If Canada's provincial and federal governments synchronize their pension regulations — replacing the current 10 variations on a theme — the move would reduce costs and headaches for sponsors with plan participants in more than one province, and could even encourage more companies to offer retirement plans, sources say. But any change will be slow in coming.
The Canadian Association of Pension Supervisory Authorities, North York, Ontario, last month released its "principles for a model pension law" — proposals to "harmonize and simplify pension regulation across Canada." CAPSA, an association of Canadian pension plan regulators, is inviting feedback from pension plan sponsors, participants and other interested parties through the end of June, and from the responses will draft a single model law to present to provincial and federal governments.
Currently, nine provinces have their own pension laws — none is the same. (Prince Edward Island has no provincial pension legislation.) A federal agency, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, oversees plans for national employers like banks and railways. There is no federal law overseeing all pension plans in Canada; cross-provincial plans now must comply with multiple sets of regulations.