Pensions and Benefits

Overview

Osler’s Pension & Benefits Group is consistently recognized as one of the leading pension law practices in Canada. We are the “go-to firm” for strategic advice relating to governance, the management of legal risk, and legal and regulatory compliance in connection with registered and non-registered pension plans. Our Group is recognized by leading publications — including a Band 1 ranking in Chambers Canada — for its market-leading expertise and is complemented by the specialized knowledge and skill contributed by the “cross-appointed” lawyers from our Tax and Litigation Departments.  Through our integrated team, we can provide the right combination of experience along with a solutions-driven approach to meet all of our clients’ needs on both sides of the border – for all sizes of organizations.

Our pensions and benefits lawyers have experience in the following:

  • Plan Governance and Administration – Osler has advised many of Canada’s largest plan sponsors, administrators and public sector pension funds, providing expertise on every aspect of plan administration and governance, including plan funding, multijurisdictional issues (including Québec civil law), governance audits, compliance reviews, plan member communications, 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.
  • Pension Plan Restructuring – We have advised plan sponsors on the complexities of plan asset transfers, mergers, conversions and wind-ups, including undertaking reviews of historical plan documents and preparing submissions to the regulators. Osler lawyers have also been involved with some of the most complex restructuring cases of the day, bringing exceptional expertise to the table.
  • Pension De-risking - The de-risking of defined benefit (DB) pension funds is a global trend, which is beginning to emerge in Canada and the United States, where many DB plans have solvency deficiencies. Our lawyers are at the forefront of this trend, developing strategies for addressing the legal issues that arise with the various de-risking options that are available to pension plan sponsors.
  • Shared Risk and Target Benefit Plans – With Canada’s recognized expert on shared risk plans leading the way, we advise organizations with respect to legal issues associated with the establishment of shared risk and target benefit plans. 
  • Transactional Experience – We work closely with other members of the firm on the pensions and benefits aspects of mergers, acquisitions, insolvencies and other corporate transactions and restructurings.
  • Plan Funding Issues – We have advised clients on complex plan funding issues, including in relation to contribution holidays and plan expenses, letter of credit funding arrangements, temporary solvency funding relief measures and the establishment of solvency reserve accounts (for pension plans registered in Alberta).  We have drafted funding policies and advised on their application.  We have also represented plan sponsors in some of Canada’s largest surplus withdrawals, including the largest withdrawal of plan surplus in Canadian history (almost $450 million).   
  • Pension Investments - Osler is one of the very few law firms in Canada with a dedicated Pension Fund Investment Group. Members of the Pension Fund Investment Group are recognized leaders in the areas of Pension & Benefits, Taxation and Investment Funds & Asset Management, and regularly work together on similar matters. These experts can review investment documentation and identify what the risks are and how clients can reduce those risks. They advise on the structuring, formation, taxation and regulation of all types of investment funds investing across varying asset classes, both traditional and alternative investments, and investment strategies.

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Paul Litner

Partner, Pensions & Benefits
Toronto

Julien Ranger

Partner, Pensions & Benefits
Montréal

Jana Steele

Partner, Pensions & Benefits
Toronto
  • BC Partners

    BC Partners in the $5.2 billion recapitalization of GardaWorld

  • Essar Steel Algoma

    Algoma Steel Inc. and certain senior secured term lenders in Canada in Algoma’s acquisition of substantially all the assets of Essar Steel Algoma in connection to a restructuring under the CCAA

  • Artech Information Systems, LLC

    Artech Information Systems, LLC in its acquisition of the Talent & Technology Solutions business unit ("TTS") of CDI Corporation

  • Inversago Pharma

    Genesys Capital in Inversago Pharma's $7 million Series A financing

  • HPS Investment Partners, LLC

    HPS Investment Partners, LLC in its financing to Madison Dearborn Partners for a management led buyout of its minority capital partner

  • Brookfield Infrastructure’s acquisition of Enbridge’s Western Canadian Midstream Business

    The syndicate of lenders and the underwriters in connection with Brookfield Infrastructure’s $4.31 billion acquisition of Enbridge Inc.’s Western Canadian Midstream Business

  • Intercontinental Exchange Inc.

    Intercontinental Exchange Inc. in the acquisition of NGX and Shorcan Brokers from TMX Group.

  • Corus Entertainment Inc.

    Corus Entertainment Inc. in the proposed sale of specialty channels to Bell Media Inc. for approximately $200 million

  • The Weidmüller Group

    The Weidmüller Group in its acquisition of the W Interconnections group companies

  • TPG Capital LP

    TPG Capital LP in its proposed acquisition of Transplace Inc.

  • Investment Management Corporation of Ontario (IMCO)

    Investment Management Corporation of Ontario in its co-majority share acquisition with EagleTree Capital, in Corsair from Francisco Partners valued at US$525 million

  • Ontario Pension Board

    Ontario Pension Board in the outsourcing of its investment management operations to a $60 billion new investment management entity, the Investment Management Corporation of Ontario (IMCO)

  • Stryker Corporation

    Stryker Corporation in its acquisition of NOVADAQ Technologies Inc.

  • National Tire Distributors Inc.

    National Tire Distributors Inc. in its acquisition of Pneus Supérieurs Inc.

  • American Capital, Ltd.

    American Capital Ltd. and its Canadian Portfolio Company in its Sale of Service Experts

  • Panavision Inc.

    Panavision Canada in connection with its syndicated ABL facilities led by Bank of America

  • H.I.G. Growth Partners, LLC

    Canadian counsel to H.I.G. Growth Partners, LLC in connection with its strategic investment in ConvertStar Incorporated dba Go2mobi

  • Bank of Montreal

    BMO Financial Group in connection with its acquisition of General Electric Capital Corporation’s Transportation Finance Business

  • Torstar Corporation

    Torstar Corporation in its $200 million acquisition of an interest in VerticalScope Holdings Inc.

  • BCE Inc.

    BCE Inc. in its ground breaking pension de-risking strategy

  • École polytechnique de Montréal

    École polytechnique de Montréal in a class action relating to changes to the indexation provisions of its pension plan.

  • Canadian Bankers Association (CBA)

    Represented the CBA as intervener in Sun Indalex Finance, LLC v. United Steelworkers, in an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada of an Ontario Court of Appeal decision that had created commercial uncertainty. This long-awaited decision had significant repercussions for credit agreements, resulting in the re-drafting of the previous standard provisions related to pensions, as well as considerable implications for pension governance and insolvency proceedings.

  • Imperial Oil Limited

    Imperial Oil Limited in an action before the Ontario Financial Services Tribunal which found no requirement to annuitize pension benefits on a partial plan wind-up;

  • Hudson’s Bay Company

    Hudson’s Bay Company in an action and subsequent successful appeal regarding the transfer of surplus to a successor pension plan on the sale of a division of the employer’s business;

  • Michelin North America (Canada) Inc.

    Michelin North America (Canada) Inc. in a class action trial involving a claim by members in relation to the validity of contribution holidays totalling $268 million;

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Chambers

  • Chambers Canada: Canada’s Leading Lawyers for Business: Band 1, Pensions and Benefits
    • "They make an excellent team - providing timely and helpful legal advice."
    • "They are technically strong, ensure excellent, timely service delivery, are extremely knowledgeable and maintain excellent communication throughout the job."
    • "They have extremely deep knowledge of the substantive law in this area which is complemented by an equally deep understanding of the taxation of pension plans."
  • Chambers Global: The World's Leading Business Lawyers: Band 1, Pensions and Benefits
    • "...with one of the largest and most experienced pensions and benefits law groups of any Canadian law firm, Osler combines wide-ranging expertise with specialised skills to provide clients with creative, solutions-driven results to meet their needs on both sides of the border."
    • "They are phenomenal in all aspects of pensions and benefits."
    • "If we have an urgent issue the lawyers there are unbelievably responsive and accessible."

Lexpert

  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory: Most Frequently Recommended, Osler’s Pensions & Employee Benefits Group Toronto, Ontario
  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory: Consistently Recommended, Osler’s Pensions & Employee Benefits Group Montréal, Québec
  • 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”

Legal 500

  • The Legal 500: Osler ranked in Tier 1, Pensions

Best Lawyers

  • Best Lawyers in Canada: Osler Lawyers recognized in the area of Employee Benefits
  • Best Lawyers in Canada: “Top-Listed” Osler in Ontario and Québec in Employee Benefits Law, with several of our legal practitioners recognized in the directory for their expertise in this field.