The Alberta government has just introduced a new Employment Pension Plans Act (Bill 10), the first major rewrite of that province’s pension standards legislation in 25 years. This is good news for BC employers with operations in Alberta and, given the increasing importance of pensions, good news for employees.

In our earlier post on BC’s new Pension Benefits Standards Act, which is expected to come into force in 2013, we explained how that new Act was BC’s response to the 2008 report of the Joint Expert Panel on Pension Standards (JEPPS) (the independent expert review process undertaken by BC and Alberta). The theme of the JEPPS report, aptly titled “Getting our Acts Together,” was harmonization of pension legislation so as to enable employers to seamlessly operate affordable, flexible pension plans for employees in both provinces and thereby facilitate mobility of workforces.

Bill 10 represents Alberta’s response to JEPPS and, as expected, appears to harmonize the pension rules between BC and Alberta. It follows many of the changes introduced in BC’s new Act, with affordable new plan designs, including target benefit and jointly sponsored schemes; improved vesting; increased disclosure for plan members; clarified management responsibility and extended governance requirements.

A more thorough review of the new legislation will be posted here once Bill 10 passes third reading in the Alberta legislature.

Link to Bill 10: Bill 10