Ontario pension law has always permitted active members, deferred vested members and retired members of a pension plan to establish an “advisory committee.” They were toothless committees. Ontario pension reforms has changed the rules regarding the membership and administrative burden of advisory committees. Advisory committees will continue to have no real power to direct the administration of pension plans.
Retired members have always been permitted to participate in advisory committees; however the pension reforms have guaranteed retired member participation in these committees.
The reforms also empower advisory committees to (i) charge their costs to pension funds; (ii) force pension plan administrators to meet with them; and (iii) force administrators to provide the committee with wide array of information. The regulations detailing these new financial and documentary powers have not been released by the Ontario government.
We will keep an eye out for the creation of broad rights that may give advisory committees the right to ask for an employer’s sensitive financial or legal documents under the guise of monitoring the pension plan.