Significant changes have recently been made to the pension standards legislation in Alberta and BC. The new Alberta Employment Pension Plans Act (“EPPA”) and related regulations came into force effective September 1, 2014 and the new British Columbia Pension Benefits Standards Act (“PBSA”) and related regulations came into force effective September 30, 2015. The changes impact plans registered in BC or Alberta as well as plans registered in other Canadian jurisdictions that have members employed in BC or Alberta.

Plan administrators are required to administer (and should have been administering) their plans in accordance with the EPPA and PBSA as of the respective effective dates of the amendments. The deadline for formally amending a plan and filing the required amendments with the respective regulators is December 31, 2015. In addition, for plans registered in either BC or Alberta, there are a number of policies that, for most plans, must be drafted by the end of the year.

The changes imposed under the new legislation include: the introduction of immediate vesting, changes in the small benefit unlocking rules and the expansion of the disclosure obligations imposed on plan administrators. All plans registered in Alberta will also now be required to have a governance policy and all defined benefit or target benefit plans, a funding policy. The same policies will also now be required of plans registered in BC but in addition, a records retention policy will be required.