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Changes to Quebec's Labour Standards Act and Ontario budget updates

An in-depth look at these and other subjects are covered in the current issue of the Morneau Shepell News & Views

TORONTO, April 17, 2018 /CNW/ - Morneau Shepell released the April 2018 issue of its monthly newsletter, News & Views, in which the Company looked at a number of topics including: proposed amendments relating to differences in treatment for pension and benefit plan members based on hire date in Quebec, amendments to maternity, parental and paternity leave in Quebec, relevant information from the Ontario budget, proposed regulations for variable benefits in Ontario and temporary solvency funding in Alberta.

  • Introduction of Quebec Bill 176 – On March 20, 2018, Bill 176 was introduced to the Quebec National Assembly. Bill 176 will prohibit differences in treatment in pension plans or other employee benefits for those who perform the same task in the same establishment based solely on the employee's hire date. Additionally, certain unpaid leaves of absence are expanded.
  • Rules amended for maternity, parental and paternity leaves in Quebec – Bill 174, an Act mainly to relax the parental insurance plan to promote better family-work balance, was introduced on March 20, 2018. The bill will extend the paid period for maternity, paternity, parental or adoption benefits and maternity leave to 25 weeks.
  • Release of Ontario Budget – The Ontario budget of March 28, 2018 announced updates to pension plans, drug and dental coverage, mental health and Employer Health Tax. Specifically, the increased Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund retroactively. Other relevant announcements included the extension of OHIP+ to include seniors beginning August 2019, a new Ontario Drug and Dental program for those who do not have coverage from an extended health plan and a new investment of $2.1 billion over four years for a more integrated mental health and addition system for all residents.
  • Proposed regulations for variable benefits – Also in March, the Ontario Ministry of Finance provided proposed regulations on payments of variable benefits from the defined contribution provision of an Ontario-registered pension plan. With proclamation, these regulations will permit a relevant pension plan to offer variable benefits (VBs) to retired members through a VB account, rather than requiring the member to transfer their funds out of the pension plan to a locked-in retirement account, life income fund or the purchase of life annuities.
  • Alberta's temporary solvency funding relief Alberta has announced temporary solvency funding relief for defined benefit pension plans. Applications for relief will be accepted by the Alberta Superintendent of Pensions, which will permit employers to extend the solvency deficiency amortization period from five to 10 years.
  • Tracking the funded status of pension plans as at March 31, 2018 Morneau Shepell shared the changes in the financial position of a typical defined benefit plan since December 31, 2017. The graph in the newsletter shows the impact of three typical portfolios on plan assets and the effect of interest rate changes on solvency liabilities of medium duration.
  • Impact on pension expense under international accounting as at March 31, 2018 Morneau Shepell showed the expense impact for a typical pension plan that starts the year at an arbitrary value of 100 (expense index). Since the beginning of the year, the pension expense has decreased by one per cent (for a contributory plan) due to the increase in the discount rates.

About Morneau Shepell
Morneau Shepell is the only human resources consulting and technology company that takes an integrated approach to employee assistance, health, benefits and retirement needs. The Company is the leading provider of employee and family assistance programs, the largest administrator of retirement and benefits plans and the largest provider of integrated absence management solutions in Canada. As a leader in strategic HR consulting and innovative pension design, the Company helps clients solve complex workforce problems and provides integrated productivity, health and retirement solutions.  Established in 1966, Morneau Shepell serves approximately 20,000 clients, ranging from small businesses to some of the largest corporations and associations. With more than 4,000 employees in offices across North America, Morneau Shepell provides services to organizations across Canada, in the United States and around the globe. Morneau Shepell is a publicly-traded company on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: MSI). For more information, visit morneaushepell.com.

SOURCE Morneau Shepell - Pension/Retirement

For further information: Heather MacDonald, Morneau Shepell, 416.390.2625, hmacdonald@morneaushepell.com