Ottawa, October 27, 2009
2009-103

Archived - Minister of Finance Modernizes Federal Pension Framework

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The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today released an important reform plan for the federal private pension legislative and regulatory framework.

"Our Government has listened carefully to Canadians," said Minister Flaherty. "We understand the value of secure and sustainable pension plans. We are proposing a balanced package of measures for the benefit of pension plan sponsors, plan members and retirees."

Today’s announcement comes out of extensive consultations with Canadians, beginning with the January release of a discussion paper, Strengthening the Legislative and Regulatory Framework for Private Pension Plans Subject to the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985, and including online consultations.

In March and April, Ted Menzies, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, chaired a series of national public and private consultation meetings across Canada to hear the views of Canadians on strengthening the framework.

The package includes measures to:

"These reforms will provide enhanced benefit security for workers and retirees while allowing pension plan sponsors to better manage their funding obligations as part of their overall business operations," said Minister Flaherty.

In particular, the Government plans to restrict an employer’s ability to take a contribution holiday unless a 5-per-cent funding cushion remains, change the solvency funding methodology to make it less volatile and less pro-cyclical by basing the funding requirements on a three-year average, and require employers to fully fund pension benefits on plan termination.

In addition, the Government intends to increase the pension surplus threshold under the Income Tax Act, which applies to both federally and provincially regulated defined benefit plans, to 25 per cent from 10 per cent.

The proposed changes are aimed at federally regulated private pension plans, which represent about 7 per cent of pension plans in Canada.

While some of the proposed changes can be introduced by changes to regulation, others will be implemented by legislation, which is expected to be introduced in Parliament.

Protecting seniors is a priority for the Government. In addition to these pension framework modernizations, the Government has taken action by:

This builds on our Government’s four-year record on seniors’ issues, which provides $1.9 billion annually in tax relief to seniors and pensioners, including:

In addition, the new Tax-Free Savings Account will provide additional tax-efficient savings opportunities for all Canadians, including seniors.

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For further information, media may contact:

Chisholm Pothier
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance
613-996-7861

Jack Aubry
Media Relations
Department of Finance
613-996-8080

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