Category: New Brunswick
New Brunswick has introduced Bill 22, The Pooled Registered Pension Plans Act, for first reading. The Bill sets out the framework for pooled registered pension plans (PRPP) in New Brunswick.
New Brunswick is the latest jurisdiction to implement PRPPs. To recap, the federal, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan governments have implemented PRPPs and signed the Multilateral Agreement Respecting Pooled Registered Pension Plans and Voluntary Retirement Savings Plans . . .
On October 25, 2017, New Brunswick introduced two Bills which include amendments to its Pension Benefits Act (PBA): Bill 7, An Act to Amend the Pension Benefits Act and Bill 8, An Act Respecting the Financial and Consumer Services Tribunals.
The amendments provide temporary solvency funding relief for multi-jurisdictional defined benefit pension plans. In particular, the amendments extend the period for special payments from 5 to 10 years, and permit consolidation of previous solvency funding deficiencies. The solvency funding relief applies to a valuation report with a review date between December 31, 2016 and December 31, 2018.
Levesque v. New Brunswick, 2017 NBQB 180 – Pension Investment Board Member Taints Litigation re Shared Risk Plan
In 2013, the New Brunswick government amended its Public Service Superannuation Act and Pension Benefits Act, converting the Public Service Superannuation Pension Plan (Plan) to a shared risk plan. Levesque, a retired member of the Plan, commenced an action against New Brunswick Investment Management Corporation (NBIMC), the Province of New Brunswick and certain other parties, essentially arguing that the the Court should recognize and enforce his right to a defined benefit pension plan.
The New Brunswick Financial and Consumer Services Commission has published Bulletin 2017-02 regarding regulatory filings. As of October 15, 2017, the Commission will no longer accept paper filings.
As I reported earlier, New Brunswick has moved to an online portal. Going forward, all filings and applications must be submitted via the portal.
The Bulletin includes instructions on how to . . .
United Steelworkers, Local 7085 v. Brunswick Smelter, Glencore Canada Corporation, 2017 CanLII 20338 (G. Couturier) – Employee Dismissals Not Prohibited by Plan Terms or Duty to Accommodate
Two employees of the Brunswick Smelter had their employment terminated. The employees had been absent from work due to disability for between six and eight years, and there was no possibility of either employee ever returning to work. Thus, the employer was of the view that no further accommodation was possible and dismissed them on the basis of frustration of contract and prolonged innocent absenteeism.
Upon their termination, the employees' group benefits, supplementary health benefits and pension service contributions all stopped. Provided that they continued to be eligible, their long-term disability (LTD) benefits would continue.
Plourde v. Brookfield Asset Management Inc., 2016 NBQB 171 – Pension Claim Against Purchaser of Bankrupt Mill Dismissed
Around the time that Plourde retired from Fraser Papers Inc., the company filed for protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA). Fraser Papers subsequently sold the pulp mill where Plourde used to work to Twin Rivers Paper Company Inc. (Twin Rivers).
After his retirement, Plourde's benefits from the Fraser Papers pension plan were reduced. Plourde commenced an action against Twin Rivers and Brookfield Asset Management Inc., which had previously held shares in Twin Rivers, arguing that they were responsible for his pension loss.
The New Brunswick Financial and Consumer Services Commission has posted a series of FAQs, webinars and guides on its new pension portal. The portal is to be used to register pension plans, and file plan amendments, annual information reports, actuarial valuation reports and other regulatory filings . . .
Flashback: New Brunswick (Human Rights Commission) v. Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc.,  2 SCR 604 – Test for Bona Fide Pension Plan
Ed. Note: On “Flashbacks Fridays” I report on cases that pre-date this service, expanding upon Optimize Pension’s collection of case law for future research purposes.
The employee filed a human rights complaint with the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission after he was asked to retire at age 65 pursuant to the mandatory retirement policy contained in his employer’s pension plan. Under the New Brunswick Human Rights Code (the Code), the age discrimination provisions do not to apply to a termination of employment if the decision was made pursuant to a bona fide retirement or pension plan. At issue in this case was "what test is triggered by the use of the phrase “bona fide” in connection with a pension plan in the Code."
Fredericton Police Association v. Superintendent of Pensions, 2016 NB FCST 2 – Tribunal Takes Issue with Superintendent Process and Orders Change to Asset Transfer Valuation Method
This is the latest decision related to the ongoing dispute between the Fredericton Police and Fire Fighters' Associations and the City of Fredericton with respect to the City's defined benefit pension plan. First, some background:
- The City's original DB plan had been funded on a going concern basis only, as it was exempt from solvency funding requirements.
- In 2011, the City attempted to address the plan's funding deficit by: increasing pension contributions, reducing indexing and changing the definition of “pensionable earnings”.
- The Police and Fire Fighters launched a number of proceedings before the New Brunswick Labour & Employment Board. First, in response to the change to "pensionable earnings" and then in response to the City of Fredericton's 2013 decision to convert the plan from a DB to a shared risk plan.
- The Labour Board issued an order essentially prohibiting the City from transferring the Police and Fire Fighters into the shared-risk plan.
- This resulted in the splitting of the original plan into two plans: a new DB plan for Police and Fire Fighters (the Police and Fire Plan) and the conversion of the original plan into a shared-risk plan for the remainder of the City employees.
- The assets and liabilities were split between the two plans in accordance with an actuarial report that was subsequently approved by the New Brunswick Superintendent of Pensions.