The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario is updating its guidance for pension plans around filing deadlines and member communications.

The update reflects the government of Ontario’s regulations amending the Pension Benefits Act. The amendments are effective as of June 18 or some period relative to that date, which may mean the regulation changes won’t provide relief to some administrators if their deadlines are outside the relief period. 

“Where the regulations do not provide an extension in the circumstances of a particular plan, administrators should contact their pension officer and describe the circumstances and relief sought,” said the guidance.

Read: FSRA responds to questions on filing deadlines, pension transactions

As well, as the FSRA announced in March, pension plan administrators and their authorized agents are allowed to request a filing extension of up to 60 days. If an extension isn’t available and the administrator has contacted the FSRA explaining the issue of complying with the deadline, “where appropriate, FSRA will not levy administrative monetary penalties for non-compliance,” the guidance said. “However, the administrator should still consider other possible effects of filing late.”

As for plans that are having trouble with deadlines around member disclosure information, the amended regulations also provide extensions, requiring that plan administrators notify the FSRA, “in advance of when statements would otherwise have been required that statements issued to plan members, former members or retired members will be delayed.”

The FSRA also noted it doesn’t have discretionary powers to extend the prescribed timelines as they relate to member disclosures, in most cases, but that it won’t levy monetary penalties if it’s notified of challenges and received a reasonable proposed plan of action. “However, in some scenarios, sending a notice to a member by a certain deadline is a pre-condition to receiving FSRA’s consent. A decision by FSRA not to impose a penalty does not result in that application being compliant.”

Read: FSRA issues new guidance for pension plans transferring commuted values, purchasing annuities

Additional extensions under the amended regulations include:

  • Plan amendment valuation report: Extended from six months after the date required for amendment to be submitted for registration to 12 months if due date for the amendment submission is on or after the day that’s six months before date filed and before July 1, 2020.
  • Multi-employer pension plan options when contributions aren’t sufficient for benefits: Extended from 30 days after submitting to the administrator and within nine months of valuation date to 30 days after submitting to administrators and within 12 months of valuation date if valuation date is Dec. 31, 2019 or Jan. 1, 2020.
  • Plan establishment, valuation: Extended from 90 days to 180 days if the effective date is 90 days before the date filed and on or before July 1, 2020.
  • Valuation report: Extended from nine months after the valuation date to 12 months after the valuation date if it’s Dec. 31, 2019 or Jan. 1, 2020
  • Annual information return: Extended from six months after a plan’s fiscal year end for defined contribution plans or nine months for defined benefit plans to Dec. 31, 2020 if due on or after the date filed and before Dec. 31, 2020.
  • Windup report and outstanding annual information returns and post windup annual information returns and financial statements: Extended from six months after the effective date of windup to nine months after the effective date of windup if the effective date is on or after the day that’s six months before the date filed and before Oct. 1, 2020.
  • Annual windup valuation review report: Extended from six months after the valuation date to the earlier of nine months after the valuation date and Dec. 31, 2020 if the valuation date is between Jan.1, 2020 and July 1, 2020.
  • Notice to members of plan amendments: Extended from 60 days after registration to 120 days if due on or after the date filed and before Nov. 1, 2020.
  • Member annual statements and biennial statements to former and retired members: Extended from six months after a plan’s fiscal year end to Dec. 31, 2020 if due on or after the date filed and before Dec. 31, 2020 and the FSRA is notified in advance that statements will be delayed.
  • Financial statements and auditor’s report if required: Extended from six months after a plan’s fiscal year end to Dec. 31, 2020 if due on or after the date filed and before Dec. 31, 2020.
  • Investment information summary: Extended six months after a plan’s fiscal year end to Dec, 31, 2020 if due on or after the date filed and before Dec. 31, 2020.
  • Statement of investment policies and procedures and SIPP amendments: Extended from 60 days after the registration of a plan or amendment of SIPP to 120 days if due on or after the date filed and before Nov. 1, 2020.
  • Application to chief executive officer consent for asset transfers: Extended from nine months after the effective date of transfer to 12 months if due on or after the date filed and before Nov. 1, 2020.
  • Filings when asset transfer is completed: Extended from 60 days after a transfer is complete to 120 days if due on or after the date filed and before Nov. 1, 2020.
  • Complete transfer of assets after CEO consent: Extended from 120 days after consent to 180 days if due on or after the date filed and before Nov. 1, 2020.
  • Notice to members and others, DB and DC: Extended from six months after effective date of transfer to nine months if due on or after the date filed and before Nov. 1, 2020.

Read: An overview of Canadian DB pension relief measures during coronavirus

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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