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CPBI Ontario Fall Newsletter

2016 Fall Newsletter


Martin Leclair - Proteus

December marks the half-year of our programming throughout Ontario. The Program Committee and our two Chapters in London and Ottawa have had a busy year as well, hosting a number of educational and networking events.

The first ever bilingual Ontario/Quebec joint conference in Mont-Tremblant proved very successful both from an educational and networking perspectives. The organization was flawless and our guest speakers performed with professionalism and generosity. This was an opportunity to better understand and discuss the many similarities and differences in how Ontario and Quebec addresses challenges that are universal. Offering a program that transcended language, culture and borders was very well received by our conference attendees. We will continue to offer a curriculum that is well aligned with the needs of our members.

The new year will bring our Signature Series to the front, once again. You’ll soon receive the details about our popular morning sessions on pension, investments and benefits.

If you haven’t done so already, check out our pension and benefits certificate program offered by our partner, the Human Resources Professional Association (HRPA). It is currently offered in Toronto and you can still sign up for the Spring 2017 sessions.

Once again I wish to thank all our members, supporters and volunteers.

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CPBI Ontario Chair Martin Leclair congratulates Christine van Staden 

The CPBI Ontario’s extensive calendar of events and library of resources are possible thanks to its many dedicated volunteers. On behalf of the CPBI Ontario Regional Council and staff we would like to congratulate and thank Christine van Staden for her leadership and contribution.

Christine serves on the Ontario Region Council and has represented Ontario on the National Board. She has served on countless committees and organized numerous events, including Charing past Benefit Balls and Regional Conferences, including the one recently concluded in Mont Tremblant. Christine has stepped up to the plate again this year and will be Co-Chairing both the Program Committee and the next Conference which will be held in Niagara October 18-20, 2017.

Christine has over 28 years of experience in the pension and benefits industry, both in the U.S. and Canada. In her role as Vice-President, National Accounts, Great-West Life, Christine is responsible for leading the National Accounts team in selling and retaining Group Retirement and Savings business in the large case segment through the consultant channel. She has a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Business Management from the University of Tennessee.

Past CPBI Ontario Volunteer of the Year Recipients

2008 - Wendy Brodkin
2009 - Sonia Mak
2010 - Barry Noble
2011 - Brian White
2012 - Michael Worb
2013 - Martin Leclair
2014 - Carmen Hogan
2015 - Natasha Monkman

Highlights from the 2016 CPBI Ontario & Québec Joint Conference
September 12 -14, 2016, Mont- Tremblant

Ottawa Charity Golf Tournament
2017 CPBI Ontario Conference Save the date: October 18-20, 2017 at the Hilton Fallsview Hotel, Niagara Falls 

Thank you to
CPBI Ontario's 2016

Green Shield Canada 
Manulife Financial 

Equitable Life

Great-West Life
iA Financial Group
Medavie Blue Cross

Desjardins Insurance
Sun Life Financial 

Best Doctors
Eckler Ltd.
SSQ Financial Group 
Sutton Special Risk

On September 28, 2016, over 60 members attended the CPBI London Chapter Fall Update at the Best Western Lamplighter Inn.

Sal Cimino from Green Shield Canada spoke on the effectiveness and potential pitfalls of new anti-obesity drugs were discussed. Also, a discussion on what’s trending on the topic of medical marijuana – including how it’s viewed as a drug, what Health Canada says about it, how it fits into traditional drug plans, and its use being promoted in the health and benefits industry.

Ryan Gibbons from Davis Martindale provided an update on the first significant increase in CPP benefits since the program was launched.

Paula Allen from Morneau Shepell spoke on research based priorities in mental health and disability. The session provided the findings of Morneau Shepell’s recent research on workplace mental health and disability from the viewpoint of employees, employers and physicians. Items covered include demographic trends that will increasingly impact employers’ disability rates, the specific actions that employees believe would have prevented their disability absences, and critical challenges and insights related to mental disability that can directly inform a workplace mental health strategy.

Scott McEvoy, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

On October 26, 2016 Ontario finalized regulations (Amendments) affecting Pension Advisory Committees (PACs). The changes complete the recent public consultation on amended draft regulations that were released on August 22, 2016 for comment by September 12, 2016. The amended regulations, now finalised with minor drafting changes, will come into force on January 1, 2017.

Pension Advisory Committees in Canada

In Canada, the purpose of PACs are set out in the applicable pension standards legislation and include such duties as:
• promoting awareness and understanding of the pension plan;
• making recommendations for improvements in the pension plan;
• reviewing/monitoring of the administrative aspects of the pension plan; and
• attending to other matters as requested by the employer.

The province of Quebec has the most developed governance experience with pension committees including the establishment of committees having responsibility for many aspects of plan administration. Quebec legislation(1) requires that a pension committee be appointed to administer and be responsible for all plan administration.
In Ontario, advisory committees have been a part of the Pension Benefits Act (Ontario) (PBA) for some time although it has never been mandatory to establish a PAC. The PBA contemplates that “members and retired members” of a plan may establish an advisory committee by the simple process of holding a vote and securing a majority of those voting. However many experts and commentators, have been critical that PACs are rarely used for, among other reasons, legal privacy concerns associated with a plan sponsor assisting a PAC in contacting members and retirees.(2)

Ontario’s Changes

The Amendments provide, among other things, the procedures to be followed to establish a PAC, the composition of PAC members, the duties of the PAC and guidance in relation to allocation of the initial and ongoing costs of the PAC.

Establishing a PAC

The Amendments provide a framework and timelines for the Administrator to conduct a secret ballot vote of all members and retired members entitled to participate in the vote to establish a PAC, once it has received notice of intent to establish an advisory committee(3) . At least 10 individuals, each of whom must be either a member or retired member; or by one or more trade unions (if the union or unions represent at least 10 members) have the ability to provide notice to the Administrator of intent to establish a PAC.

Composition, Governance and Duties of the PAC

PACs must be composed of at least four and not more than 15 representatives. Each class of employees represented in a plan has the ability to appoint at least one representative. In the case of a single class of employees two representatives can be appointed, with retired members having the ability to also appoint at least two representatives.

The Administrator has responsibility for discussing the administration of the plan and matters of interest to beneficiaries at a meeting to be held at least twice annually, or one meeting per year if the PAC determines that is sufficient. In the case of defined benefit plans, the administrator must arrange for the plan actuary to meet with the PAC at least annually. The administrator must also ensure that the PAC has access to an individual who can report on the pension fund’s investments. It is unclear from the Amendments as to what standard of care should apply to those additional duties of the administrator. Nor is it clear as to what standard the PAC will be subject for its obligations including preparing and distributing an annual report about its activities to members, former members and other beneficiaries.

In relation to the information concerning a pension fund’s investments, the Amendments provide no guidance, as to the form of such information, metrics or reporting. Investment managers to Ontario registered plans may now be expected to meet with a PAC in addition to the manager’s normal course reporting and meeting requirements, potentially adding another layer of review of plan investments. There are still many questions left unanswered including whether PACs become a more commonplace feature of plan governance in the province of Ontario.

(1) S.147, Supplemental Pensions Plan Act (Quebec)
(2)See for example, Comments contained in the Arthurs Report of the Ontario Expert Commission on Pensions., A Fine Balance, Safe Pensions, Affordable Plans, Fair Rules. October 31, 2008.
(3)The right to establish a PAC does not arise in certain circumstances, for example, where the plan has less than a combined total of at least 50 members or retired members.

Jointly Sponsored by CPBI Ontario and the Human Resources Professionals Association

This intensive three certificate day course is offered at the HRPA‘s Yorkville Conference Center in Toronto on March 21-23, 2017.

Master the basics of Pension Plans and Governance

Compelling reasons to earn your certification:

Retirement Plan arrangements are under increased scrutiny from pension regulators and the corporations that sponsor them. Legal issues concerning Canadian private pension plans have grown in prominence, as well as mounting issues over their adequacy in the context of an ageing population. These concerns have become more acute as a result of the global economic downturn and the poor performance of pension plan investments. A must-attend program for HR professionals, committee members and pension trustees. 

Learn all about the key elements of operating and administering pension plans. Gain a valuable, practical overview of retirement plans, governance and how you can help manage this valuable benefit. Survey the sources of legal obligations relating to pension plan administration and understand best practices to navigate the various aspects of pension plans: fiduciary duties, pension law and regulations, funding, investment management and communications.

Each day builds on the knowledge and skills of the previous level. Complete all three levels and receive your Pension Plans program Certificate.

Level 1 – Introduction to the key elements of a Canadian retirement arrangement and its context

Overview of the retirement system in Canada
Definitions of the various retirement plans used by employers
Regulation of retirement plans
Statutory standards and other governance guidelines of retirement plans
The role of service providers
Investment management
Asset custody

Level 2 – In-depth look into the guiding principles of retirement plans

Income Tax Act requirements
Minimum standards pension legislation
Retirement plan documentation
Actuarial funding and accounting reports
Employment and Family law issues
Investment management for Defined Benefit and Capital Accumulation plans
Employee communication and member support beyond enrollment: making sure the participants understand the true value of their group savings plan

Level 3 – Pension case studies and practical intelligence

Pension disputes
Designing governance structures
Designing governance structures
Investment policies and other governing documents
Real-life fiduciary and actuarial issues /de-risking
Investment management (non-traditional portfolio strategies, investment trends, how to drive a meeting or interview with investment managers)
Audits by regulators
Outlook: a practitioner’s look into the future

<Click here> for more information and to register.

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