The Ontario Superintendent of Financial Services has selected Morneau Shepell Ltd. to take over the administration of Sears Canada Inc.’s pension plan.

Following the announcement earlier this month that the company will seek a liquidation order from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the superintendent has determined a plan windup is inevitable, according to a release.

Effective immediately, Morneau Shepell will take over administration of the plan and will be in touch with all plan members in the coming months.

Read: Sears liquidation a vindication for pensioners’ move to force DB windup

“Given the appointment today of a replacement pension plan administrator by the Ontario Superintendent of Financial Services and the fact that the liquidation is proceeding without a going-concern solution, we will be discussing the future of the Sears pension plan with the superintendent to achieve the best outcome for the pension plan members,” said Andrew Hatnay, a partner at Koskie Minsky LLP, the firm appointed as representative counsel for all of Sears Canada’s retirees.

Regarding the change, a release from Sears Canada noted it “welcomes the appointment of Morneau Shepell, with whom the company is working closely to ensure a smooth transition of plan administration so that there is minimal impact on plan members.”

Read: Sears Canada retirees launch motion to force windup of pension plan

In an email to Benefits Canada, a spokesperson for Morneau Shepell noted the evaluation of the final funded status of the plan will take some time. “In the meantime, anyone who is currently receiving a pension from the plan will continue to receive their pension payments until we have conducted a review of the funded status of the plan.”

The spokesperson emphasized that Morneau Shepell is in the very early stages of taking on the administration. “Due to legislative requirements, the windup of a pension plan and the distribution of benefits to pension plan members can be a lengthy process. In our capacity as the administrator, we will correspond with all members and pensioners from time to time and provide them with updates about the windup process.”

Copyright © 2017 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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