On December 18, 2014, the Alberta government implemented a number of amendments to itsEmployment Pension Plans Regulation (“EPPA Regulations”), which came into force on September 1, 2014. Among other matters, the amendments provide the following:
- Extended Deadline – File EPPA Plan Amendments by June 30, 2015. Pension plans registered in Alberta and plans registered elsewhere with members whose pension benefits are subject to Alberta pension legislation must be amended to reflect significant changes resulting from the enactment of the Employment Pension Plans Act (2012) ("EPPA"). The original filing deadline was December 31, 2014. As previously reported, the Alberta Superintendent of Pensions subsequently announced that a plan sponsor can request and receive an extension of the deadline to March 31, 2015. A second deadline extension to June 30, 2015 has been automatically granted to all plans.
Plans that have already requested the extension to March 31, 2015 are automatically granted the new extension to June 30, 2015 without requiring a further request. For plans registered in Ontario with Alberta members that require amendments to comply with the EPPA and EPPA Regulations, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (“FSCO”) has not yet acknowledged the new extended deadline, however, in light of FSCO’s previous adoption of the March 31, 2015 extension, it is reasonable to anticipate that amendments to Ontario-registered plans will also be due by June 30, 2015.
- Extended Deadline – Establishment of Prescribed Default Investment Funds. The EPPA Regulations prescribed default investment funds for defined contribution (“DC”) plans registered in Alberta (i.e. either a balanced fund or a target date fund), which could necessitate changes to a DC plan’s existing default fund. In response to stakeholder feedback, the deadlines for Alberta-registered DC plans to establish prescribed default investment funds has been extended from December 31, 2014, to June 30, 2015. In addition, the amendments clarify that contributions made prior to September 1, 2014 (i.e. the coming into force date of the EPPA Regulations) that were deposited in an existing default fund may remain in that fund and need not be transferred into the prescribed default fund once established. Contributions made after September 1, 2014 but made prior to the new default fund being established on or before June 30, 2015 will continue to be remitted to the existing default fund, and will not need to be transferred to the new prescribed default fund once it is established.
- Extended Deadline – Summary of Contributions. The amendments grant plan administrators of Alberta-registered plans more time to provide fundholders with a newly required summary of contributions. The original timeframe of 30 days after the EPPA Regulations came into force (i.e. September 30, 2014) has been extended to 150 days, or January 31, 2015. This means that the first summary of contributions that plans will be required to file will relate to the 2015 plan year.
- Triennial Written Assessment of Plans. The EPPA Regulations originally prescribed written compliance assessments under s. 41(1) of the EPPA to be completed by Alberta-registered plans on an annual basis. This requirement has been amended, and the compliance assessment must now be done every three years rather than annually. For existing plans, the first compliance assessment is still required to be completed after the second plan year after the EPPA and EPPA Regulations came into force (e.g. by December 31, 2016 for plans with a fiscal year that is the calendar year).
The EPPA Regulations were also amended to indefinitely extend the solvency funding moratorium for collectively bargained multi-employer plans (“CBMEP”). The current moratorium is set to expire on December 31, 2014. Any CBMEP wishing to take advantage of the extended moratorium must submit an application to the Alberta Superintendent of Pensions.
The amendments to the EPPA Regulations are now in force.