Changes to Bill C-47

Q1 - 2011

Bill C-47, Sustaining Canada’s Economic Recovery Act (“the Bill”), received Royal Assent on December 15, 2010. The Bill includes a number of changes to the federal Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985, which affect federally registered pension plans as well as members who fall under this federal jurisdiction. While a number of changes came into effect on Royal Assent, details of those changes will not be known until the regulations are released or further direction is received. There are also some items that will come into force on a date or dates to be fixed by proclamation.

What changes are now in effect?

Member booklets are to be provided within 60 days of a plan establishment or amendment (previously the deadline was six months).

The small benefits rule has changed to allow for unlocking of values that are less than 20 per cent of the Year’s Maximum Pensionable Earnings (YMPE). Previously the small benefits rule was based on annual pension benefits less than four per cent of the YMPE.