Plan Design, Conversions and Surplus Utilization

We develop and deliver solutions to address funding and long-term sustainability of single-employer defined benefit pension plans, multi-employer pension plans, target benefit plans and jointly sponsored pension plans.

By way of illustration, our lawyers’ experience includes:

  • Acting as legal counsel to the employer sponsor in connection with the establishment of a jointly sponsored pension plan in the broader public sector.
  • Acting as counsel to a provincial government regarding several novel public sector jointly sponsored pension plan arrangements.
  • Recently one of our founding partners was appointed to an expert panel by a provincial government and its teachers’ union. The expert panel was created to address significant underfunding in one of the broader public sector pension plans in that province.

BMKP Law lawyers advise employers on pension, employment and tax issues relating to all types of changes to pension plan design, including the conversion of defined benefit pension plans to defined contribution arrangements or to jointly sponsored pension plans, plan asset and liability transfers and de-risking initiatives (see Defined Benefit Pension Plan De-risking).

We also assist our clients with the design and documentation of the benefit and funding aspects of supplemental pension plan arrangements.

We advise on surplus utilization. In Canada, the use of surplus in a defined benefit plan is highly regulated for both ongoing and terminated pension plans. We have a great deal of experience advising clients on these issues including assisting clients to negotiate surplus utilization agreements with unions and other member groups.

For terminated defined benefit plans, we have assisted plan sponsors to successfully obtain regulatory consent to surplus withdrawal applications, through proving sponsor entitlement and through member surplus sharing agreements.

We work closely with our clients’ actuarial consultants, labour and employment advisors on these projects. At every stage of every project our comprehensive legal analysis is undertaken in the context of our clients’ broader business goals so that solutions to complex legal issues are coupled with practical business advice.

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Areas of Practice