FSRA releases its final Pension Plan Amendments Guidance

Final revised Guidance on Pension Plan Amendments to safeguard Ontario Pension Plan Beneficiaries: What you need to know

Ontario’s financial services regulator, FSRA, is releasing its final revised Pension Plan Amendments Guidance that promotes the good management of pension plans and protects the rights of beneficiaries.

Plan administrators must handle amendments in line with their fiduciary duties under the Pension Benefits Act (PBA).

The updated guidance aims to inform stakeholders of how FSRA interprets and administers PBA provisions related to certain pension plan amendments. Retroactive amendments that could have a negative impact on plan members or beneficiaries, such as changes in contribution rates, will generally not be permitted by FSRA. This is subject to limited exceptions.

"With the release of its final guidance on pension plan amendments, FSRA is taking proactive steps to ensure clarity and transparency within Ontario's financial landscape,” says Andrew Fung, FSRA’s Executive Vice President, Pensions. “FSRA carefully considered all stakeholder feedback and, with this guidance, has ensured alignment with its mandate to safeguard pension plan beneficiaries."

The guidance addresses:

  • retroactive amendments, including those to correct drafting errors
  • amendments replacing a variable indexation formula with a fixed rate for already accrued benefits
  • notice requirements for certain adverse amendments, including a technical amendment

Following two public consultations and carefully considering feedback from various stakeholders, FSRA has revised the Guidance to enhance clarity and transparency.

FSRA would like to thank all stakeholders for their input. The summary report of feedback is now available, and an invitation to an upcoming webinar will be sent out shortly.

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FSRA continues to work on behalf of all stakeholders, including pension beneficiaries, to ensure financial safety, fairness, and choice for everyone.

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