New Developments in Pensions and Benefits Law - April 2012

  • April 30, 2012

APRIL 2012

ON - Draft Pension Regulations

The Ontario government has released the first round of regulations required to implement its pension reform agenda. The regulations, which are in draft form and subject to public consultation, address a number of issues including:

  • proclamation of the "retired member" provisions in the Pension Benefits Act (PBA);
  • implementation of immediate vesting for plan members (the 2012 Budget indicates that this change will come into effect on July 1, 2012);
  • increases to the threshold for the pay out of "small pensions"; and
  • clarification of the surplus withdrawal rules.

In addition to the draft regulations, the government has also released a discussion paper that provides some indication of the prescribed requirements which will apply to the new grow-in provisions and to the Superintendent's authority to order a pension plan wind-up.

Comments on both the draft regulations and the discussion paper are due by June 1, 2012.


ON - Temporary Solvency Funding Relief for Certain Public Sector Plans Extended

The Ontario government has announced that it will be extending the filing deadline for temporary solvency funding relief being provided to certain public sector pension plans. (In February 2011, the government provided solvency funding relief to certain single employer, public sector and broader public sector pension plans that met specified criteria.)


ON - Announcement re Consultation with Public Sector Plans

Following up on its 2012 Budget, the Ontario government announced that it will begin consultations on a new legislative framework for jointly sponsored public sector pension plans (JSPPs). As the government indicated previously, their focus is "to make them sustainable for members and more affordable for taxpayers." In addition, the Ontario government has reaffirmed its wish to ensure JSPPs move towards 50-50 funding.

The Ontario government's proposals focus primarily on funding issues. The Ontario government has indicated that the framework would be reviewed after the budget is balanced.

The government also reiterated its interest in exploring ways to enhance the sustainability of single-employer, defined benefit pension plans in the public sector, and its intention to introduce legislation this Fall to facilitate the pooling of pension funds, as well as the investment management functions of smaller broader public sector pension plans.