Lisa J. Mills

Lisa is a lawyer at BMKP Law practicing in the areas of pension, benefits and executive compensation law.

Lisa has 20 years of experience providing advice to both federally and provincially regulated pension plan sponsors and administrators regarding pension plan design, regulatory compliance and all other aspects of administering defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans.

Lisa appears as counsel on pension and benefit matters including in class proceedings and in the arbitration context and regularly advises private and public sector employers on the pension and benefits aspects of corporate transactions and insolvencies. Lisa has recently assisted numerous employers on the establishment of new plans and governance frameworks and on the legal aspects of defined benefit plan de-risking. Lisa also provides advice on employment-related tax issues including executive compensation programs and employment insurance top-up plans.

Lisa completed the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants In-Depth Tax Course and has a particular interest and significant experience in resolving the income tax elements of pension and benefit matters.

Lisa co-authored the Public Pensions title of the Canadian Encyclopedic Digest from 2012 – 2015 and now leverages her in-depth knowledge of the Canada Pension Plan to advise employers regarding CPP enhancements and their impact on employer-sponsored pension plan design.

Lisa designed and taught the Pensions and the Law course at Queen’s University from 2009 – 2013.

Representative Work

In 2018, advised the employer sponsor of a public sector jointly sponsored pension plan on the creation of a new benefit option under the plan for the not-for-profit sector.

Successfully defended a public sector organization in pension negligent misrepresentation litigation.

In 2015-16, negotiated the transition of a specialized retirement income plan and investment structure to a new decumulation platform.

Regularly advises on pension buy-in and buy-out annuity contract provisions and other de-risking initiatives including a recent multi-tranche annuity transaction.

Implemented a number of conversions from defined benefit to defined contribution pension plans for both provincially and federally regulated employers.

Acted as pension counsel to a large steel manufacturing company in its 2014-2017 Companies Creditors’ Arrangement Act proceeding including advising on the pension standards and income tax aspects of an alternative funding and pension governance regime that was key to the successful restructuring.

Awards & Accolades

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  • Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory (2016-2018)
  • Lexpert Rising Stars (2009)
  • Lexpert Zenith Award (2018)
  • The Best Lawyers in Canada (2019)

Associations & Memberships

  • Association of Canadian Pension Management – Member
  • Canadian Pension and Benefits Institute - Member and past CPBI Ottawa Chapter Chair
  • Canada Revenue Agency Registered Plans Division Stakeholder Consultation Group
  • International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans – Member
  • Ontario Bar Association – Member (Pensions and Benefits Law Section)
  • Queen’s University Faculty of Law – Sessional Instructor, Pensions and the Law (2009-2013)
  • Ottawa-Carleton District School Board – Former member of Special Education Advisory Committee – Down Syndrome Association representative and former member of Extended Day Program Committee

Education

  • University of Toronto, LL.B.
  • McMaster University, B. Comm. (Hons.)

Publications & Presentations

  • “Pensions & Benefits - 2018 Legal Update”, Canadian Pension and Benefits Institute, Ottawa (November 21, 2018)
  • Legal Update November 2018, Desjardins Insurance Continuing Education Day (November 12, 2018)
  • “Stelco Learnings”, Northwinds Pension Invitational (November 9, 2018)
  • Marijuana in the Workplace, CBA/ABA/IPEBLA Global Pension and Employee Benefits Lawyers Conference (June 10-12, 2018)
  • “Reshaping Governance: Legal Implications and Lessons Learned”, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans – Canadian Legal and Legislative Update (May 16–17, 2018)
  • Legal Aspects of Benefit Plan Design and Administration, Desjardins Insurance Continuing Education Day (November 1, 2017)
  • “Benefit Plans: Current Legal Issues Facing Canadian Employers”, Desjardins General Insurance Group Conference (November 2, 2016)
  • “Ontario Retirement Pension Plan Update & Next Steps for Ontario Employers”, PIAC Communiqué, Volume 25, Number 2 (Spring 2016)
  • “Pension Loss during the Notice Period – The statutory and common law frameworks for pursuing pension loss”, County of Carleton Law Association Six Minute Employment Lawyer, Ottawa (October 1, 2015)
  • “E-Pensions 101: Advising Plan Administrators on Member Communication”, Ontario Bar Association’s Institute 2015, Advance Strategic Planning: Providing Pension & Benefits Advice in 2015 (February 5, 2015)
  • “Focus on Canada’s Retirement Income System”, Canadian Bar Association/American Bar Association – Benefits Without Borders – Global Pension and Employee Benefits Lawyers Conference (June 24, 2014)
  • “Pension Law in Canada: Where Has It Been, And Where Is It Headed?”, Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace, Toronto (May 23, 2014)
  • “Diary of a Pension & Benefits Practitioner”, CPBI Ottawa Chapter Spring Seminar, Ottawa (April 16, 2013)
  • “Public Pensions”, Canadian Encyclopedic Digest (2012-2015)
  • “Defined Contribution Plan Issues – Lessons from the U.S. Experience”, 2011 CPBI Ontario Regional Conference, Ottawa (October 19-21, 2011)
  • “Key issues involving health spending accounts, eligibility restrictions, insurance carrier changes, adjustable drug formularies and arbitration of benefit claims”, Lancaster House Audio Conference: Insured Benefits (May 19, 2011 )
  • “The Family Law Amendment Act and Plan Administration Challenges”, OBA Institute 2011 – Pensions and Benefits: Navigating Through a Sea of Change, Toronto (February 3, 2011)