In its fall economic statement, the Ontario government said it will ask stakeholders to provide feedback this winter on a draft framework for target-benefit pension plans.
“Implementation of a permanent target-benefit framework would pave the way for more employers to offer workplace pension plans, increasing the opportunities for workers to save for their retirement,” said the statement, which was released earlier this week.
Since 2017, the province’s target-benefit plans have been operating under temporary regulations set to expire in 2024. While the statement didn’t provide details about the draft legislation, it’s widely expected to include a revision of the rules around provision for adverse deviation for these plans.
Critics of existing PfAD rules say they unfairly penalize target-benefit plans that adopt alternative investment strategies. In a 2019 open letter, Ric Marrero, chief executive officer of the Association of Canadian Pension Management, described the existing rules as inadvertently treating all non-fixed income allocations as equities, including some alternative investing asset classes like infrastructure. “Since [infrastructure investments] have a number of characteristics that are similar to real estate, it would make sense to treat them similarly for purposes of the PfAD calculation.”
The move is part of a broader trend to rewrite existing target-benefit pension legislation among provincial regulators. Other provinces, including British Columbia and Quebec, have also introduced new frameworks for these plans within the past two years. In all cases, the provinces amended PfAD rules.