Purpose of consultation

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) is taking steps to help ensure that pension plan administrators are following the provisions of the Pension Benefits Act. FSRA is revising its Pension Plan Amendments Guidance after receiving substantive feedback from stakeholders during its second consultation in Fall/Winter 2023.

The Pension Plan Amendments Guidance outlines for plan administrators:

  1. FSRA’s interpretation and approach to certain Pension Benefits Act (PBA) provisions relating to retroactive adverse amendments
  2. FSRA’s approach to amendments that purport to replace a variable indexation formula with a fixed indexation rate for benefits already accrued
  3. FSRA’s approach to notice requirements for certain adverse amendments

Outcome of consultation:

As a result of FSRA’s second consultation, the following changes have been reflected in the final version of the Guidance:

  • updated the language to clarify purpose and scope of Guidance, including the scope of application of the Guidance to certain plan types (Purpose section and footnotes under the Scope, Interpretation and Approach sections)
  • updated certain language to provide great clarity and transparency relating to FSRA’s interpretation and approach on the topic of “Retroactive Adverse Amendments.”
  • updated language to encourage administrators to contact FSRA where there are special circumstances, such as wind up, that may exist in the context of the question of replacing a variable indexation formula (Replacing a variable indexation formula with a fixed rate section)
  • updated language to clarify references to certain statutory obligations (Notice requirements for prospective adverse amendments section)

The Guidance will be effective upon publication and will replace the version released in August 2022.

Feedback from the sector:

FSRA received 16 submissions with feedback on the Guidance during or following the consultation period. The most recent consultation began on November 14, 2023 and ended on January 19, 2024. The submissions and comments are also available on FSRA’s website. In the case of two submissions, there were multiple signatories to the submission. In another case, multiple stakeholders wrote in separately endorsing a single submission.

FSRA thanks all commenters. FSRA carefully considered all comments before finalizing and issuing the Guidance.


The following stakeholders took the time to share their perspectives with FSRA:

  Organization Commenter
1. Multi-Employer Benefit Plan Council of Canada (MEBCO) Alex McKinnon, President
2. Canadian Benefits Law J.D. Vincent, Founder
3. N/A Terry Searles
4. Ontario Bar Association (OBA) Tyler Jensen, Senior Policy Counsel
5. Mercer Anastasia Soldatos, Principal
6. Segal Kevin Rozek, Senior Vice President, Canadian Business Leader
7. Canadian Life & Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) Noeline Simon, VP Taxation, Pension and Reporting
8. Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP Andrea Boctor, Partner, Chair, Pensions and Benefits
9. McCarthy Tetrault LLP Susan Nickerson, Partner, Head, Pensions, Benefits, & Executive Compensation
10. Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP Jeff Sommers, Partner
11. Stikeman Elliott LLP Natasha vandenHoven, Partner, Head of the Pensions & Benefits Group
12. Brown Mills Klinck Prezioso LLP Lindsay McLeod, Partner
13. Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP Ross Gascho, Partner, Leader, Pensions and Benefits; Allyson Marta, Partner
14. Torys LLP Stephanie Kalinowski, Partner
15. The Association of Canadian Pension Management (ACPM) Ric Marrero, CEO; Karen Burnett Chair, Ontario Regional Council
16. Willis Towers Watson Rohan Kumar, Director-Retirement-Actuarial; Michelle Rival, Director-Retirement
17. Ontario Federation of Labour Laura Walton, President
18. Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Fred Hahn, President
19. United Steelworkers Local Union 1005 Ron Wells, President
20. Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) JP Hornick, President
21. United Steelworkers Local Union 2251 Mike D Prat, President
22. Cavalluzzo LLP Cynthia Crysler, Partner, Leader, Pensions and Benefits
23. Goldblatt Partners LLP Susan Philpott, Partner
24. Koskie Minsky LLP James Harnum, Partner
25. Ursel Phillips Fellows Hopkinson LLP Karen Ensslen, Lawyer
26. Wright Henry LLP Danielle Stampley, Partner

Feedback summary and FSRA’s responses: