Ontario passes bill to further pension reform

Bill 120, the Securing Pension Benefits Now and For the Future Act, 2010 fulfils the government's commitment in the 2010 Budget to build on recommendations of the Expert Commission on Pensions, advice from the Advisory Council on Pensions and Retirement Income, and discussions with the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.  Amendments were also made during extensive consultations with partners and the public.

This second set of reforms addresses almost 40 recommendations from the expert commission and would:  

  • strengthen funding rules;
  • permit more flexible funding rules for certain multi-employer pension plans and jointly sponsored pension plans;
  • clarify pension surplus rules and provide a dispute resolution process to allow members, retirees, and sponsors to reach surplus-sharing agreements on plan wind-up;
  • provide a more sustainable Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund; and
  • further strengthen regulatory oversight and improve plan administration.

These proposed reforms are the outcome of extensive consultations and build on Bill 236, the Pension Benefits Amendment Act, 2010 that passed in the Legislature unanimously on May 5, 2010. Before Bill 236, pension rules in Ontario had been largely unchanged for more than two decades.

The government's reforms to date have responded to about two-thirds of the 142 recommendations in the expert commission's report that were addressed to the Ontario government. Remaining recommendations will be considered for inclusion in future reforms.

Ontario regulates approximately 8,350 employment pension plans, which comprise more than 40 per cent of all registered pension plans in Canada. Research conducted for the Expert Commission on Pensions found that 62 per cent of Ontario families with a member in the workforce have some degree of pension coverage.

As part of the Open Ontario plan, the Ontario government says it supports a multi-pronged approach to reform of the retirement income system and playing a leading role in national discussions on retirement income system reform to help Ontario families.