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Pensions Conference

November 28 - 29, 2018
The Westin Harbour Castle


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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/
 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018


Registration and Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 9:00 AM - 9:10 AM  


Panel 1


Pensions and the Bargaining Table: Consolidation, conversion, and communication

9:10 AM - 10:30 AM

Panelists

Elizabeth Brown
Pension Counsel
Brown Mills Klinck Prezioso
Evan Howard
Vice President, Pension Management
CAAT Pension Plan
David Leacock
National Representative, Pensions & Benefits
Unifor

Panel Summary

Consolidation and conversion – "mergers" of single plans, transfers to existing jointly sponsored pension plans (JSPP), and shifts from defined benefit to defined contribution plans (DC) – are major issues at the bargaining table. This session will provide an update on recent trends, offer insights into the challenges, benefits, and drawbacks of pension plan consolidation/conversion, and suggest practical tips for communicating with plan members.

  • Which plans/sectors across Canada are considering consolidation into a new or existing JSPP?
  • What are the pros and cons of consolidation?
  • What lessons can be learned from plans that have recently consolidated?
  • How should plan changes be communicated effectively to plan members? What are some examples of creative educational campaigns? Should an employee investment education program be implemented when converting to a DC plan?

BREAK (with refreshments)

10:30 AM - 10:45 AM

Wednesday, November 28, 2018


Registration and Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 9:00 AM - 9:10 AM  


Panel 2


Pension Reform Initiatives: Update on rules, regs, and PfADs

10:45 AM - 12:00 PM

Panelists

Laura Brownell
Staff Representative – Pensions
Society of United Professionals
Cameron McNeill
Senior Vice President and
Canadian Business Leader

Segal Group
Jennifer Rook
Director, Pension Policy Branch
Ontario Ministry of Finance
Tom Stevenson
Pension Counsel
Torys

Panel Summary

The past year has seen a flurry of important legislative changes affecting pension plans, including new frameworks governing single-employer defined benefit (DB) plans and multi-employer plans in Ontario, and changes to annuity purchase rules in Ontario and Quebec. This session will provide a definitive guide to the most important recent developments, and explore the lessons that can be learned. Additional topics may be added in the weeks leading up to the conference to ensure up-to-date coverage.

  • Solvency funding reform: How do the April 2018 regulations, formally implementing the new funding framework for single-employer DB plans in Ontario, compare with the proposals previously canvassed by the government? How is the level of the Provision for Adverse Deviations (PfAD) for the enhanced going concern funding basis determined? Will the new PfAD cause employers to consider reducing benefits? What will be the impact of complementary reforms enhancing the Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund (PBGF) coverage? Are the changes leading plan sponsors to re-examine their investment and risk management strategies? Does Ontario’s solvency funding reform accomplish its objectives? What are the lessons for other jurisdictions?
  • Discharge upon annuity purchase: What are the implications of recent changes in Ontario allowing a complete discharge to the administrator of a single-employer pension plan following an annuity purchase? How does the Ontario legislation compare to Quebec's recent modifications? Are/should other jurisdictions follow suit?
  • Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA): How is the newly created FSRA expected to meet its objectives of promoting good administration of pension plans and protecting/safeguarding the pension benefits and rights of beneficiaries? What is the scope of its anticipated rule-making powers?
  • Target benefit multi-employer plans: What are the details of current proposals for implementing a new framework for target benefit multi-employer pension plans (TB MEPPs) in Ontario? What issues/concerns were the proposals designed to address? Do they accomplish their objectives? Is the recently elected Ford government likely to dismantle these proposals or proceed with them? Are any other jurisdictions considering similar changes?
  • Ban on disparity in treatment clauses: Are other provinces expected to follow Quebec's lead in banning disparity in treatment clauses (also known as "orphan clauses") that prohibit employers from offering different pension and benefits to employees depending on their date of hire? What impact will the ban have on pension plan design?

NETWORKING LUNCH

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Wednesday, November 28, 2018


Registration and Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 9:00 AM - 9:10 AM  


Panel 3


Accounting for Public Sector Pension Plans: An update from the Canadian Public Sector Accounting Board's Employment Benefits Task Force

1:00 PM - 1:25 PM

Panelist

Lucy Durocher
Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Member, Financial Reporting and Assurance Standards Canada, Employee Benefits Task Force


Panel Summary

On October 19, 2018, the Public Sector Accounting Board issued its third and final invitation to comment on proposed changes to accounting standards for public sector employment benefits: "Employment Benefits: Non-Traditional Pension Plans." The changes proposed in this document will affect how public sector employers account for their share of risk in all pension plans which are not single sponsored defined benefit or single sponsored defined contribution plans. In this update, Lucy Durocher, Chartered Professional Accountant and Employment Benefits Task Force member, will give an overview of why this process is necessary and what it means for public sector unions and employers. The invitation to comment is open until February 1, 2019.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018


Registration and Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 9:00 AM - 9:10 AM  


Panel 4


Feeling the Heat: Climate change and pension fund investment

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM

Panelists

Jessica Dempsey
Associate Professor,
Department of Geography

University of British Columbia
Murray Gold
Pension Counsel
Koskie Minsky
Karen Lockridge
Principal, Responsible Investment
Mercer Canada
Sean Maxwell
Pension Counsel
Blake, Cassels & Graydon

Panel Summary

The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its special report, Global Warming of 1.5°C, on October 8, 2018. The report concluded that achieving a 1.5°C scenario is both possible and necessary, but that achieving this will require "rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and infrastructure (including transport and buildings), and industrial systems" in order to reach net zero CO2 emissions by 2050. In recent years, large institutional investors such as pension funds have become increasingly responsive to the idea that climate change poses significant threats to natural and human made worlds, and therefore, to the long-term vitality of assets. However, questions regarding exactly how to respond to these challenges abound. In this session, experts will discuss the merits of divestment versus engagement as investing strategies, the importance of risk disclosure, and the role of pension fund investors in public policy and advocacy, among other key issues.

  • How have climate change and the legal and political commitments to address it at local, national, and international levels affected pension fund investing? What are the most significant material, technological, and regulatory challenges which climate change poses to pension fund investments?
  • Do Canadian pension fund trustees have a fiduciary duty to protect the environment from climate change for future generations? Should climate risk be best addressed by engagement or divestment? Can both strategies be pursued simultaneously, on an investment-by-investment basis, or should a single approach be pursued across an entire portfolio? Is there an economic case for divestment? What are the legal implications of pursuing one or the other strategy, or both?
  • In the absence of consistent and comparable measurements of carbon risks, what actions can/are being taken by fund managers? How might the improvement and standardization of climate-related risk disclosure affect investments and their long-term viability? What impact might this have on efforts to slow climate change?
  • Given that the material effects of climate change do not obey legal or political jurisdictional boundaries, what role can be played by individual investors, large or small? Do trustees have a responsibility – fiduciary or otherwise – to engage in forms of collective action or political advocacy? Do pension fund fiduciaries have a role in public policy discussions regarding climate change? Is a role in public policy compatible with fiduciary obligations?

BREAK (with refreshments)

2:45 PM - 3:00 PM

Wednesday, November 28, 2018


Registration and Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 9:00 AM - 9:10 AM  


Panel 5


When the Bottom Falls Out: Strategies to protect pensions on employer insolvency

3:00 PM - 4:15 PM

Panelist

Andrea Boctor
Pension Counsel
Stikeman Elliott
Derek Gerard
Principal
Eckler
Lily Harmer
Pension Counsel
Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein
Mike Powell
President
Canadian Federation of Pensioners

Panel Summary

The liquidation of Sears in 2017 has triggered intense public scrutiny of unfunded pension deficits, solvency funding, and shareholder payouts. The wind-up of Sears Canada left its pension plan with an estimated deficit of $267 million. Many have argued that this deficit was entirely avoidable and could have been prevented by modest, short-term reductions in shareholder payouts as well as stronger protections for pensions and other post-employment benefits (OPEBs) in the event of employer insolvency. In the same year, US-based Bedrock Industries took ownership of Stelco in a purchase negotiated as part of the supervised restructuring of US Steel Canada. Stelco's five closed pension plans had a combined deficit of some $800 million. The Stelco sale involved creative and complex arrangements to fund the pension plans to attempt to achieve solvency before they are wound up in the future. These arrangements, which also address funding for OPEBs, included the creation of a land trust and employee life and health trusts, and a complicated combination of upfront and ongoing fixed and variable payments. In this session, experts will discuss the fall-out from the Sears proceedings, proposed changes to the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) and Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA), as well as the Stelco example and other alternatives to wind-ups, both within and outside of formal insolvency proceedings.

  • What are the main ethical and regulatory issues that the Sears insolvency and pension wind-up has highlighted? Was the unfunded deficit avoidable? How serious is the issue of unfunded pension fund deficits for other pension plans? What is being done, or should be done, to address this issue?
  • What changes are currently being proposed to the CCAA and BIA? What are these changes intending to achieve, and how likely is it that they will be successful?
  • What are the alternatives to wind-up within and outside of formal insolvency proceedings? Is the Stelco example instructive? Is it a satisfactory outcome for members and beneficiaries of the Stelco pension plans?

END OF DAY ONE

4:15 PM

NETWORKING RECEPTION

4:15 PM - 5:15 PM

Thursday, November 29, 2018


Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 9:00 AM - 9:05 AM  


Panel 6


Expanding Coverage, Controlling Cost: New approaches, innovative ideas

9:05 AM - 10:20 AM

Panelists

Dani Goraichy
Vice-President of Actuarial Services and Plan Policy
OPTrust
Jeff Kissack
Vice President, Pension Solutions
CAAT Pension Plan
Chris Roberts
National Director, Social and Economic Policy
Canadian Labour Congress
Jana Steele
Pension Counsel
Osler Hoskin & Harcourt
Anil Verma
Professor, Rotman School of Management and the Centre for Industrial Relations & Human Resources, University of Toronto


Panel Summary

As the proportion of Canadian workers who are covered by a pension plan continues to decline, new plans are being designed to extend coverage to those who lack retirement security. In this session, pension innovators will discuss two recently launched initiatives to bring the benefits of a pension plan to more workers: OPTrust Select and CAAT's DBplus. These new plans will be assessed by specialists, following which panelists will have an opportunity to respond.

  • Dani Goraichy: OPTrust Select is a new defined benefit pension based on a member's career average earnings and years of service. The Plan was designed to provide enhanced retirement security for employees who work for charitable, non-profit and broader public sector organizations in Ontario. A modestly priced plan, OPTrust Select provides a simple way for members to invest in their financial future and receive retirement income – for life.
  • Jeff Kissack: DBplus is an elegant, flexible solution that addresses the dual challenges of expanding pension coverage and providing meaningful retirement income. Members enjoy the benefits of a defined benefit pension plan: secure, predictable, income for life. Further, DBplus offers early retirement options, a built in survivor pension, and conditional inflation enhancements through the member's working lifetime and retirement. Employers enjoy a fixed contribution rate like a defined contribution plan. They also benefit from the attraction and retention powers of a defined benefit plan, without any of the administrative and financial burdens. DBplus is helping to reshape the retirement savings landscape.

BREAK (with refreshments)

10:20 AM - 10:40 AM

Thursday, November 29, 2018


Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 9:00 AM - 9:05 AM  


Panel 7


Roundtable Wrap-Up: Concluding insights and open forum discussion

10:40 AM - 12:00 PM

Panelists

Kathryn Bush
Pension Counsel
Blake, Cassels & Graydon
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.

CONFERENCE ENDS

12:00 PM

Keynote Speakers


CPD


Click here to find out more information regarding CPD and the hour requirements in your province.

Conference Sessions

  • This program has been approved by the Human Resources Professional Association (HRPA) for 8.0 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours.
  • CPD for Members of the Law Society of Ontario: 8.0 Substantive hours; 0 Professionalism hours.
  • Members of the Law Society of Saskatchewan should contact their Law Society regarding CPD approval.
  • For Nova Scotia lawyers, consider including this course as a CPD learning activity in your mandatory annual Continuing Professional Development plan required by the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society.