On October 25, 2012, Bill 10, the Employment Pension Plans Act, was introduced in the Alberta Legislature. As noted in the Backgrounder that was released with Bill 10, the highlights of the proposed changes to the existing legislation include:
- Harmonized pension rules between Alberta and British Columbia
- Increased flexibility in pension standards
- Extended timelines for addressing funding shortfalls
- Greater clarity surrounding the roles and responsibilities of those charged with the management of pension plans
- Introduction of standards for two new types of plans: target benefit plans and jointly sponsored plans
- Increased focus on disclosure
- Changed vesting requirements from two years of plan membership to immediate
- Locking in requirements will no longer be “years of service” based, but will be based on a minimum dollar amount that will be increased annually.
Significant details remain to be revealed in the Regulations, which we have been told are presently being drafted and are expected to be released in 2013. In addition, we have been told that it is anticipated that the Alberta government will be releasing in the near future a funding consultation document, which will likely inform the funding rules to be included in the new Regulations.