‘Long-awaited’ changes to B.C.’s pension act

Target benefit provision, solvency reserve account among pros for employers
By Sarah Dobson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/10/2012

A long-awaited overhaul of the Pensions Benefits Standards Act in British Columbia should provide greater flexibility and more options for employers. But there will also be strong requirements around governance, which could lead to additional administration costs, according to industry experts.

Since a joint expert panel on pensions between B.C. and Alberta convened in 2008, people have been waiting “with baited breath” for pension reforms, said Lisa Chamzuk, a partner at Lawson Lundell in Vancouver practising in pension and employee benefits.

In acknowledging the inadequacies of both defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) plans, such as funding shortfalls and investment risks, Bill 38 is promising new plan structures and features that allow employers and employees to share the risk of poor investment returns and plan governance, she said, with “a full smorgasbord of options.”