On July 22, 2014, the Alberta government approved the long-awaited regulations to its new Employment Pension Plans Act (New Act). The New Act was passed in late 2012, but has not yet come into force, pending release of the regulations. The government has indicated that both the New Act and its regulations will now take effect on September 1, 2014.
This latest development brings to a conclusion a process that began in 2007 with the appointment of the Alberta/British Columbia Joint Expert Panel on Pension Standards.
The government had introduced certain amendments to the New Act in April 2014 in Bill 10, the Employment Pension (Private Sector) Plans Amendment Act, 2014. However, due to controversy over certain provisions of Bill 10, those amendments were put on hold and referred to the Standing Committee on Alberta’s Economic Future for further consultation. The committee is not expected to report back until the fall of 2014. Accordingly, when the New Act comes into force it will not contain any of the changes proposed in Bill 10, including the ability to convert accrued benefits on the conversion of a defined benefit pension plan to a target benefit plan.
The New Act and regulations are expected to contain a variety of provisions designed to assist plan administrators with the transition between the old and new legislation. Plan administrators will need to familiarize themselves both with the new rules and the provisions detailing when compliance with those new rules will be required.