December 10, 2009
The Ontario government has unveiled a package of technical changes for pension plans, but has deferred decisions about many high-profile areas of reform, including proposals to create a new supplementary pension system.
The changes announced yesterday include new rules to make it easier for companies to transfer pension assets when they restructure portions of their operations; changes to protect pension benefits for people who are laid off; and new requirements for pension plan sponsors to give more information to members about a plan's funded status.
The package is notable for the issues that are not mentioned, including questions about expanding coverage to more workers without workplace pension plans. Canadian finance ministers will discuss these issues at a summit in Whitehorse next week.
The legislation does address key technical problems that people working in the industry have been most keen to see fixed, says Mitch Frazer. These include problems related to wind-ups of portions of plans when a company sells a division or cuts a large part of its work force.
"This is great for pension experts; these are all the technical things that we've wanted for 10 years," says Mitch.
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