Accessing Pension Plan Records – For Plan Beneficiaries

Available Pension Plan Records
 
A plan beneficiary has a right to access the following plan records:  
 
  • current and previous versions of the plan text;
  • any amendments to the pension plan;
  • documents that must be filed in support of an application for plan registration or amendments (e.g., trust agreements, insurance contracts, member booklets, etc.);
  • copies of filings, reports or statements that are required to be filed with the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) (e.g., annual information returns, financial statements, actuarial valuation reports, etc.);
  • documents that delegate the administration of the pension plan or pension fund;
  • correspondence between the pension plan administrator, the administrator’s service provider, and FSCO staff within the last five years before the date of the request (correspondence relating to individual plan beneficiaries is exempt);
  • copies of any statement of investment policies and procedures; and
  • the parts of an agreement that concern the purchase and sale of a business, or the assets of a business that relate to the pension plan.
A plan beneficiary may appoint a representative in writing, to view records on his/her behalf. As such, the same plan records are available to the representative.
 
Accessing Plan Records
 
A written request should be made to the plan administrator, if a plan beneficiary wants to inspect or obtain a copy of the plan records.
 
Records can only be inspected once in a calendar year. They must be made available at the plan beneficiary’s current or former place of employment, or another location that is mutually agreed upon by both the plan beneficiary and administrator.
 
The administrator cannot charge the plan beneficiary for inspecting the plan records or making copies of the records at the place of inspection, but may charge a reasonable fee for providing photocopies.
 
If the administrator does not respond to the plan beneficiary’s written request to access the plan records within 30 days of receipt, FSCO staff may be contacted for assistance.
 
Making a Request to FSCO to Access Plan Records
 
FSCO does not keep personal data about individual plan beneficiaries. Detailed information about the plan beneficiary’s membership in the pension plan (e.g., copies of pension statements) can only be obtained from the administrator.
 
Plan beneficiaries may contact FSCO to make an appointment to inspect plan records that are filed with FSCO.
 
Make an Appointment with FSCO
 
The plan beneficiary must send a letter or e-mail to FSCO with the following information:
 
  1. Name and telephone number of the plan beneficiary.
  2.  
  3. The plan beneficiary’s relation to the plan (i.e., identify if he/she is the plan member or spouse of the member, etc.)
  4.  
  5. Name and registration number of the pension plan.
  6.  
  7. A list of plan records that the plan beneficiary would like to inspect and the time period for those records (e.g., plan texts and amendments from year 2000).
  8.  
  9. A written statement from the plan beneficiary that authorizes his/her representative to view the plan records on his/her behalf (if applicable).
  10.  
  11. A copy of the active, former or retired plan member’s proof of plan membership (e.g., a copy of a pension statement, T4 or T4A slip).
If the plan beneficiary is the spouse of an active, former or retired plan member, he/she must also attach proof of his/her spousal relationship to the member, as applicable (e.g., a copy of a marriage certificate; a beneficiary designation statement; or a written statement from the active, former or retired plan member that identifies the individual as his/her spouse).
 
Appointment Times
 
FSCO will contact the plan beneficiary to arrange a date and time for inspecting the requested plan records. Appointments are generally held in the morning between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., or in the afternoon between 1:15 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. If requests are made for large files, full day appointments are available as bookings permit.
 
On the Day of the Appointment
 
On the day of the appointment, the plan beneficiary or representative must bring photo identification (e.g., driver’s licence).
 
Plan records may be photocopied for a fee of 50 cents per page, with a minimum charge of $5. An invoice for the photocopies will be provided after the appointment. Payment must be made to FSCO within one month of issuance of the invoice. Acceptable forms of payment include cash (only when payment is made at FSCO’s offices), cheque or money order. (Cheques and money orders are to be made payable to the Minister of Finance.)
 
Requesting Plan Records by Mail
 
If a small number of pages are requested, FSCO may provide copies of plan records by mail. The request must be made in writing and include the same information that is required for making an appointment with FSCO.
 
An invoice for the cost of the photocopies will be mailed to the plan beneficiary. The cost is 50 cents per page, with a minimum charge of $5. Once FSCO has received payment, copies of the records will be mailed to the plan beneficiary.
 
If Required Documentation is Unavailable
 
If proof of plan membership or other required documentation is unavailable, the plan beneficiary may request access to plan records through the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) at the contact information below. (The process for making the request is available on the IPC’s website under the "Access to Information" section.)
 
Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario
2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400
Toronto ON M4W 1A8
 
Telephone: (416) 326-3333 (toll-free 1-800-387-0073)
Fax: (416) 325-9195
TTY: (416) 325-7539
Website: www.ipc.on.ca

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