News release

Amendments to Act Bring Flexibility to Managing Pension Plans

Government introduced changes to the Pension Benefits Act today, March 12, to support greater flexibility in managing defined-benefit plans and remove barriers for employers so they can continue to offer them.

“Government values the security that workplace defined-benefit pension plans provide and wants them to continue so Nova Scotians can have peace of mind in their retirement years,” said Finance and Treasury Board Minister Karen Casey. “These changes will provide more flexibility and improve the stability of defined-benefit pension plans in many organizations, including private-sector companies, municipalities and universities.”

About 92,000 Nova Scotians belong to defined-benefit pension plans registered under the Nova Scotia Pension Benefits Act, with about 132 defined-benefit plans registered under the act.

The legislative changes will:

  • introduce reserve accounts
  • remove limits on the use of letters of credit
  • allow for the discharge of liability for annuity buyouts

There are also some administrative changes to:

  • improve language regarding deemed trust provisions
  • clarify that information provided to the superintendent of pensions may not be disclosed except as permitted by the act

The changes reflect the feedback received from employees, employers and other interested parties who responded to a regulatory framework review in September 2017. Feedback received has been summarized in the What We Heard document, released in April 2018.

Feedback showed that under the existing regulatory framework some pension plans have struggled to remain solvent. Employers want flexibility and stability in the funding framework, while employees seek transparency and protection of existing benefits.

The administrative changes will be effective when the bill passes. The remaining legislative changes are expected to be proclaimed and effective in the fall.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Government is amending the Pension Benefits Act to provide greater flexibility in managing defined-benefit plans.

Finance and Treasury Board Minister Karen Casey says government values the security that workplace defined benefit pension plans provide and wants them to continue so Nova Scotians can have piece of mind in their retirement years.

About 92,000 Nova Scotians belong to defined-benefit pension plans registered under the Nova Scotia Pension Benefits Act.

The administrative changes will be effective when the bill passes. The remaining legislative changes are expected to be proclaimed and effective in the fall.

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Media Contact:

Gary Andrea
902-456-6196 Email: