Pension industry welcomes clarity around electronic communications — Benefits Canada

Glorie Alfred

May 22, 2019

The amendment of Ontario’s Pension Benefits Act (PBA) to provide clarity around electronic communications offers “needed and significant comfort” to plan administrators, Osler associate Glorie Alfred tells Benefits Canada. In his article, author Julius Melnitzer examines how the PBA was recently amended “to allow for the electronic designation of beneficiaries and the re-issue of the Canadian Association of Pension Supervisory Authorities’ (CAPSA) guideline No. 2,” which outlines best practices for the pension industry with respect to electronic communications. Glorie, an associate in Osler’s Pensions and Benefits Group, says that before this section of the PBA came into force on Dec. 6, 2018, there was some uncertainty regarding the legality of electronic designation.  

“Many plan administrators were doing it, but the amendment provides needed and significant comfort in our complicated and complex system of regulation where fiduciaries have high standards,”Glorie tells Benefits Canada.

The article goes on to explain how further guidance became available in early May with the re-issue of the CAPSA’s guideline No. 2, which offers “new or updated guidance concerning electronic signatures; data protection and security; administrators’ role in protecting confidential information,” and more.

Glorie says she expects the industry to continue evolving with respect to electronic communications.

“What’s notable is that the CAPSA guideline encourages jurisdictions that have not already done so to adopt legislation permitting electronic communications ‘as a default form of communication [with requisite safeguards]’ or to at least recognize ‘deemed consent,’” Glorie tells Benefits Canada.

For more information, read author Julius Melnitzer’s article “Pension industry welcomes clarity around electronic communications,” in Benefits Canada on May 22, 2019.