Pensions and Benefits: Overview
Osler’s Pensions and Benefits Department provides deep and wide-ranging expertise from one of the largest and most experienced groups of pensions and benefits law practitioners of any Canadian law firm. Our integrated teams operating in Toronto, Montréal and New York, complemented by the specialized knowledge and skill of Canadian and U.S.-qualified lawyers from our Tax, Litigation and Research Departments, provide our clients with creative, solutions-driven results to meet their needs on both sides of the border.
Our pensions and benefits lawyers have experience in:
- Plan Governance and Administration – Osler has advised many of Canada’s largest plan sponsors and administrators, in both the private and the public sector, providing expertise on every aspect of plan administration and governance, including plan funding, multi-jurisdictional issues, governance audits, compliance reviews, plan member communications, plan investments, and agreements with third party service providers. Our lawyers have extensive experience representing clients in dealings with the federal and provincial pension regulators and the tax authority.
- Surplus Utilization – We have represented plan sponsors in some of Canada’s largest surplus withdrawals, including the largest withdrawal of plan surplus in Canadian history (almost $450 million). Recent surplus withdrawal arrangements Osler has worked on have ranged in value from $5 million to $165 million. We also regularly advise clients on issues related to contribution holidays and plan expenses.
- Asset Transfers, Mergers & Wind-Ups – We have assisted a number of plan sponsors in obtaining regulatory approvals of plan asset transfers and mergers, undertaking reviews of historical plan documents and preparing submissions to the regulators. Osler lawyers have also been involved with some of the most complex full and partial wind-ups cases of the day, bringing exceptional expertise to the table.
- Litigation – Osler lawyers have been involved in many of the leading pension cases before the courts and pension regulatory tribunals in Canada. Our representation of sponsors of multijurisdictional plans has led to our involvement in major pension actions in Ontario, Nova Scotia, Québec and Alberta.
- Executive Compensation – Along with the U.S.-qualified members of our team and with colleagues in our highly regarded Tax Department, we regularly advise and assist leading companies on creating tax-effective compensation arrangements for executives on both sides of the Canada/U.S. border.
- Insolvencies & Restructurings – We have provided advice regarding the implications of underfunded pension plans and other pension and benefit issues in the course of bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings.
- Transactional Experience – We work closely with other members of the firm on the pensions and benefits aspects of mergers, acquisitions, and other corporate transactions.
We’ve been consistently recognized as one of the “go-to” firms in Canada when it comes to this complex and diverse field. Lexpert Magazine, the country’s leading legal journal, calls Osler one of two market leaders in pension plan administration matters, where “the pure pension law expertise largely resides.” Lexpert also noted that Osler is “found as counsel on pension-related deals more frequently than any other firm in the country” and the 2011 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory ranked Osler’s Pensions and Benefits Group as “consistently recommended” while several of our legal practitioners are recognized for their expertise in this field in the 2012 edition of TheBest Lawyers in Canada. Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2012 ranked Osler as top tier, noting that the firm is “one of the top for pensions.”