Government encouraging wider private-sector pension coverage

VICTORIA – The Province has introduced legislation to modernize the Pension Benefits Standards Act and allow the private sector to offer a wider choice of pension-plan options so that more British Columbians can have access to pension income during their retirement years.

Bill 38 brings improvements to pension legislation by reducing administrative costs and will enhance the rights of pension plan members, including immediate entitlement to employer-paid contributions and more information about how a plan is operating. The bill will extend the same right to receive plan information to retired members.

In addition, it establishes a framework that will give former pension plan members the option of withdrawing “locked-in” funds in a Registered Retirement Savings Plan or life income fund in cases of financial hardship.

The changes permit innovative alternatives to existing plans, such as jointly sponsored cost-sharing pension plans and target benefit plans. Under the jointly sponsored cost-sharing plan model, similar to what currently exists in public-sector pension plans, employers and employees would contribute equally to all elements of the pension plan.

Other key amendments include requiring governance and funding policies for defined benefit and target benefit plans.

This bill provides the superintendent of pensions, the Province’s pension regulator, with new tools, including the power to levy administrative penalties and appoint replacement administrators or actuaries.

Other key amendments include requiring governance and funding policies for defined benefit and target benefit plans.

The changes will also ensure that legislative support exists for the regulation of pension plans that have members located in more than one province.

Ministry of Finance

2012-04-30T22:58:44+00:00