Op-ed – Sounding Board: Governments must ease burden on pension plans in era of coronavirus

Over the past couple of weeks, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on global markets has taken a devastating toll on personal retirement savings and employer-sponsored pension and other retirement savings plans, bringing industry concerns about the adequacy of retirement savings in Canada to the forefront.

In a recent op-ed for Benefits Canada, Osler pensions and benefits lawyers Jana Steele and Olivia Suppa discuss relief measures that provincial and federal governments may want to consider as part of a COVID-19 pension and savings assistance strategy. The suggested measures aim to promote the long-term sustainability of employer-sponsored pension and other retirement savings plans, as well as support individuals as they seek to protect and replenish their personal retirement savings in the wake of the pandemic.

Jana and Olivia indicate that governments could consider various targeted relief measures, including the following:

  • deferring or suspending DC contributions;
  • deferring actuarial valuations for DB plans;
  • maintaining interest rates for solvency valuation purposes at pre-COVID-19 levels;
  • relieving pension plan administrators of filing and other compliance requirements;
  • raising DC/RRSP contribution limits;
  • permitting postponed retirement; and
  • considering time-limited and/or tailored exceptions to allow individuals to unlock pension amounts on grounds of financial hardship

For more of Jana and Olivia’s insight, read their op-ed, “Sounding Board: Governments must ease burden on pension plans in era of coronavirus” in Benefits Canada.

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Editors

Julien Ranger

Partner, Pensions & Benefits