Bill 132 brings efficiencies to Ontario’s Pension Benefits Act

Written by on May 26, 2020 in Employment Law Blog, Employment Law Issues

On October 28, 2019, the Ontario government introduced Bill 132: the Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2019. The bill received Royal Assent on December 10, 2019.

Bill 132 is an omnibus bill which amends many existing statutes to modernize outdated and ineffective regulatory requirements, aiming to increase regulatory efficiency.

Amendments to the Ontario Pension Benefits Act (PBA) will give rise to several important changes.

Electronic Communications

Members of a pension plan are generally deemed to consent to the receipt of certain documents in electronic form. Electronic documents containing personal information must be sent in a secure format. Plan members will have the ability to opt out of receiving documents electronically at any time.

Biennial Statements for Missing Members

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) now has the authority to waive the requirement to provide periodic written statements to missing members. To waive the requirement, FSRA must be satisfied that the plan administrator is unable to locate the member after making reasonable efforts to do so. Waivers are automatically revoked if the plan administrator receives contact information for the missing member.

Family Law Matters

The FSRA now has the authority to make rules respecting the processes for spouses to obtain a statement of imputed value, and for the transfer of a lump sum from a spouse’s pension plan.

Conversion to Jointly Sponsored Pension Plans

Employers may apply for FSRA consent to transfer assets from a single employer pension plan into a jointly sponsored pension plan. If the application for registration of the jointly sponsored plan is not received by the FSRA within ninety days after the application for consent is made, the application for consent is deemed not to have been made. The FSRA has the ability to waive or vary certain provisions of the regulation with respect to conversion in appropriate circumstances.

Plan Administrators

A board of trustees may now act as the administrator of a single employer jointly sponsored pension plan. Where a board of trustees is appointed as the plan administrator, the pension plan document or agreement must set out the powers and duties of the board of trustees.

General Compliance & Rule Making Authority

Amendments to the “regulation scope provisions” of the PBA confirm that the FSRA’s rules, and future amendments to those rules, may simply be adopted prospectively without revising the regulation.

Minken Employment Lawyers is your source for expert advice and advocacy on today’s employment law issues. If you have any questions on Bill 132: the Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2019, please contact us at contact@minken.com or call us at 905-477-7011. Sign up for our newsletter to receive up-to-date Employment Law information, including new legislation and Court decisions impacting your workplace.

Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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