New Pension Benefits Act comes into force June 1, 2015
A summary of provisions in the new Pension Benefits Regulations. Please note this document is intended to provide guidance.
On April 21, 2015, the Pension Benefits Regulations were approved by the Lieutenant Governor. The Regulations support the new Pension Benefits Act which was passed by the legislative assembly in 2011 and proclaimed to be in effect June 1, 2015.
The new Act is available online at http://nslegislature.ca/legc/PDFs/annual%20statutes/2011/c041.pdf. The Regulations are online at http://novascotia.ca/just/regulations/rxam-z.htm#penben.
Fees under the new Pension Benefits Act have been established. The Pension Benefits Fee Regulations take will take effect on June 1, 2015 and can be viewed here.
Factors to consider in the implementation of the new Act and Regulations follow:
- Amendments for compliance – all plans: An amendment to the plan text to reflect the new required plan provisions must be filed before June 1, 2018. Although the plan text amendments are not required immediately, the plan must be administered to reflect the new legislative requirements from June 1, 2015 forward.
- Disclosure: The new information to be provided on the annual statements to active members apply to statements issued in respect of plan years ending after June 1, 2015.
- Information to trustees: The summary of contributions must be given to the fund trustees no later than 60 days after the beginning of the plan's fiscal year. Note that there is no requirement for a summary of contributions to be provided in respect of a multi-employer pension plan.
- Changes to LIRAs and LIFs: The changes to LIRAs and LIFs apply from June 1, 2015 onwards. Copies of the new Schedule for the LIRA and the revised Schedule for the LIF should be sent to all LIRA and LIF owners with the next statement of account that is sent to them.
- Filing audited financial statements: Audited financial statements for a pension fund must be filed no later than 6 months after the end of the plan's fiscal year. This requirement does not apply if the market value of the plan's assets is less than $5,000,000, or if all of the plan's assets are held by 1 insurance company or in pooled funds provided by a single trust company and the pooled funds are audited. However, a multi-employer pension plan must file audited financial statements, without exception.
- Requirements for filing annual valuations: Annual filing of a valuation report and actuarial information summary are required for defined benefit pension plans if a valuation report prepared as at a date after June 1, 2015 indicates solvency concerns. Solvency concerns exist if the ratio of the solvency assets to the solvency liabilities is less than 0.85.This does not apply to designated pension plans or an individual pension plan.
- Provisions of new Act not proclaimed into force – provisions relating to target benefit plans, the provisions found in subsections 24(2) and (3) relating to void amendments, and section 111 relating to the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act.
Please contact the Pension Regulation Division if you have any questions regarding the new Act and Regulations. E-mails can be sent to novascotia.ca.
Eventually, we all turn our attention to planning for retirement. There are many factors to consider when you retire and a lot of information to absorb. If you are about to retire, or have recently joined a pension plan, and you would like to learn more about pensions, this site provides information on workplace pensions and personal retirement savings.
If you work for the private sector or municipal government in Nova Scotia, and you are a member of a pension plan, your plan is monitored and protected by the Nova Scotia Office of the Superintendent of Pensions. This Office supervises over 490 registered pension plans to ensure they are well managed and adequately funded in order to meet their obligations to pension plan members.
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