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The Superintendent of Pensions in our Pensions Division regulates pension plans registered in British Columbia under the Pension Benefits Standards Act (the "PBSA").
Information describing the PBSA in plain language is available online in two documents: Pension Benefits Standards Act - Information for Pension Plan Members, and Pension Benefits Standards Act - Questions & Answers
British Columbia members of pension plans registered in other provinces in Canada are also protected by the PBSA. The Superintendent´s role is to administer the Pension Benefits Standards Act in a manner consistent with the intent of the statute, balancing the security of the benefits promised with the limitations of plan sponsors.
Financial Hardship Unlocking
The new PBSA provides an opportunity for members who are facing financial hardships to access their pension funds through a Locked in Retirement Account (LIRA) or Life Income Fund (LIF).
Financial Hardship Unlocking: Low Income
Do you have pension funds that are locked-in under BC law? Are you hoping to unlock your funds due to financial hardship because of low income? The following video illustrates how the process works.If you believe you qualify to unlock your pension on low income grounds, go to this link on FICOM's website: http://www.ficombc.ca/pdf/Pensions/SOP-FHU.pdf. There you can download the Application to Unlock and Withdraw British Columbia Funds Due to Financial Hardship form. Then contact the financial institution holding your locked-in retirement account (LIRA) or life income fund (LIF) for more information.
FICOM released a Risk-Based Regulatory Framework for Pension Plans registered in British Columbia
in May 2014. Staff of the Superintendent developed the Risk-Based Regulatory Framework for
identifying inappropriate or unsafe business practices and, as required, intervening with
plan administrators to address the identified risks. The focus is on early identification of
risk and the allocation of resources to plans with the highest risk profile. The Framework can be
Section 38 of the Act requires that pension plan administrators file reports and returns. Section 38 (1) of the Act requires that these reports and returns be filed in the form and manner required by the Superintendent of Pensions. All reports required to be filed using the web application below.
Things We Do Not Do:
The PBSA does not provide the authority for the Superintendent of Pensions to unlock pension funds.
FICOM does not have jurisdiction over pension plans covering federal public sector employees, or private sector employees working in federally regulated industries such as banks, airlines, broadcasting and telecommunications or jurisdictions such as Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Yukon.
Pensions are not guaranteed by the PBSA. The PBSA requires plan sponsors to adequately fund all benefits earned by members, and to make special payments to make up any funding shortfalls.
The Superintendent makes no decisions concerning the reduction of benefits. That responsibility lies with the board of trustees.
Before the trustees may reduce benefits, other than for plans including a target benefit provision, they must receive consent for the reduction from the Superintendent.
The Superintendent of Pensions is not responsible for programs administered by the federal government such as the Canada Pension Plan ("CPP"), Old Age Security ("OAS"), or Guaranteed Income Supplement ("GIS"). For enquiries related to these programs contact the CPP or OAS (1 800 277-9914, or 1 800 343-8282 from outside Canada).