Two years after the Ontario Expert Commission on Pensions was created, its 222-page report—along with 142 recommendations—was released to the public on Thursday.

The report, entitled A Fine Balance: Safe Pensions, Affordable Plans, Fair Rules, has numerous recommendations to reform and reinvigorate the province’s pension system, according to the OECP chair, Harry Arthurs.

Some of the recommendations include:

• The creation of a pension champion (a new government agency that would assume responsibility for collecting and disseminating reliable information about the pension system) for thinking creatively about new pension strategies and policies, and for working with stakeholders to improve the pension system. It also requires an adaptable legislative and regulatory framework.

• Encourage cooperation among small- and medium-sized plans, and to promote target benefit plans that might be affordable for Ontarians who do not now have pension coverage.

• The provincial government should investigate the advantages and disadvantages of expanding the Canada Pension Plan, or creating a comparable provincial plan, to enhance pension coverage, control costs and improve benefit portability. It should also support the call for a national pension summit to investigate all ideas that might produce such outcomes.

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• A new Pension Community Advisory Council should be formed representing all stakeholder, professional and academic users, and it should be invited to advise government on all significant policy initiatives and to serve as a forum for the exchange of views. This new approach to pension policy making should be led by the pension champion, which should be given adequate staff and resources.

OECP Report Highlights

  • 1 commissioner
  • 2 years of work
  • 3 rounds of stakeholder meetings
  • 4 expert advisors
  • 11 days of public hearings
  • 17 commissioned research studies
  • 127 submissions from stakeholders and Ontarians
  • 142 recommendations
  • 222 pages

• Pension legislation should be drafted in such a way as to facilitate the introduction of new plan designs as well as new regulatory initiatives. Pension legislation should be comprehensively reviewed every eight years.

• The government should support efforts to avoid further divergence in pension policy, legislation and regulation among Canadian jurisdictions; seek cooperation with other provinces to secure necessary changes in federal tax and insolvency legislation; and attempt to secure greater standardization of technical and procedural requirements among pension regulators.

The province is seeking feedback on the report from Ontarians, with a written comment period ending Feb. 27, 2009, and is committed to introducing legislation. will have continuing coverage of the report and industry reaction in the days ahead.

To read the report on the OECP website, click here.

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