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Pensions Conference

November 28 - 29, 2017
Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel

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HRPA Continuing Professional Development

HRPA Continuing Professional Development

The Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) has approved Lancaster House as a Continuing Professional Development Partner, guaranteeing that participation in our conferences, workshops and audio conferences will be accepted by the HRPA for CPD credit.

Register today to earn your CPD credits with Lancaster!

In association with: http://www.library.utoronto.ca/cirhr/

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Registration and Breakfast 7:45 AM - 8:45 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 8:45 AM - 9:00 AM  

Panel 1

Retirement Income Insecurity: Evaluating innovative ideas

9:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Kathryn Bush
Pension Counsel
Jo-Ann Hannah
ETFO Health Trust
Alex Mazer
Founding Partner
Common Wealth
Hugh O'Reilly
President & Chief Executive Officer
Kevin Skerrett
Senior Research Officer
Canadian Union of Public Employees
Anil Verma
Professor, Rotman School of Management and the Centre for Industrial Relations & Human Resources
University of Toronto

Panel Summary

Pension experts will offer specific solutions to address declining pension coverage. These ideas will be assessed by well-known specialists, following which the panelists will have an opportunity to respond.

BREAK (with refreshments)

10:30 AM - 10:50 AM

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Registration and Breakfast 7:45 AM - 8:45 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 8:45 AM - 9:00 AM  

Panel 2

Values and Valuation: Ethical decisions, fiduciary responsibilities, and socially responsible investing

10:50 AM - 12:00 PM

Simon Archer
Pension Counsel
Goldblatt Associates
Randy Bauslaugh
Pension Counsel
McCarthy Tétrault

Panel Summary

This session will address a series of topical issues raising ethical and fiduciary obligations in pension investment, including:

  • Understanding fiduciary obligations with respect to investing based on environmental, social, and governance factors, and how this differs from socially responsible investing
  • Key issues regarding pension funds lending/interacting with the broader financial system
  • Benefits, risks and governance issues associated with hiring an outsourced chief investment officer


12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Registration and Breakfast 7:45 AM - 8:45 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 8:45 AM - 9:00 AM  

Keynote Address

How Much Does One Need in Retirement? Rethinking retirement income benchmarks

1:00 PM - 1:45 PM

Bonnie-Jeanne MacDonald
Senior Research Fellow
of the National Institute of Ageing (NIA),
Ted Rogers School of Management

Ryerson University


Pension plan systems and advisors around the world rely on the final earnings replacement rate, usually targeted at around 70%, as the benchmark in determining how much savings is needed in retirement. However, recent ground-breaking research by a Canadian actuary and academic research team suggests that this traditional benchmark is not a reliable measure of retirement income readiness, and should be replaced by a more accurate alternative, the living standards replacement rate (LSRR). In this session, lead researcher Bonnie-Jeanne MacDonald will explain her team’s findings and discuss the practical implications for DB plans, DC plans, unions, employers and advisors.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Registration and Breakfast 7:45 AM - 8:45 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 8:45 AM - 9:00 AM  

Panel 3

Responding to Change, Planning for the Future: Bargaining workplace pension plans, addressing an expanded CPP

1:50 PM - 3:00 PM

Murray Gold
Pension Counsel
Koskie Minsky
Stephanie Kalinowski
Pension Counsel
Hicks Morley
Allan Shapira
Senior Partner
Aon Hewitt
Corey Vermey
Director of Pensions and Benefits

Panel Summary

The implications of the CPP enhancement and its integration with existing pension plans are top of mind for employers and unions alike. This session will address critical issues in pension plan design and bargaining under an expanded CPP, including:

  • How should plan sponsors respond to CPP changes in terms of pension plan design?
  • What are the key considerations for plans that are currently integrated with CPP, and those that are not?
  • How should integration be costed?
  • Does the CPP expansion produce pressure to reduce benefit levels of existing plans? Are the CPP increases sufficient to necessitate making adjustments in pension plans?
  • Will/should public and private plan sponsors take the same approach?
  • What techniques/tactics have been successfully employed by parties in recent rounds of bargaining to creatively advance improvements to pension plans or strengthen plans?

BREAK (with refreshments)

3:00 PM - 3:15 PM

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Registration and Breakfast 7:45 AM - 8:45 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 8:45 AM - 9:00 AM  

Panel 4

A Pensioners' Bill of Rights? Examining the role of plan members in pension governance

3:15 PM - 4:15 PM

Anil Verma (Panel Moderator)
Professor, Rotman School of Management and the Centre for Industrial Relations & Human Resources
University of Toronto
Johanna Weststar
Associate Professor
University of Western Ontario
Elizabeth Brown
Pension Counsel
Brown Mills Klinck Prezioso

Panel Summary

For members and beneficiaries, good pension plan governance is of critical importance. The mismanagement of a pension fund can have a devastating effect on a plan member's economic well-being and old age security. However, in many cases, plan members and beneficiaries have little or no say in the administration and governance of pension plans. In response to this discrepancy, some parties have called for greater use of joint governance models, where pension plan administrators include appointees of employers and plan members/beneficiaries (or unions). Others have expressed concern about the cost of joint governance models for pension administration and have questioned whether plan members/beneficiaries necessarily have the skills and qualifications required to sit on a pension board. Moreover, the interests of active plan members and beneficiaries are not always aligned. In this panel, experts in the field will discuss the role of plan members and beneficiaries in pension governance, and consider questions including:

  • What are the advantages of joint pension plan governance over the traditional single employer administrator/sponsor model? What are some of the possible drawbacks?
  • Are different governance models needed for different types of pension plans (single employer, multi-employer private sector plans, jointly sponsored public sector plans, etc.), and/or different types of boards (e.g. expert boards)?
  • Is it important to have both active plan members and beneficiaries represented on boards? Why or why not?
  • In Ontario, when must plan members be represented on a pension board? Have other Canadian jurisdictions adopted similar or different approaches?
  • How effective have advisory committees, established under Ontario's Pension Benefit Act, been in providing a forum for pension plan members to voice their concerns?
  • How have other countries addressed the issue of member representation in pension plan governance? What lessons can be drawn from such examples?
  • Should some form of joint governance be mandatory for all pension plans?


4:15 PM


4:15 PM - 5:15 PM

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  

Panel 5

Pathways to Reform: Evaluating Bill C-27 and solvency funding relief

9:00 AM - 10:15 AM

Laura Brownell
Staff Representative/Pensions
Society of Energy Professionals
Lynn Hemmings
Senior Chief, Financial Sector Policy Branch
Department of Finance Canada
Mark Janson
Senior Researcher
Canadian Union of Public Employees
Kim Ozubko
Pension Counsel
Miller Thomson

Panel Summary

In 2015, approximately 4.2 million Canadian employees were members of defined benefit pension plans, down 4.0% from 2014 and 12.1% from a high of 4.78 million in 1992. Many attribute this development, in part, to low long-term interest rates and the increasing funding pressures placed on defined benefit pension plans. In response, legislators across Canada are pursuing reform initiatives with the stated purposes of promoting sustainability, affordability, and benefit security for workplace pension plans. In this panel, specialists will evaluate two key reform initiatives: the federal government's Bill C-27, An Act to Amend the Pension Benefits Standards Act, and Ontario's solvency funding reform measures. Issues to be discussed include:

Bill C-27

  • What amendments does Bill C-27 propose for the federal Pension Benefits Standards Act? What details will be contained in future regulations?
  • Pursuant to Bill C-27, when can earned benefits from a defined benefit or defined contribution pension plan be surrendered in exchange for benefits under a new target benefit plan?
  • What role do unions play under Bill C-27 with respect to the conversion of an existing defined benefit or defined contribution pension plan to a target benefit plan? Is further clarity required on this issue?
  • How, if at all, can Bill C-27's consent mechanism for the surrender and exchange of accrued pension benefits be crafted to satisfy the concerns of unions?
  • What is the interplay between Bill C-27 and insolvency/bankruptcy proceedings? Can the tension created by Bill C-27 in this regard be addressed?
  • What issues/concerns was Bill C-27 designed to address? Does it meet its objectives? If not, what is the right approach?

Ontario's Solvency Reform Measures

  • What changes did the Ontario government recently announce with respect to the funding rules for defined benefit pension plans?
  • As related measures, how has the Ontario government proposed to improve pension plan governance, restrict the use of contribution holidays, and expand coverage under the Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund?
  • Why does the provincial government seek to discharge legal liability for pension plan sponsors who purchase buy-out annuities for retirees or deferred plan members? How does this compare with reform measures proposed under Bill C-27?
  • How do Ontario's solvency rules interact with wind-up regimes and court-supervised restructuring?
  • What issues/concerns was Ontario's solvency funding reform designed to address? Does it accomplish its objectives? If not, what reforms are needed?

BREAK (with refreshments)

10:15 AM - 10:45 AM

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  

Panel 6

Roundtable Wrap-Up: Concluding insights and open forum discussion

10:45 AM - 12:00 PM

Kathryn Bush
Pension Counsel
Paul Owens
Deputy Superintendent of Pensions
Government of Alberta
Kevin Skerrett
Senior Research Officer
Canadian Union of Public Employees

Panel Summary

This session will be conducted as an open forum, with facilitators inviting comments and questions from the floor regarding key issues and takeaways from the conference. Attendees will deepen their understanding of the current pension landscape and what lies ahead as they exchange ideas with experts and peers from across Canada.


12:00 PM

Keynote Speakers


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