Douglas  Rienzo

Douglas Rienzo, Partner, Pensions & Benefits

Contact Information

  • tel: 416.862.5683
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Bar Admission

Ontario, 1994


  • University of Toronto, LL.B.
  • University of Toronto, B.Sc.






Douglas practises exclusively in the area of pensions and employee benefits, with a particular focus on pension surplus issues and family law issues related to pensions. He has done work for corporate sponsors of pension plans, boards of trustees, and large institutional pension funds, as well as for individual pension plan members. Douglas was a member of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario Legal Advisory Committee (Pensions), which provides confidential advice to the Superintendent of Financial Services for Ontario on the Superintendent’s responsibilities under Ontario’s Pension Benefits Act and Financial Services Commission of Ontario Act, 1997. His article “Trust Law and Access to Pension Surplus” was cited by the Supreme Court of Canada in Buschau v. Rogers Communications. Douglas is the Chair of Osler’s Diversity Committee.

Notable Matters

  • Pension surplus withdrawals: Eaton’s, Control Data, United Dominion, Montreal Trust.
  • Established a defined contribution supplemental pension plan for a Toronto-based entertainment company.
  • Drafted change-of-control and retiring allowance agreements for the President and CEO of a major Canadian financial institution.
  • Advised a large public-sector pension fund on legal issues related to same-sex benefits.
  • Advised several clients in relation to their ability to cancel or amend post-retirement benefits.
  • Advised a major Canadian corporation regarding their pension fund, and issues related to replacing the individual trustees holding the fund’s assets with an institutional trustee.
  • Provided legal opinions to clients on pension plan governance and related conflict-of-interest issues.
  • Ongoing advice to clients on pension plan administration issues, including trust law and surplus issues, pension plan termination issues, family law issues and non-pension benefits.


  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Law Society of Upper Canada
  • Association of Canadian Pension Management (ACPM)
  • International Pension & Employee Benefits Lawyers Association (IPEBLA)

Industry Recognition

  • The Best Lawyers in Canada 2015: Employee Benefits Law
  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2014: Pensions & Employee Benefits



  • Contractual Rectification in the Pension Context, Estates, Trusts & Pensions Journal, December 2011
  • The Great Divide: Ontario’s New Rules on the Division of Pensions Upon Marriage Breakdown, Benefits Canada, December 2011
  • The Variation of a Pension Trust, Estates, Trusts & Pensions Journal, December 2010
  • Trust Law and Pension Plans, Benefits Canada Online, June 2008
  • Trust Law and Access to Pension Surplus, Estates, Trusts & Pensions Journal, December 2005


  • Speaker, “Document Retention / Privacy / Disclosure Rules,” Benefits Without Borders, Global Pension and Employee Benefits Lawyers Conference, Chicago, June 24th, 2014.
  • 2012 Case Law Roundup (Speaker), Ontario Bar Association’s Institute 2013, February 7, 2013
  • The Osgoode Certificate in Pension Law – Pensions in Corporate Transactions and Restructuring, February 2011, February 2012, February 2013
  • Pension and Benefit Entitlements Upon Marriage Breakdown: The Legal Guide, Osgoode Professional Development, March 2009, March 2011, January 2012, January 2013 (Conference Chair)
  • New Rules Regarding Pension Division on Marriage Breakdown – Practical Implications for Plan Administrators, November 2011 (webinar)
  • Interview Workshop, “Out on Bay Street” annual conference, September 2011
  • Pension Plan Mergers and Conversions – Recent Canadian Developments, International Pension & Employee Benefits Lawyers Association (IPEBLA) conference, May 2011, Berlin, Germany
  • Private Pensions, Public Responsibilities: The Law and Regulation of the Canadian Pension System, University of Toronto LL.B., March 2011, January 2013 (Guest Lecture)
  • Uses of Trusts in Pension and Employee Benefit Arrangements, Osgoode Hall Law School LL.M., June 2009 (Guest Lecture)
  • Osler submission to the Ontario Expert Commission on Pensions, October 2007