Court clarifies surplus assets

Company allowed to pay expenses from pension fund
By Sarah Dobson
||Last Updated: 09/05/2007

In Kerry (Canada) v. Ontario (Super-intendent of Financial Services), Ontario’s Court of Appeal has made several major rulings on pensions.

Kerry, a food supply company based in Woodstock, Ont., set up a defined benefit (DB) pension plan in 1954 that has been in a surplus position for years and members have always received full pension benefits.

In 1985, the employer took contribution holidays and by 2001 had taken holidays of about $1.5 million. Initially the employer paid all plan expenses but, in 1985, third-party plan expenses were paid from the fund. These were primarily the cost of actuarial, investment management and audit services provided to the plan and added up to about $850,000 from 1985 to 2002.