Last week, the B.C. Government introduced a bill that, if passed, would expand the exceptions to the Pension Benefits Standards Act’s rule against attachment of pension benefits.
Currently, the Pension Benefits Standards Act permits pension benefits to be attached by certain notices and orders made under the Family Maintenance Enforcement Act when a person defaults on their family maintenance obligations. Bill 4, Finance Statutes Amendment Act, 2023, would add another exception. This exception would permit pension benefits to be attached by preservation or forfeiture orders made under Part 18.1 of the Securities Act or in furtherance of any other process to enforce an order under the Securities Act. Such orders are made when a person contravenes securities law.
When introducing the Bill, the government noted that the objective of these proposed changes is to improve the BC Securities Commission’s ability to enforce securities laws and collect fines. These changes will be debated further when Bill 4 moves to second reading.
No changes to pension plan administration are required at this time. However, if these amendments come into force, plan administrators should be aware of this new exclusion as they could receive directions from the BC Securities Commission in respect of their members’ pension benefits.
If you have any questions about the rules against disposition or attachment of pension benefits, please contact a member of our Pensions and Employee Benefits Group for more information.
Meghan is a partner in the firm’s Pension and Employee Benefits Group. She acts for boards of trustees and other sponsors of pension and benefit plans in the private and public sectors in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Lawson Lundell's Pension and Employee Benefits Law Blog provides updates on the most recent legal developments impacting pension and employee benefit plans. We cover a range of topics, including recent case law and changes to relevant provincial and federal legislation.
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