to access locked-in retirement funds on the basis of financial hardship.
To access the full text of Ontario Regulation 185/13, visit:
Ontario Regulation 186/13 amending O. Reg. 177/11 (amending Regulation 909 R.R.O. 1990 (General)) under the Pension Benefits Act, was filed June 20, 2013. This regulation came into force on the day it was filed, and relates to the applicability of solvency concerns tests to specific jointly sponsored pension plans.
To access the full text of Ontario Regulation 186/13, visit:
b) Draft regulation posted for consultation
The Ontario Government posted a draft regulation concerning asset transfers under sections 80 and 81 of the Pension Benefits Act for public consultation and dialogue.The Ministry of Finance received comments on the draft regulation until September 9, 2013, and comments will be considered during the final preparation of the regulation.
To access the full text of the draft regulation, visit:
a) D’Amours report on pension plan reform in Québec
In April, 2013, the report on Innovating for a Sustainable Retirement System – a Social Contract to Strengthen the Financial Security of all Québec Workers was released. The report was based on a study by a committee mandated by the Régie des rentes Québec and contains numerous recommendations to ensure the sustainability of the Quebec retirement system.
For a summary of the report, visit: http://www.rrq.gouv.qc.ca/SiteCollectionDocuments/www.rrq.gouv.qc/Francais/publications/rapport_comite/Summary.pdf
To read the full report, visist: http://www.rrq.gouv.qc.ca/SiteCollectionDocuments/www.rrq.gouv.qc/Anglais/publications/rapport_comite/rapport.pdf (French only).
b) Newsletters from the Régie des rentes Québec
Newsletter No. 30 (February 2013) reported on the duties of a financial institution that administers a simplified pension plan. For more information, visit: http://www.rrq.gouv.qc.ca/SiteCollectionDocuments/www.rrq.gouv.qc/Francais/publications/rcr/lettre/lettreno30.pdf (French only)
Newsletter No. 29 (February 2013) discussed amendments that reduce pension benefits retroactively. For more information, please visit: http://www.rrq.gouv.qc.ca/SiteCollectionDocuments/www.rrq.gouv.qc/Anglais/publications/rcr/lettre/newsletterno29.pdf
New Legal Developments – Western Canada
a) On December 10, 2012, Bill 10, Alberta’s new Employment Pension Plans Act, received Royal Assent. The new Act will not come into force until proclamation, which is generally expected to occur upon the finalisation of supporting regulations. The regulations are currently being drafted in conjunction with the British Columbia government, whose new Pension Benefits Standards Act received Royal Assent on May 31, 2012.
Among other things, the new Employment Pension Plans Act will introduce immediate vesting; locking in based on an indexed monetary threshold rather than years of service; new mechanisms to address the entitlements of “missing” plan beneficiaries; and a new Alberta Employment Pension Tribunal to act as a decision-maker of first instance in all appeals of decisions of the Superintendent.
b) On May 27, 2013, Bill 18, the Pooled Registered Pension Plans Act, received Royal Assent. When proclaimed in force, the Act will facilitate the offering and administration of voluntary pooled registered pension plans (“PRPPs”) to employees and self-employed individuals in Alberta.
On May 15, 2013, Bill 92, The Pooled Registered Pension Plans (Saskatchewan) Act, received Royal Assent. When proclaimed in force, the Act will facilitate the offering and administration of voluntary pooled registered pension plans to employees and self-employed individuals in Saskatchewan. Unlike Alberta’s Bill 18, the Saskatchewan Act adopts many of the provisions of the federal Pooled Registered Pension Plans Act by reference.
Bill 91, The Saskatchewan Pension Plan Amendment Act, 2013 (No. 2), which also received Royal Assent on May 15, 2013, amends the Saskatchewan Pension Plan Act to allow the Saskatchewan Pension Plan (“SPP”) to apply for a licence to administer PRPPs in Saskatchewan. The SPP has already indicated its intention to do so.
New Legal Developments - Atlantic Canada
- Newfoundland and Labrador – Adoption of Federal Investment Rules
On March 5, 2013, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador filed an amendment repealing the schedule to the Pension Benefits Act Regulations containing that Province’s pension investment rules, and replacing it by incorporating by reference Schedule III to the federal Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985.
- New Brunswick – Amendments to Shared Risk Pension Plan Legislation
The New Brunswick Government passed amendments to the Pension Benefits Act that allow conversion of pension plans to Shared Risk Pension Plans notwithstanding the language of a contract or trust in force. The amendments received Royal Assent on December 20, 2012, and were deemed to come into force on July 1, 2012, the date on which earlier amendments to the Pension Benefits Act providing for SRPPs came into force. Bill 20, which contains the amendments, can be viewed at: http://www.gnb.ca/legis/bill/pdf/57/3/Bill-20.pdf.
- Nova Scotia
a) New Pension Benefits Act Passed & Regulations Introduced
On November 15, 2011, the Nova Scotia Government introduced Bill No. 96, a new Pension Benefits Act following recent law reform initiatives in 2009 and 2010.The new Bill received Royal Assent on December 15, 2011 and is yet to be proclaimed. The new Act as passed is available at: http://nslegislature.ca/legc/bills/61st_3rd/3rd_read/b096.htm
Draft funding regulations to the new Pension Benefits Act were posted on December 7, 2011, and can be viewed at: http://www.gov.ns.ca/lae/pensions/docs/DraftFundingRegs.pdf. General draft Pension Benefits Regulations were posted on December 7, 2012, and are available for review at: http://www.gov.ns.ca/lae/policy/docs/DaftPensionRegs.pdf. Comments were requested for submission by January 7, 2013.
b) Solvency Relief Provisions Enacted
On February 12, 2013, amendments to the Pension Benefits Regulations were filed, which provide further solvency funding relief for private defined benefit pension plans. The amendments can be found here: http://www.gov.ns.ca/just/regulations/rg2/2013/fe2213.pdf
- Prince Edward Island - New Pension Legislation Introduced
For the third time, the PEI Government introduced the Pension Benefits Act on November 21, 2012, as Bill 12. It is substantially the same as Bill 41, which was introduced on May 17, 2012. Bill 12, as passed on first reading, is available at: http://www.assembly.pe.ca/bills/pdf_first/64/3/bill-12.pdf
New Legal Developments – Federal
- Update on Pooled Registered Pension Plans
The federal government introduced pooled registered pension plans “PRPP”) in late 2011.The goal of the PRPP is to provide a “low cost” and accessible retirement savings vehicle for Canadians who do not currently participate in an employer sponsored pension plan. PRPPs are defined contribution plans which are administered by financial institutions rather than an employer.
Currently PRPPs are only available federally. However a number of provinces have taken steps to introduce the concept at the provincial level.
- LTD Plans of Federally Regulated Employers must be Insured
The Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act (the "Act") passed in 2012. Under the Act, the Canada Labour Code was amended in order to require private sector, federally regulated employers to obtain insurance for any long-term disability ("LTD") plan offered to their employees. The requirement provides those employees who are on LTD a level of security in the event the employer became bankrupt.
The requirement to provide LTD insurance will come into force on July 1, 2014 on a prospective basis, meaning it will not be required for employees who are already on LTD or have already applied for LTD on July 1, 2014.
The Regulations have not yet been issued.