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New Legal Developments – Central Canada

  1. Ontario

    (a) Proposed Ontario Pension Plan

    The Ontario government has stated that it will unveil a new Ontario pension plan in its spring budget. This new pension plan is a response to the federal government’s refusal to enhance the current Canada Pension Plan. The proposed new plan would likely be a defined contribution pension plan, run by an independent organization at arms-length from the government. Ontario has invited other provinces to join in its plans to create this new pension plan.

    (b) Legislative update – October 2013 to January 2014

    i) As part of ongoing reforms to the Pension Benefits Act, major changes to Ontario’s asset transfer rules were made effective January 1, 2014. The changes apply to a transfer of assets between pension plans of separate employers, either through the sale, assignment or disposition of a business, or between plans of the same employer.

    For more information, visit:
    http://www.fsco.gov.on.ca/en/pensions/asset_transfers/Pages/legislation-asset-transfers-jan-01-2014.aspx.

    ii) The following legislation amending the Pension Benefits Act came into force on January 1, 2014:

    iii) On December 11, 2013 the Ontario Government announced the introduction of the Strengthening and Improving Government Act, 2013 (Bill 151). Bill 151 carried first reading on December 11, 2013. If passed, Schedule 2 of the bill would amend the Pension Benefits Act by introducing changes affecting spousal entitlements to pre- and post-retirement benefits, and an individual’s ability to consolidate their pension benefits.

    To access the announcement visit:
    http://news.ontario.ca/mgs/en/2013/12/strengthening-and-improving-government.html

    To access the full text of the bill, visit:
    http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?locale=en&Intranet=&BillID=2921

    (c) Regulatory Update

    i) On October 31, 2013, Ontario Regulation 290/13 (Pensions and Survivor Allowances for Provincial Judges) was filed under the Courts of Justice Act:

    To access the full text of regulation 290/13, visit:
    http://www.gov.on.ca/ontprodconsume/groups/content/@onca/@so/@gazette/documents/document/ont06_028159.pdf

    ii) On October 31, 2013, Ontario Regulation 291/13 amending Regulation 909 R.R.O. 1990 (General) under the Pension and Benefits Act was filed. This regulation amends Regulation 909 R.R.O 1990 (General) to make specific reference to Ontario Regulation 290/13 (Pensions and Survivor Allowances for Provincial Judges);

    To access the full text of regulation 291/13, visit:
    http://www.gov.on.ca/ontprodconsume/groups/content/@onca/@so/@gazette/documents/document/ont06_028159.pdf

    iii) On November 29 2013, the following regulations amending the Pension Benefits Act were filed:

    • Ontario Regulation 306/13 amending Regulation 909 R.R.O 1990 (General) under the Pensions Benefits Act;

    • Ontario Regulation 307/13 amending O. Reg. 178/11 under the Pensions Benefits Act;

    • Ontario Regulation 308/13 relating to asset transfers under section 80.1 of the Pensions Benefits Act; and

    • Ontario Regulation 310/13 relating to asset transfers under section 80 and 81 of the Pensions Benefits Act.

    To access the full text of these regulations, visit:
    http://www.gov.on.ca/ontprodconsume/groups/content/@onca/@so/@gazette/documents/document/ont06_028169.pdf

    iv) On December 13, 2013, the following regulations amending the Pension Benefits Act were filed:

    • Ontario Regulation 326/13 amending O. Reg. 156/13 (General Synod Pension Plan of the Anglican Church of Canada) under the Pensions Benefits Act;

    • Ontario Regulation 327/13 amending O. Reg. 202/02 (Algoma Steele Inc. Pension Plans) under the Pensions Benefits Act; and

    • Ontario Regulation 328/13 amending Regulation 909 R.R.O 1990 (General) under the Pensions Benefits Act.

    To access the full text of these regulations, visit:
    http://www.gov.on.ca/ontprodconsume/groups/content/@onca/@so/@gazette/documents/document/ont06_028175.pdf

  2. Quebec

    (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, visit:
    http://www.rrq.gouv.qc.ca/SiteCollectionDocuments/www.rrq.gouv.qc/Anglais/publications/rapport_comite/rapport.pdf (French only).

    (b) Action Plan for the Sustainability of Pension Plans

    In response to the D’Amours Report, on December 12, 2013 the government unveiled an action plan aimed at ensuring the sustainability of defined benefit (DB) pension plans in Quebec. The action plan seeks to establish a framework for restructuring DB plans as well as amending the funding rules for DB plans. A detailed timeline is set out in the action plan. It describes the process that will be followed over the next two years. Legislation is expected to be tabled this spring to formalize the time-lines and restructuring process and additional legislation in the fall of 2014 is contemplated to facilitate the solutions proposed during the next few months.

    For more information, please visit:
    http://www.rrq.gouv.qc.ca/en/services/publications/regie/plans_action_developpement_durable/Pages/plan_action_durable.aspx.

    (c) Voluntary Retirement Savings Plan (VRSP)

    On December 3, 2013, Bill 39 aimed at creating the Quebec version of the pooled registered pension plan was passed. The Voluntary Retirement Savings Plan Act will come into force on July 1, 2014. The legislation will gradually require corporations that do not already offer a group RRSP or TFSA or a registered pension plan, to offer VRSPs to their employees depending on the size of the corporation:

    • Corporations with 20 or more eligible employees must offer a VRSP by December 31, 2016;
    • Corporations with 10 to 19 eligible employees must offer a VRSP by December 31, 2017; and
    • Corporations with 5 to 9 eligible employees must offer a VRSP by a date yet to be determined by the government.

    For more information, please visit:
    http://www.rrq.gouv.qc.ca/en/travail/participer_rver/Pages/participer_rver.aspx.

New Legal Developments – Western Canada

  1. Alberta

    (a) Pooled Registered Pension Plans

    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.

    For more information on PRPPs in Alberta, visit:
    http://www.finance.alberta.ca/publications/pensions/pdf/2013-0418-Pooled-Registered-Pension-Plans-QandAs.pdf

    (b) Alberta Pension Governance Research Project: Final Report

    On October 31, 2013, the Alberta Pension Governance Research Project Final Report was released. This report for Alberta Treasury Board and Finance was prepared by Christopher Eaton, Norma Nielson, and Laurie Milton of the Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary. The main purpose of the study was to provide a well-researched perspective on pension governance to help inform the Government of Alberta's decisions on potential reforms affecting public sector pension plans. The full report is available here: http://www.finance.alberta.ca/publications/pensions/sustainability/2013-1031-Alberta-Pension-Governance-Research-Project-Final-Report.pdf.

    The Alberta government separately launched a consultation with stakeholders on proposed changes to Alberta’s public sector pension plans. The consultation period closed on 1 January 2014. Final proposals and reforms will be announced in Spring 2014.

  2. British Columbia

    (a) New Pension Legislation

    New pension legislation, known as Bill 38, was passed by the British Columbia Legislature in 2012. This legislation is not yet in effect. Further information on this legislation will be provided for pension plan members and plan administrators closer to the day that it comes into effect. Bill 38 can be viewed at http://www.leg.bc.ca/39th4th/3rd_read/gov38-3.htm.

New Developments – Atlantic Canada

  1. Newfoundland and Labrador – Extension of Solvency Exemptions

    In December 2013, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador filed three amendments to the Pension Benefits Act Regulations that extend solvency exemptions for multi-employer pension plans, and the pension plans for the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay and the City of St. John’s. All three exemptions are effective for valuation reports covering periods up to December 31, 2015.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  1. Update on Pooled Registered Pension Plans

    The Pooled Registered Pension Plan Act came into force in December 2012. A pooled registered pension plan (PRPP) is a new type of defined contribution pension plan offered under federal jurisdiction to employers and to self-employed persons. 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 administered by financial institutions, rather than an employer, and all PRPP administrators must be licensed by the Superintendent of Financial Services.

    The Pooled Registered Pension Plan Act establishes minimum standards that all PRPPs and PRPP administrators must adhere to. For more information and links to the legislation, please visit: http://www.osfi-bsif.gc.ca/Eng/pp-rr/ppa-rra/prpp-rpac/Pages/default.aspx.

  2. Solvency Information Return – OSFI 575

    Defined benefit or combination-type pension plans registered under the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985 are required to file OSFI 575 on the later of 45 days after the plan year-end or February 15, 2014. The purpose of OSFI 575 is to gather information that OSFI uses in calculating the estimated solvency ratio for a pension plan.

    The form can be found at: http://www.osfi-bsif.gc.ca/Eng/Docs/SIR2014.xlsx.

  3. Update on the Regulatory Reporting System (RRS)

    OSFI is in the process of creating a new regulatory filing solution known as the RRS. All federally regulated pension plans will be transitioning from the current “Automated Data Transfer” system to the new RRS solution. The RRS provides a more integrated approach to managing and administering all aspects of the regulatory return process, including more self-service options. Phase 2 of the RRS solution is planned to be active on April 28, 2014.

    For more information, visit: http://www.osfi-bsif.gc.ca/Eng/fi-if/rtn-rlv/fr-rf/rrs-sdr/Pages/RRSpkg.aspx.

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