This page is intended to provide plan administrators with answers to general pension questions that arise in their day to day pension activities. A notation indicating the month and year of posting follows each answer. New questions and answers will be added as they arise.
The questions and answers are general in nature and may not apply to a specific pension plan or situation. Every effort has been made to provide clear and accurate responses; however, these answers may not be applicable to all situations.
The plan administrator is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the pension plan is administered in accordance with the Pension Benefits Act (PBA). Therefore, the plan administrator is encouraged to seek clarification of specific questions from its service providers or FSCO.
Questions related to a specific pension plan should be addressed to the Pension Officer responsible for that plan. This information is available through FSCO's Pension Plan Information Access. General questions not related to a specific pension plan may be directed to the Contact Centre.
General Questions from Pension Plan Administrators
Questions currently posted here relate to:
Q: Can a pension plan allow a member who has not reached normal retirement age to elect to begin payment of his or her pension while he or she continues employment?
A: No. A member who has not reached normal retirement age must terminate employment before payment of the pension begins. However, a plan can provide that a member who continues employment beyond normal retirement age may choose to begin pension payments. - 05/07
Q: I recently received a Pension Assessment invoice in the mail and have some questions. Where can I get more information on the Pension Assessment?
A: FSCO has created a Pension Assessment - Frequently Asked Questions which answers some of the general questions related to the Pension Assessment. - 02/10
Q: What asset transfer applications do the new rules apply to?
A: The new asset transfer rules apply to asset transfer applications filed with the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) on and after January 1, 2014.
Q: What about asset transfer applications with an effective date prior to January 1, 2014 which have already been filed with FSCO, or are filed prior to January 1, 2014?
A: Asset transfer applications already filed with FSCO, or filed prior to January 1, 2014, will be reviewed in accordance with the legislation applicable prior to January 1, 2014.
Q: Which rules apply to asset transfers with an effective date prior to January 1, 2014, but a filing date after January 1, 2014?
A: Asset transfers with an effective date prior to January 1, 2014, but which are submitted to the Superintendent after that date, will be reviewed in accordance with the new asset transfer rules. The new rules set out in O. Reg. 310/13, prescribe time periods for asset transfer applications. The mandatory notice to members must be provided within 6 months (section 16(2)) of the effective date of the asset transfer. The asset transfer application must be submitted to the Superintendent within 9 months (section 5(3)) of the effective date of the asset transfer. For applications with an effective date prior to January 1, 2014, the Superintendent will apply the time periods in sections 16 and 5 as of January 1, 2014, instead of the effective date of the asset transfer. If these deadlines are not met, the application will be refused.
Q: How is an asset transfer application to be made?
A: Schedule 1 of O. Reg. 310/13 outlines what must be included in the asset transfer application under section 80 of the PBA. Schedule 2 of the Regulation outlines what must be included in the asset transfer application under section 81 of the PBA.
Q: What is to be included in the prescribed notices to members.
A: The content of the prescribed notices is outlined in Schedule 3 through Schedule 11 of O. Reg. 310/13.
Q: Under the new rules, do the pension benefits and other benefits of transferred members in the original pension plan need to be replicated in the successor pension plan?
A: No. The commuted value of the benefits from the original plan must be equivalent to the commuted value of the benefits from the successor plan, but the benefits themselves do not have to be replicated. However, section 14 of O. Reg.310/13 requires that the amount of the accrued pension benefits under the successor pension plan must be at least 85% of the amount of the accrued pension benefits under the original pension plan.
Q: I am a plan member affected by a public service divestment. Do these new rules apply to me?
A: Section 80.1 of the PBA and O. Reg. 308/13, which come into force on January 1, 2014, provide a framework for combining the pension benefits of certain prescribed public sector pension plans where a member of one of these plans subsequently becomes a member of another pension plan as a result of a transfer of employment before January 1, 2014. The public sector plans are:
- Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan
- OMERS Primary Pension Plan
- Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union Pension Plan (OPSEU)
- Public Service Pension Plan
- VON Canada Pension Plan
- Workplace Safety and Insurance Board Employees’ Pension Plan
If you are a member of one of these plans, contact your plan administrator for more information on how the new rules affect your specific situation.
Q: Does FSCO intend to update its position on asset transfers developed following the decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal in Transamerica in light of subsequent court decisions?
A: Whenever there is a court decision that may affect FSCO’s publicly stated position, FSCO staff analyzes the decision and determines whether or not FSCO’s position should be updated.
The decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal in Aegon Canada Inc. et al. v. ING Canada Inc et al. , 179 O.A.C. 196 (Transamerica) had an impact on the manner in which FSCO reviewed applications for transfer of assets from one pension plan to another. The decision confirmed that pension plans may be subject to trust provisions that restrict the capacity of an employer to transfer pension assets to another plan. In such cases an analysis of all relevant trust and plan documentation must be carried out to determine if this is an issue before the Superintendent may consent to an application under section 80 or 81 of the PBA.
FSCO recognizes that the jurisprudence in this area is complex and has been evolving. FSCO has taken particular note of the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Buschau v. Rogers Communications Inc.,  1 S.C.R. 973, which did review the role of trust law in the context of the statutory regulation of pension plans. In FSCO’s view, the judgment did not dispense with the requirement to consider trust issues in relation to asset transfers (see in particular paragraph 52 of the judgment).
As a result, FSCO does not believe that the case law to date has overruled or sufficiently distinguished Transamerica such that the Superintendent would be free to dispense with the requirement for a detailed trust analysis prior to consenting to an application under section 80 or 81 of the PBA where the assets of the relevant trust(s) are held for the exclusive benefit of the beneficiaries.
FSCO’s “Trust Issues on Plan Transfer/Merger” Checklist provides guidance for applicants to demonstrate how pension plans that have exclusive benefit trust language may validly transfer assets to another plan despite such restrictive language. - 06/08
Applications to the Courts
Q: If I bring an application before a court for an order relating to a pension plan, or compliance with a provision of the Pension Benefits Act do I need to inform the Financial Services Commission of Ontario of the application?
A: Yes. FSCO should be informed of any application before a court that involves an interpretation or application of the PBA or Regulation 909. Such applications may include, but are not limited to, applications in respect of whether the pension plan provides for the payment of surplus to the employer on the wind up of the pension plan or an application involving an interpretation of a section of the PBA.
A copy of the court application and supporting documents should be provided to the Pension Officer assigned to the pension plan no later than the date that the application is filed with the court. Upon receipt of such documentation, FSCO will review the material and determine what action, if any, FSCO will take, given the circumstances and the facts provided. It is not necessary to name FSCO or the Superintendent of Financial Services as a party to the proceeding. If appropriate, FSCO will apply to the court to be added to the proceeding.
Any questions should be referred to the Pension Officer assigned to the pension plan. Up-to-date information on Pension Officer assignments is available through Pension Plan Information Access.
FSCO’s pension policies that deal with its involvement in court proceedings are currently under review and will be amended as needed to reflect the position noted here. - 10/08
ptions for Prescribed Filings
Q: I recently received a letter from FSCO about electronic filing and have some questions. Where can I get more information about this?
A: FSCO's FAQs on e-filing through the Pension Services Portal provides answers to some general questions about the option to electronically file all prescribed filings. - 02/12
Re-filing of AIR and PBGF forms
Q: I have submitted both my Form 2 (AIR) and my Form 2.1 (PBGF Assessment Certificate) but now find that I have to revise the information contained in either or both of these forms. How do I make these changes?
A: FSCO's FAQs on submitting re-filing requests through the Pension Services Portal provides answers to questions about re-filing. - 07/13
Agreement Respecting Multi-jurisdictional Pension Plans (MJPPA)
In May 2011, the Governments of Ontario and Quebec announced the signing of the Agreement Respecting Multi-jurisdictional Pension Plans (MJPPA)
. The MJPPA establishes an efficient and transparent regulatory environment for multi-jurisdictional pension plans. The MJPPA will come into effect for Ontario and Quebec from July 1, 2011. - 05/11