Employer unilaterally changes pension to DC

Arbitrator sides with employer over union in landmark case that hinged on wording common in many DB plans
By Danielle Harder
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 01/14/2011

Stephen Bernardo’s Toronto law office has been fielding calls from employers across Ontario as a result of the dismissal of a union grievance against St. Mary’s Cement. The decision allowed the company to unilaterally change its pension structure from a defined benefit (DB) plan to a defined contribution (DC) plan.

It’s a precedent-setting case, said Bernardo, a labour relations lawyer at the Toronto office of Mathews, Dinsdale & Clark.

“It’s amazing, really, when you think of the potential consequences of this decision, especially in a depressed economy where employers are looking for savings and predictability,” he said.