Since we were established, we have been focused on building an organization that will deliver the level and quality of service that you, our members, expect and deserve.
As part of this commitment, we are pleased to announce the official proclamation of the amended Public Service Pensions Act, 2019 (PSPA 2019) effective February 14, 2020. The PSPP’s benefit provisions are now contained in the Newfoundland and Labrador PSPP Plan Text (the Plan Text) rather than in legislation. This realizes one of the key goals of the joint sponsors, under the Plan’s Joint Sponsorship Agreement (JSA), and the Pension Reform Agreement.
While the adoption of the Plan Text will help Provident10 to more efficiently administer the PSPP on your behalf, we want to assure you that the change has no impact on your pension benefits. This communication is intended to provide you notification of this legislative change and does not require a follow-up action on your behalf.
As a part of the introduction of the Plan Text, we have also established a new Appeals Process and Procedure. Previously, if a plan member disagreed with the plan administrator with respect to a pension decision, their only option was to appeal that decision through the court. The new Appeals Process and Procedure will ensure plan members are able to address issues in a fair and efficient manner, through an internal or independent external review process.
Finally, prior to pension reform, the PSPP was subject to certain provisions of the Pension Benefits Act (PBA), the provincial act that regulates pension plans in the Province. Under the terms of the PSPA 2019 and its predecessor, the PSPP is no longer subject to the PBA. However, we are pleased to confirm that the primary legislative protections have been continued in the amended PSPA 2019 or our new plan text.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why did the Plan move from being a statutory plan (i.e. contained in legislation), to a non-statutory plan? What is the difference?
The move from a statutory plan text to a non-statutory plan text is one of the ongoing changes being made to the PSPP as a result of pension reform. As part of pension reform, PSPP pension benefits are now governed by the recently proclaimed Public Services Pensions Act, 2019 (the Act), and the new Plan Text. Your pension benefit provisions have been incorporated into the Plan Text.
For plan members like yourself, there is no difference in benefits. The Plan Text reflects the provisions of the former Act, except for a few provisions which are still contained in legislation. It also encompasses additional provisions which reflect in greater detail how benefits are administered under the Plan.
If the plan is now a non-statutory plan, why is there still an Act?
Certain provisions related to the Plan had to be maintained in legislation, for example:
- Supplementary Pension Benefits: These are benefits that exceed the Income Tax Act maximum limits imposed upon all registered pension plans. These benefits are paid outside of the registered portion of the Plan by Government through the Consolidated Revenue Fund. As such, they are not contained in the Plan Text which only reflects the provisions of the registered portion of the Plan.
- Exemption from the Pension Benefits Act: Jointly sponsored pension plans, such as the PSPP, are not regulated under the Pension Benefits Act and the Act is required to exempt the Plan from the Pension Benefits Act.
- Authority to impose locking-in on benefits transferred outside the Plan: The Plan is exempt from the Pension Benefits Act; however, a mechanism was required to preserve locking-in requirements for benefits transferred outside of the Plan.
- The Act was required to maintain Provident10 as administrator of the Plan.
Is Government still responsible for the Plan?
As a result of pension reform, sponsorship of the Plan is the Sponsor Body’s responsibility. Government’s responsibility in respect of the Plan now consists of:
- appointing representatives to the Sponsor Body
- appointing representatives to the Provident10 Board of Directors
- making special payments as provided for under the Plan
- making required contributions as a participating employer
- equally sharing in deficits and surpluses under the Plan with all plan members
Government is also responsible to fund and administer the Supplementary Pension Benefits provided for under the Act.
How will I find out if there are future changes to the Plan Text?
Any future changes to the Plan Text will be posted to our website. Certain substantial changes may also be communicated to you directly.
What is the Sponsor Body? Who appoints its members?
The Sponsor Body is comprised of 10-14 individuals representing Government, the Unions, non-union employers, and pensioners. They are responsible for oversight of the Joint Sponsorship Agreement. Their primary responsibility is to make decisions regarding changes in plan benefits. They also approve the assumptions used in actuarial valuations and direct the level of risk appropriate for the Fund’s asset mix. Members of the Sponsor Body are appointed by Government (4-6 members), the Unions (4-6 members), and the Newfoundland and Labrador Public Sector Pensioners Association (1 member). It also includes 1 non-union representative, appointed by Government or a representative association of non-union active members.
What is the Joint Sponsorship Agreement and where can I find a copy?
Who is responsible for administering the Plan?
Provident10 is plan administrator and trustee of the PSPP. The framework under which we operate is detailed in Appendix B to the Joint Sponsorship Agreement.
Where do I find more information about the benefits under the Plan?
Click here for more information about Provident10 and the Plan.
Why is the Plan exempt from the Pension Benefits Act? Who has regulatory oversight over the administration of the Plan?
The Reform Agreement between Government and the Unions intended for the Plan to be exempt from the Pension Benefits Act (PBA). The Newfoundland and Labrador Superintendent of Pensions has no regulatory oversight over the Plan. Canada Revenue Agency has regulatory oversight of the Plan with respect to compliance with the Income Tax Act, under which it is registered.
Certain protections afforded to pension plans under the PBA, such as locking-in of pension funds and provisions dealing with marriage breakdown, have been built into the Act and the Plan Text.
What are Supplementary Pension Benefits?
Supplementary Pension Benefits are benefits that exceed the Income Tax Act maximum limits imposed upon all registered pension plans. These benefits are paid outside of the registered portion of the Plan by Government through the Consolidated Revenue Fund. Supplementary Pension Benefits are administered by Provident10 on behalf of Government.
What can I do if I don’t agree with a decision made about my pension benefits?
We will always work with you to resolve any disagreements amicably and informally. However, should we be unable to reach a resolution, you have the right to a formal appeal to a Review Officer, and then to an Appeal Commissioner. For more information on the appeals process, please click here to view the Appeals Process and Procedure.
Who do I contact if I have questions?
Who has authority to change or amend the Plan?
The Plan Text may be amended by the Sponsor Body in accordance with the requirements under the Joint Sponsorship Agreement and Funding Policy.