Ontario proposes amendments to PBA

The Government of Ontario introduced legislation on Wednesday to make amendments to the Pension Benefits Act (PBA) in response to the Carrigan v. Carrigan Estate case.

In that case, a plan member who died was married but separated from his wife and in a conjugal relationship with someone else. Neither was entitled to the death benefit.

Bill 151 will amend Section 44 of the PBA regarding joint and survivor pensions. It will also amend Section 48 to clarify how the definition of spouse applies for the purpose of determining benefits eligibility.

The amendments are intended to prevent a case similar to Carrigan from happening again, says James Pierlot, a principal with Pierlot Pension Law.

The province said it would propose amendments to the PBA and, if necessary, amend the regulations under the PBA in its 2013 budget.

The bill still needs to pass second and third readings and receive royal assent. The legislative assembly adjourned for the year on Thursday and is scheduled to return in February.

To read the bill in detail, visit the Legislative Assembly of Ontario’s website.

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