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November 2019

Bill 132: amendments to the Pension Benefits Act of Ontario

On October 28, 2019, Bill 132 (An Act to reduce burdens on people and businesses by enacting, amending and repealing various Acts and revoking various Regulations) was introduced in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

Bill 132 aims to amend many statutes, including the Pension Benefits Act of Ontario (“PBA”).

Some of the proposed amendments follow measures that were announced in the 2019 Ontario Budget (see our bulletin – 2019 Ontario Budget – Pension Plan Highlights), such as electronic communications of documents that pension plan administrators are required to send pursuant to the PBA, the regulations or the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (“FSRA”) rules.

Electronic communications

In a nutshell, Bill 132’s proposed changes to the PBA concerning electronic communications provide that:

  • The member or former member (“member”) is deemed to consent to receive certain documents sent by the administrator in electronic form, provided certain conditions are met, such as the receipt of a prior notice sent by regular mail to the member’s last known address and the ability of the member to instruct at any time the administrator to send documents in a written form other than electronic;
  • An additional notice must be sent to such members, by regular mail to their last known address and also in an electronic form, when they become retired members setting out, notably, their last known email address and a statement that the retired members may instruct at any time the administrator to send documents in a written form other than electronic;
  • The administrator may not send a document in electronic form if it contains personal information, unless the administrator sends the document by way of a secure information system that, amongst others, requires the intended recipients to identify themselves prior to accessing the document.
Other changes

Other changes to the PBA are contemplated by Bill 132 which notably concern:

  • Waiver of written statements to missing former and retired members according to certain factors
  • Administration of jointly sponsored pension plans and documentation creating such plans
  • Certain conversion-related processes from a single employer plan to a jointly sponsored pension plan
  • FSRA rule-making authority respecting certain aspects of a lump sum transfer or division of a pension
  • Family law matters to address the manner in which a statement of imputed value may be obtained where pension assets cease to be available
  • New means for giving, serving or delivering notices, orders or other documents under the PBA, including by email or other electronic form.
Next steps

Bill 132 has not yet gone through the whole legislative process to become law. Other steps must be completed before its final adoption. The final version of Bill 132 could thus differ from its current version.

The Normandin Beaudry consultants will continue to monitor developments relating to Bill 132 and will keep you informed. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.