Alberta introduces new pension legislation

Bill 10 aims to increase flexibility in plan design, offer more risk-sharing options
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 11/01/2012

Alberta has introduced Bill 10, the Employment Pension Plans Act, which will give the private sector the ability to more easily develop pension plans that meet the needs of employers and employees, said the provincial government.

The proposed act, the first major rewrite of private sector pension laws in 25 years, makes it easier for private sector employers to have affordable, workable pension plans. It reflects their need to have more flexibility in how they design pension plans and to share risk in different ways, and helps remove barriers that may have kept many employers from offering pension plans to their employees, said the government.

Estimates are that only one in six employees in Alberta’s private sector belongs to a pension plan.

“The private sector has been asking for solutions that help them deal with some of the challenges associated with an employer’s ability to offer pension plans,” said Minister of Finance Doug Horner. “At the end of the day, we’ve been striving for more options to help Albertans be better prepared for a financially secure retirement, and this legislation is another step in that direction.”

With this legislation, private sector pension plans will be easier to start up and operate more effectively. It also tailors the province’s regulatory system to the variety of private sector pension plans that currently exist, and sets provisions in place around disclosure, making sure that plan sponsors and members understand the terms, risk and health of their plan, said the government.

The proposed act is the result of work started when the governments of Alberta and British Columbia appointed an expert panel to look into ways to harmonize and modernize the two provinces’ private sector pension legislation.

The panel conducted extensive consultation with private sector employers, the pension industry and others to develop their final recommendations. These recommendations reflect what pension plan administrators and others said would make it easier for private sector employers to offer pension plans to their employees.

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