Ontario Budget - Amendments to the Pension Benefits Act

September 3, 2014

Ontario Budget - Amendments to the Pension Benefits Act

To implement certain aspects of the 2014 Ontario budget, the province passed Bill 14 - Building Opportunity and Securing Our Future Act (Budget Measures) on July 24, 2014. The Bill included amendments to the Ontario Pension Benefits Act (PBA) to reverse the impact of the Ontario Court of Appeal’s 2012 decision in Carrigan vs. Carrigan Estate regarding the entitlement to death benefits in situations of "dual spouses". 

The new legislation extends pension death benefits under section 48 (pre-retirement death benefits) and section 44 (joint and survivor pensions) to common law spouses and clarifies the following: (for additional background, see GRS matters articles distributed July 2 and August 26, 2013.)

The person who qualifies under the PBA as a common law spouse is entitled to the pre-retirement death benefits in circumstances where:

  • A plan member is legally married to a spouse, but living separate and apart from that person at death
  • The plan member is not retired and receiving a pension
  • The plan member is living with a common law spouse at the date of death

The person who qualifies under the PBA as a common law spouse is entitled to the joint and survivor pension in circumstances where:

  • A plan member is legally married to a spouse, but living separate and apart from that person  on the date that the payment of the first instalment of the pension is due
  • The plan member is living with a  common law spouse on the date that the first instalment of the pension is due
  • The plan member’s pension commenced prior to death

More information can be found at:  http://www.sunlife.ca/Canada/GRS%20matters/GRS%20matters%20articles/2014/Breaking%20news/Amendments%20to%20Pension%20Benefits%20Act%20reverse%20Carrigan%20decision?vgnLocale=en_CA