PRPP bill dies in B.C.

When the B.C. legislature adjourned on March 14, the Pooled Registered Pension Plans Act, which was awaiting second reading, got a death sentence.

Although the legislature is not officially prorogued, the House isn’t expected to be back in session until after B.C.’s May election.

“It’s well known in B.C. that the current government is done and we are just waiting on the next elections,” says Greg Hurst, a Vancouver-based pension consultant with Greg Hurst & Associates Ltd. “If the NDP wins the election, which almost seems a foregone conclusion, it would seem unlikely that they would revive the legislation, based on the position of the NDP federally and its strong ties with organized labour, which generally oppose the PRPP.”

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It’s like déjà vu for those following the pooled registered pension plan (PRPP) action across the country.

The same thing happened with the Quebec voluntary retirement savings plan when it introduced Bill 80, An Act respecting voluntary retirement savings plans in June 2012.

But, when the province’s former Liberal government called an election and was replaced by the Parti Québécois, that bill died, too.

The new government’s recently released 2013 budget document does state that the party “will table, by the spring of 2013, a bill to implement the new voluntary retirement savings plans.” The bill will reportedly reflect recommendations made by an expert committee tasked with examining the future of retirement plans in the province. The committee was initially expected to report back this month.

Ted Menzies, Minister of State for Finance, is still hopeful that provinces will resurrect or implement PRPP legislation.

“Our government continues to work with our provincial colleagues to make PRPPs available to all Canadians,” he said. “There was unanimous support for PRPPs at the last finance ministers meeting—evidence that provinces, regardless of the political party in power, recognize the benefit of this important new savings vehicle. PRPPs will provide a low-cost and viable pension option to the 60% of Canadians without a workplace pension plan.”