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Biography

Spotlight

Clients rate Ken as "very responsive, proactive and thorough," going on to state: "He is everything an outside counsel should be." He is well respected in the market and has noted expertise regarding pension plan governance and compliance. 

- Chambers Canada, 2018 Guide

Ken practices exclusively in the firm’s pensions and employee benefits law practice group. He advises pension and benefit plan sponsors on a range of legal and regulatory issues affecting their plans. He advises on pension plan governance and compliance monitoring projects, regulatory applications and the handling of pension disputes. He works with managers in the drafting and maintenance of pension documents, including plan texts, trust agreements, governance policies, investment policies, funding policies, plan assessments, as well as investment manager and other service provider contracts. Ken is frequently involved in assisting parties in mergers and acquisitions on the pension and benefits issues arising in the course of planning and executing their transactions.

Professional Activities

  • Association of Canadian Pension Management, Board of Directors, British Columbia Regional Council, Past Chair; Chair of the 2013 National Conference and National Conference Planning Committee, Member since 2012 
  • Canadian Bar Association, Pension and Benefits Section, Past National Executive Member (3 terms) and Past British Columbia Section Chair (3 terms)
  • International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, Past Canadian Legal/Legislative and Public Sector Committee Member
  • International Pension and Employee Benefits Lawyers’ Association, Program Chair of the 2014 Conference; Member of the 2013, 2015 and 2017 Conference Planning Committees
  • Canadian Pension and Benefits Institute, Past British Columbia Council Member

Recognitions & Rankings

Recognitions & Rankings

  • Best Lawyers in Canada: recognized for Employee Benefits law
  • Best Lawyers: Employee Benefits Law Lawyer of the Year in Vancouver for 2014, 2017 & 2019
  • Chambers Canada: recognized in the Pensions & Benefits (Canada) category
  • Chambers Global: recognized in the Pensions & Benefits (Canada) category
  • Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory: most frequently recommended as a Leading Practitioner for Pensions & Employee Benefits (Employer)
  • 2018 Lexpert Guide to US/Canada Cross-Border Lawyers in Canada: recognized for Labour & Employment
  • Legal 500 Canada: recommended in the Pensions category
  • 2016 Premier Awards: NWT's Premier's Award for Collaboration
  • Martindale-Hubbell International Law Directory: AV Peer Review rated

Experience

Experience

  • Providing legal, legislative and governance advice to a public sector, multi-employer pension plan regarding plan expansion
  • Assisting a provincial Crown corporation in the amendment of its management pension plan trust arrangements to permit the establishment of solvency reserve accounts and the related changes to its pension investment policies.
  • Acting for a provincial group insurance trust regarding substantial investments as well as tax and structuring advice
  • Acting for a public sector pension plan on a withdrawal liability matters
  • Acting for the board of a public sector multi-employer pension plan in negotiations with government over changes to legislation governing the plan
  • Acting for a mining company in the design and set up of new pension and benefit plans prior to the opening of operations in northern Canada
  • Structuring and advising on a client company's pension committee, and providing professional oversight for several of the company's pension plans
  • Setting up pension governance and legislative compliance monitoring systems for various clients
  • Representing a multi-employer pension board in litigation to recover withdrawal liability obligations of a former participating employer
  • Assisting a forest products company in negotiating the pension and benefits disclosure requirements in a complex lending agreement
  • Negotiating pension and benefit terms in corporate mergers and acquisitions on behalf of numerous large and small clients
  • Drafting submissions to pension regulators on behalf of numerous clients
  • Advising on and setting up letters of credit to secure supplemental pension plans for various employers
  • Setting up retirement compensation arrangements for employers in the forest, mining and retail industries
  • Advising a US airline and a US mining company on ways to best mirror 401(k) plans for employees in Canada
  • Drafting an opinion to a forestry company on best practices in winding down a pension plan
  • Helping a Canadian multi-national company establish a savings plan for expatriate employees
  • Drafting template custodial documents for a trust company
  • Negotiating funding relief for a plan sponsor with the federal pension regulator
  • Assisting an energy company in selecting and moving its pension fund to a new pension fund holder
  • Assisting a consortium of pension funds on joint investments in private equity funds
  • Drafting statements of investment policies and procedures for an insurance company's defined contribution plan
  • Advising a US head office on the oversight of its Canadian subsidiary's pension obligations
  • Drafting and amending pension trust agreements for various employers and multi-employer plan boards of trustees
  • Advising a mining company on the implementation of phased retirement provisions in its pension plan

News & Publications

News & Publications

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagements

  • "Pension Reform in British Columbia and Alberta", Osgoode Hall Law School Professional Development Certificate in Pension Law Program, Toronto, ON, April 11, 2018, Speaker
  • "In the Age of Governance", British Columbia Regional Council Event, Association of Canadian Pension Management, , Vancouver, BC, June 13, 2017, Co-Speaker
  • "Liability of Pension Fund Decision Makers", IPEBLA’s 16th International Conference Metamorphosis: the Future of Pensions & Benefits,, Prague, Czech Republic, May 29, 2017, Coordinator/Moderator
  • “Pension Promise and Pension Reality — How Do We Turn One Into The Other?”, Association of Canadian Pension Management (ACPM) National Conference, Charlottetown, P.E.I, September 21, 2016, Moderator
  • “Cross-Country Legislative Update”, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, Ottawa, ON, May 12, 2016, Co-Speaker
  • "International Transfers Pension, Benefits and Executive Compensation Issues," International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans Certification in Canadian Benefit Plans Conference, Toronto, October 7, 2015, Speaker
  • "Multi-National Mega-Pension Funds: Who’s in Charge? Rise of Pension Funds as a form of Global Financial Institution", IPEBLA’s 15th International Brussels Conference, Brussels, Belgium, May 18, 2015, Speaker
  • "International Transfers - Pension Benefits and Executive Compensation Issues", International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans Certification in Canadian Benefit Plans Conference, Vancouver, October 2014, Speaker
  • "Update on Pension Legislation in British Columbia and Alberta", British Columbia Regional Council Event, Association of Canadian Pension Management, Vancouver, October 2014, Moderator
  • "The New Employment Pension Plans Act & Regulations", Lawson Lundell LLP Pension & Employee Benefits Law Group Client Seminar, Calgary & Edmonton, AB, September 2014, Co-Speaker
  • "Economic Benefits Retirement Savings Bring to the Economy", Association of Canadian Pension Management National Conference, La Malbaie, QC, September 2014, Moderator
  • "DB Pension Plan Funding - Sustainability Requires a New Model", Association of Canadian Pension Management, Vancouver, December 2013, Moderator
  • "Securities Market Activism for Canadian Plan Trustees: Using Class Action Litigation Wisely", International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans 46th Annual Canadian Employee Benefits Conference, San Francisco, November 2013, Co-speaker
  • "Legal/Legislative Update - Western Canada", International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans 46th Annual Canadian Employee Benefits Conference, San Francisco, November 2013, Speaker
  • "Legal/Legislative Developments Across Canada - Target Benefit Pension Plans - What's the Latest?" International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans 46th Annual Canadian Employee Benefits Conference, San Francisco, November 2013, Co-Speaker
  • "Pension Hotstove", Association of Canadian Pension Management National Conference, Ottawa, September 2013, Conference Chair and Host/Co-Speaker
  • "Target Benefit Plans and other Hybrid Arrangements", International Pension and Employee Benefit Lawyers Association (IPEBLA) Conference, Rome, May 2013, Speaker
  • "Legal/Legislative Developments Across Canada", International Foundation (IF) Conference, Charlottetown, May 2013, Speaker
  • "The Indalex Supreme Court Decision and Implications for Actuaries", Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA), May 2013, Webinar
  • "British Columbia’s bcIMC:Its Important Role in Markets and the Broader Society", British Columbia Regional Council Event, Association of Canadian Pension Management, Vancouver, February 2013, Moderator
  • "Latest Developments in Pensions – PRPPs, Regulatory Initiatives, Pension Design Innovations and other Trends", Victoria, September 2012, Moderator
  • "Pension Hotstove", Association of Canadian Pension Management National Conference, Victoria, September 2012, Host/Co-Speaker
  • "Pension Reform: Western Canada Update", October 2011, Webinar
  • "Understanding Your Investment Management Contract", Vancouver, September 2011, Speaker
  • "Unfinished Business - The Slow Moving Trend from DB to DC in Canada", Calgary, June 2011, Co-Speaker
  • "Employment Benefits Generally", Vancouver, May 2011, Speaker
  • “Recent Developments in Pension Plan Law and ACPM Advocacy Initiatives”, Vancouver, April 2011, Moderator
  • “Are MEPPs in Your Future? – Developing the multi-employer plan model for use in non-union situations”, Whistler, September 2010, Moderator
  • “BC’s Pension System Review Consultation: What Action Should the Government take to Increase Pension Coverage”, Vancouver, April 2010, Moderator
  • "Background Legal and Legislative Context (Relating to Pension Plan Investments)"; and "Legal and Legislative Context Workshop on Investment Management Contracts", Quebec City, August 2009, Speaker
  • "Legal Developments of the Past Year", Kelowna, October 2008, Speaker
  • "Cross Canada Review of Pension Legislation and Regulatory Changes", Ottawa, May 2008, Speaker
  • "Managing Pension Risks in Corporate Transactions", Vancouver, December 2007, Speaker
  • "Legal Developments of the Past Year", Ottawa, May 2007, Speaker
  • "Mergers and Acquisitions: A Pension Lawyer’s Perspective", Vancouver, March 2007, Speaker
  • "Plan Management and Disclosure", Vancouver, January 2007, Speaker
  • "Liability and the Plan Administrator", Vancouver, January 2007, Speaker
  • "Legal Developments of the Past Year", Whistler, October 2006, Speaker
  • "Managing Pension Risks in Corporate Transactions", Calgary, May 2006, Speaker
  • "Mergers & Acquisitions – Identifying & Addressing Pension and Benefit Legal Risks", St. John's, May 2005, Speaker
  • "Communicating Pensions & Benefits – Legal Issues", Vancouver, April 2005, Speaker
Kenneth Burns, Lawson Lundell Photo
Vancouver
t 604.631.9286
f 604.669.1620

Assistant Contact

Bar Admissions

  • British Columbia (1998)
  • Northwest Territories (2000)
  • Alberta (2006)
  • Yukon (2018)

Education

University of Western Ontario (B.A., 1990)

McGill University (M.B.A., 1994)

University of Western Ontario (LL.B., 1997)

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