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COLLECTED WISDOM™ on Canadian Pension and Retirement Plan Issues

More retirement plan advisors are dealing with Canadian plan issues. We track many of those subjects here.

This archive contains not only the most current material on the topic, but also older items that are still relevant, provide background, perspective or are germane to the topic.

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Mercer Unveils Canadian Retirement Outlook for 2017

Abstract: Mercer launched its 25th Annual Retirement Outlook and Fearless Forecast series with an event in Toronto, projecting the retirement industry is poised for change in 2017 as more employers look at new approaches to meet the evolving pension landscape and employee demands.

Source: Mercer.ca, January 2017

Five New Year's Resolutions for Canadian DC Plan Sponsors

Abstract: In the spirit of New Years' resolutions, here are five "resolutions" that defined contribution pension plan sponsors can undertake in 2017 to ensure their program is even more successful in the year ahead.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, December 2016

Canada's Great Pension Debate?

Abstract: It's not just Canada's pension debate, it's a global pension debate and policymakers around the world better start thinking long and hard of what is in the best interests of their retired and active workers and for their respective economies over the long run.

Source: Pensionpulse.Blogspot.com, November 2016

Witness the Creation of Ontario's Modern Pension Regulator

Abstract: To remain relevant and effective, industry regulators need to stay current. They must be attentive to economic realities, adapt to new technology and evolve with the industries they regulate. Ontario's pension regulator is overdue for a major overhaul that will bring it into the 21st century.

Source: Employmentandlabour.com, November 2016

Canada's OSFI Releases New Guides for DC, DB Disclosure Requirements

Abstract: Canada's Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions has published updated guides for the disclosure requirements of defined contribution and defined benefit plans. The new guides incorporate changes set out in the Pension Benefits Standard Act and the Pension Benefits Standards Regulations.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, October 2016

Top Canadian DC Plans Report: A Look at the Latest Governance Trends

Abstract: DC plan governance is a growing concern for plan sponsors. With all of the changes in mind, here are six key governance trends for employers to be aware of.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, September 2016

Employer Liability Relating to Fees in Employer-Sponsored Retirement and Savings Plans

Abstract: Employers who sponsor retirement and savings plans for their employees should ensure that the fees paid by their employees within the plans are reasonable and adequately disclosed. Lawsuits in the U.S., and a recent regulatory undercover investigation in Canada, serve as a reminder of the risk of employer liability regarding fees. This article describes the risks for Canadian employers, and suggest a few simple things that can be done to reduce those risks.

Source: Employmentandlabour.com, August 2016

U.S. Employers Targeted by Lawsuits Claiming Excessive Fees in Retirement Plans: Could It Happen in Canada?

Abstract: Legal risks have been emphasized by several lawsuits filed against U.S. employers in the last few months. This article provides a brief update on litigation activity in the U.S. which should give pause to Canadian employers who sponsor capital accumulation plans for their employees.

Source: Employmentandlabour.com, August 2016

New Canadian Court Decisions Reinforce Need for Benefit Communications Policy

Abstract: Two recent cases dealing with employee benefits and pensions demonstrate how a benefit communications policy can make a difference to employers.

Source: Employmentandlabour.com, August 2016

62% of Canadians Would Pay for Better Retirement Benefit

Abstract: Nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) of Canadian employees would be willing to pay more out of their paycheque in order to receive a more generous retirement benefit, according to a survey by Willis Towers Watson. The survey, which polled more than 2,000 Canadian employees, found a slightly higher number (65 per cent) would be willing to pay more in order to receive a pension that was guaranteed for life.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, June 2016

Why Canadian HR Professionals Should Demand a Benefit Communications Policy

Abstract: Canadian courts and arbitrators have shown an increasing propensity to award damages, or provide restitution, to employees where it can be shown that employer communications are untrue, inaccurate, misleading, ambiguous or omit important details. The challenge for employers, therefore, is how best to effectively communicate the excellent pension and benefit programs while minimizing potential legal liability and ensuring that proposed future changes to those programs won't be hampered by the phantoms of past communications.

Source: Employmentandlabour.com, June 2016

Communication Key to Strong Participation in Goodyear Canada Retirement Options

Abstract: Communication and a willingness to consider diverse groups have been key as Goodyear Canada has embarked on changes to its retirement offerings. New employees have the opportunity to join the defined contribution plan when they first join the company. The group registered retirement savings plan is voluntary, but 75 per cent of staff are currently enrolled in it.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, May 2016

Plan Design Can Boost Employee Contributions to Canadian Group Retirement Plans

Abstract: Better strategic design of group retirement plans and raising contribution rates can help employers improve employees' retirement savings, according to the 2015 Capital Accumulation Plan (CAP) Benchmark Report.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, February 2016

Canadians' Retirement Savings Wholly Inadequate

Abstract: The value of retirement assets of Canadians aged between 55 and 64 without an employer pension is "wholly inadequate" at an overall median value of just $3,000, according to a new report.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, February 2016

Canadian Employers Want to Help Employees in Retirement

Abstract: Employers are revisiting how they view their retirement programs and how they view their role when active employees become retirees, said Nigel Branker, partner and leader of Morneau Shepell's DC pension consulting practice in Ontario. But the survey of the same name reports that 21% of employers want to reduce the costs and risks in their retirement plans.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, November 2015

Is Your Canadian Pension Plan Compliant With B.C.'s New PBSA?

Abstract: It doesn't take much to make a B.C. registered pension plan (or a plan registered in another provincial jurisdiction with B.C. members) quickly become non-compliant with B.C.'s new Pension Benefits Standard Act (PBSA).

Source: Benefitscanada.com, November 2015

The Liberals Have Won. Should You Worry About the TFSA?

Abstract: The Conservative decade is over. The Liberals won all 33 seats in Atlantic Canada, and 184 overall, with 170 needed for a majority. What does it mean for Canada's Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)?

Source: Benefitscanada.com, October 2015

B.C. Introduces New Pension Standards

Abstract: The British Columbia government is announcing new standards for workplace pension plans, creating options that could be activated even before an employee retires.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, October 2015

ETFs in Times of Extreme Stress

Abstract: As investors reeled from big market gyrations in August, some holders of ETFs were startled by the sharp difference between the price of their equity ETF shares and the value of the underlying stocks. That's according to an article recently published in The Wall Street Journal that looks at the behavior of ETFs on Aug. 24, the day the S&P 500 plunged 3.9%.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, September 2015

Questioning Canadian Retirement Policies

Abstract: A CBC news report noted "Canada scores poorly among developed countries in providing public pensions to seniors, according to an internal analysis of retirement income by the federal government. And voluntary tax-free savings accounts or TFSAs, introduced by the Harper Conservatives in 2009, are so far unproven as a retirement solution." Author agrees and suggests that "there isn't much thinking going on in Ottawa when it comes to bolstering Canada's retirement system."

Source: Pensionpulse.Blogspot.com, August 2015

Ontario Demands Feds Co-Operate on ORPP

Abstract: Ontario wants the federal government to reverse its decision not to assist with the implementation of the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, August 2015

Ontario's Pension Power Grab?

Abstract: A new Fraser Institute report raises serious questions about the veracity of the Ontario government's claim that a new provincial pension plan, intended as a supplement or alternative to restructuring and expanding the Canada Pension Plan, is needed because of a savings shortfall among retiring Ontarians.

Source: Pensionpulse.Blogspot.com, July 2015

Canada Gets a Pension Proposal No One Asked For

Abstract: Both cynics and more trusting analysts are crying electioneering to explain an out-of-left-field policy pronouncement on voluntary retirement benefit options in Canada. On May 26 Canadian Finance Minister Joe Oliver offered a proposal that would allow Canadians to make greater voluntary payments to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). There would be no change in the mandatory contribution.

Source: Institutionalinvestor.com, June 2015

Canadians Confused About TFSAs

Abstract: Six years after TFSAs (Tax-Free Savings Account) were introduced, a Mackenzie Investments survey finds many Canadians still don't understand how they work. They're still not familiar with the basic elements of the program, meaning they risk not using their accounts to the fullest.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, June 2015

B.C. Finally Gets Its New Pension Benefits Standards Act

Abstract: At long last, many of the recommendations of the Joint Expert Panel on Pension Standards (JEPPS) included in its November 2008 final report entitled Getting Our Acts Together will see the light of day in British Columbia.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, May 2015

Most Canadians Expect to Semi-retire or Not Stop Working

Abstract: The report by HSBC found that 45% of working-age Canadians expect some period of semi-retirement before fully packing it in, while another 15% expect to never be able to fully retire.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, April 2015

Should Canadians Take Advantage of Lower RRIF Withdrawal Rates?

Abstract: Organizations like CARP and CPA Canada have been lobbying for years to lower the rate of, or even eliminate, mandatory RRIF (Registered Retirement Income Fund) withdrawals. Part of their efforts have paid off. The federal government announced it would lower the required RRIF withdrawal rate at age 71 to 5.28%, from 7.38%. While industry experts agree the move is a victory, it's a small one at that.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, April 2015

Canada: Changes to Federal Pension Benefits Standards Act Regulations

Abstract: The Canadian federal government finalized amendments to the Pension Benefits Standards Act Regulations addressing six issues. Changes were enacted on April 1, 2015, with exception of investment rule changes that take effect on July 1, 2016.

Source: Xerox.com, April 2015

Canadian Pension Investment Regulations Finalized

Abstract: The federal government recently released the final draft of the new investment regulations Canadian registered pension plans will be subject to. The new rules also apply to those pension plans whose governing provincial legislation incorporates Schedule III.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, March 2015

Canadians Need Help With Their Retirement Portfolios

Abstract: Half of Canadians say they need help with their retirement portfolios, finds a BMO Global Asset Management study. When asked to identify the top retirement planning issues where they need help, 56% say they need assistance with deciding which investments best suit their needs.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, February 2015

Nine in 10 Canadian DC Plan Sponsors Meet Their CAP Goals

Abstract: Ninety-seven per cent of defined contribution plan sponsors and 90 per cent of registered retirement savings plan sponsors say their plans are meeting their original Capital Accumulation Plan (CAP) objectives, reveals the Great-West Life study, 2014 CAP Benchmark Report.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, February 2015

Canadians Without a Pension Aren't Saving More

Abstract: Families without registered pension plans (RPPs) aren't fully compensating for their lack of RPP coverage through increased savings in other assets, says Statistics Canada.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, January 2015

Canadians Want to Pay Down Debt

Abstract: A new poll show that retirement planning is declining in importance compared to more immediate financial concerns. Canadians nearing retirement age have significantly shifted their focus to reducing debt.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, December 2014

A Canadian Perspective on Socially Responsible Investment and Fiduciary Duty

Abstract: Some have read the High Court of England's seminal decision in Cowan v. Scargill to suggest that a Canadian plan administrator's fiduciary duty does not allow it to engage in socially responsible investment. The court was careful not to go this far. Nevertheless, following Cowan and even today, administrators struggle with how, if at all, to incorporate SRI into their investment decisions, and whether doing so exposes them to legal risk.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, November 2014

Why Don't More Independent Canadian Businesses Have Group Retirement Plans?

Abstract: Most business owners and HR champions of independent Canadian businesses know the benefits of offering a group retirement plan to their employees, but many have never found the time or the appropriate plan for their employees. Article deals with some common challenges faced by most independent businesses regarding finding and implementing the appropriate group retirement plan.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, November 2014

2014 CAP Member Survey: Financial Preparedness for Retirement

Abstract: Canadian employers that provide capital accumulation plans to help employees save for retirement may want to double check on their plan members' perceptions of retirement readiness. This year's CAP Member Survey found a significant gap between sponsors' and members' beliefs and expectations.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, November 2014

Retirement Elusive for Many Canadians

Abstract: A new LIMRA Secure Retirement Industry report finds that nearly a third of Canadians aged 55 to 70 do not know when they will retire. The oldest members of the group (ages 65 to 70) are the most undecided about when they will retire, with about one in 10 having no intention of ever retiring.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, November 2014

IRS Simplifies Procedures for Favorable Tax Treatment on Canadian Retirement Plans

Abstract: The Internal Revenue Service just made it easier for taxpayers who hold interests in either of two popular Canadian retirement plans to get favorable U.S. tax treatment and took additional steps to simplify procedures for U.S. taxpayers with these plans.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, October 2014

IRS Simplifies Rules for Participants in Canadian Plans -- Or Does it?

Abstract: Under the US-Canada Income Tax Treaty, U.S. taxpayers who participate in Canadian registered retirement savings plans and registered retirement income funds are not required to pay tax on the annual income and investment gains on their accounts. Tax is owed only when distributions are received from the accounts. However, in order to claim this special tax treatment, participants were required to file Form 8891 annually. Many haven't and the IRS has issued a 'solution.'

Source: Pensionsbenefitslaw.com, October 2014

More Canadians Expect to Delay Retirement

Abstract: More employees expect to retire later than originally planned, according to a survey. The Canadian Payroll Association's sixth annual National Payroll Week Research Survey finds that 79% of employees expect to delay retirement until age 60 or older, up from 70% over the past three years. The number one reason cited for retiring later in life is that employees are not able to save enough money.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, September 2014

Canadian Pension Reform: The Long View

Abstract: Policymakers often worry that increasing government pension benefits won't necessarily help retirees, if the reforms cause workers to change their behavior in ways that counteract them. However, researchers examining Canada's pension reform over five decades confirm that they have materially improved the financial well-being of retirees there.

Source: Bc.edu, September 2014

Canadians Say Their Savings Habits Are Poor

Abstract: Many admit there's a lot of room for improvement when it comes to their savings habits and financial goals, finds a survey by Tangerine. When asked to grade their savings habits, 46% gave themselves a "C" or lower, saying they need to get back on track or haven't yet started saving this year. And 46% of people surveyed also admitted they don't have a regular savings plan set up to put aside money each month.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, August 2014

Help Your Retiring DC Members

Abstract: The fear of increased fiduciary responsibility has kept most Canadian plan sponsors away from helping members past the accumulation phase of their group retirement and savings arrangements. Yet we are seeing more and more sponsors dip their toes in the water and get involved.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, August 2014

Canadians Now Invest 14% of Their Income

Abstract: Rising stock markets are boosting investor confidence and leading Canadians to increase the share of income they invest, according to the latest TD Investor Insights Index. The annual survey finds that more than half of Canadian investors saw their investments improve over the past 12 months, and nearly as many expect continued gains in the year ahead.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, July 2014

Would Canadian Pension Funds Use ETF Strategists?

Abstract: For Canadian pension funds just beginning to consider the uses of ETFs, strategists might have an even tougher job getting a foot in the door. But it's worth expanding the discussion -- even just to see how active mixes of ETFs can work together in a single portfolio.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, June 2014

Canadian DC Retirement Income Levels Decline

Abstract: Replacement income levels generated by capital accumulation plans declined to 63% in the first quarter of 2014, according to Eckler's Capital Accumulation Plan Income Tracker. While investment returns were strong in the quarter, the drop was driven by a combination of lower interest rates, which raised annuity prices and wage increases.

Source: Belfint.com, May 2014

Canada's Proposed Hybrid Pension Plans Getting Mixed Reviews

Abstract: The Canadian government's proposal for its new hybrid pension plan is receiving mixed reviews, with some pension experts in favor and labor groups opposed. Kevin Sorensen, the federal minister of state for finance, unveiled the Target Benefit Plans during a keynote address to the Economic Club of Canada. "Target Benefit Plans are a new, innovative proposal that will help support affordable and sustainable pensions for Canadians," he said.

Source: Benefitspro.com, April 2014

Video: Canadian Plan Sponsor Reporting

Abstract: During Benefits Canada's annual DC Plan Summit, plan sponsors participated in interactive sessions. They split into small groups and were given questions to discuss. Based on these discussions, moderators later offered their insights and relayed key takeaways. This video shares the best ideas from the topics discussed.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, April 2014

CAPSA Releases Final Guideline -- Canadian DC Plans

Abstract: On March 28, 2014, the Canadian Association of Pension Supervisory Authorities released the Defined Contribution Pension Plans Guideline. While CAPSA's guidelines do not have the force of law, these guidelines may be used as a benchmark by the courts and/or regulators to assess whether a DC plan administrator has fulfilled its fiduciary obligations.

Source: Pensionsbenefitslaw.com, April 2014

Canadian Workers Worried About Retirement

Abstract: While Canadian workers feel their financial situation has improved in the last two years, a survey finds that financial security is still a top concern. According to the Towers Watson Global Benefits Attitude Survey, half of the respondents under the age of 50 are worried about their current and future financial states.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, February 2014

Debt Stops Canadians From Saving for Retirement

Abstract: As Canadians struggle with high levels of household debt, saving for retirement is taking a back seat for many employees -- yet, on average, Canadians expect about one-quarter of their retirement income to come from personal savings. This is according to the 2014 Sun Life Canadian Unretirement Index.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, February 2014

Canadian DB Pension Coverage Continues to Drop

Abstract: A fact sheet from the Office of the Chief Actuary shows that the shift to DC from DB is continuing. The proportion of active registered pension plan (RPP) members in DB plans has declined to 73% from 83% in the 10-year period between 2001 and 2011. And the reduction in DB coverage in the private sector has plunged to 51% from 74% in a decade while it has remained stable at 94% in the public sector.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, February 2014

Affluent Canadians Need $2.3 Million to Retire

Abstract: High net worth Canadians say they require, on average, $2.3 million to be able to live out their ideal retirement lifestyle, according to a study by BMO Harris Private Banking. This amount is two and half times more than the $908,000 average that Canadians as a whole -- irrespective of income level -- identified as the optimal amount required for retirement

Source: Benefitscanada.com, January 2014

More Than Half of Canadians Don't Have a TFSA

Abstract: Fifty-three percent of Canadians still haven't opened a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), and 42% of those without one don't intend to open one this year, according to an ING Direct survey. For 52% of those who still don't have a TFSA, not having money to contribute was cited as the main reason they haven't opened one.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, January 2014


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