What is Pension Plan Governance?
Pension plan governance refers to the process used in the management, supervision and administration of the pension plan. The Board of Trustees is committed to establishing and maintaining the required structures and processes to ensure that the oversight, management, administration and fiduciary obligations of the pension plan are being met. This consists of written policies and procedures, regular audits, internal control systems and providing high quality and cost-efficient service to our members.
The Board of Trustees and the Chief Executive Officer have a fiduciary duty to act and administer the LPF in accordance with the Rules and Regulations of the Plan, the Trust Agreement, applicable pension legislation and ultimately, in the best interests of all our members and beneficiaries.
At the LiUNA Pension Fund of Central and Eastern Canada (“LPF”), we believe that good governance is an important element to ensure that members receive the promised benefits.
What are the Pension Plan’s Objectives?
The objectives of the LPF are:
- To secure the sustainability of the Plan
- To advance the financial security of all plan members and beneficiaries by providing pension benefits at reasonable and stable contribution rates
- To provide efficient and effective investment management designed to achieve the highest possible return at an acceptable level of risk
- To create and maintain an environment that promotes the interests of plan members and their beneficiaries
- To provide high quality, cost-effective service to plan members and their beneficiaries and provide effective governance processes
Roles & Responsibilities
Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees is ultimately responsible for the oversight and management of the LPF. This body is the legal administrator of the LPF and has the fiduciary obligation to ensure that the LPF is administered in the best interests of its members and beneficiaries.
As a result, the Board of Trustees has specific duties and responsibilities to the LPF which can include but is not limited to:
- Amending the Plan and approving amendments to the Plan
- Approving pension benefits changes
- Approving the Chief Executive Officer’s recommendations for appointment or termination of external investment, actuarial, legal and other pension administration providers
- Reviewing all financial, actuarial and administrative aspects of the Plan
- Receiving as information an annual report on the operation of the Plan and performance of the LPF’s assets
Chief Executive Officer
The Chief Executive Officer, who is appointed by the Board of Trustees, is responsible for the day-to-day operation and administration of the Plan. As such, the Chief Executive Officer also has a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interests of the LPF’s members and beneficiaries. As a result, the Chief Executive Officer has specific duties and responsibilities to the LPF including, but not limited to:
- Acting as a liaison between the Board and the LPF and reporting on all aspects of the administration of the pension plan
- Providing support and the necessary resources as required to the Board of Trustees in order to assist the Board in its proper operation
- Promoting awareness and understanding of the Plan among members, potential members, local unions and other stakeholders
- Delegating duties as required to professional consultants, advisors and other pension administration providers
- Reviewing the performance and making any necessary recommendations regarding external professional consultants, advisors and other pension administration service providers to the Board as required
- Ensuring the effective administration of the Plan in accordance with the Rules & Regulations, applicable provincial pension legislation, and the Federal Income Tax Act
- Ensuring the effective provision of pensions to members by providing exceptional but cost-effective service to its members, beneficiaries and local unions
- Ensuring the LPF meets its obligations to members by building effective internal management, pension analyst and accounting teams
- Ensuring the management and investment of the LPF’s assets are for long-term growth, with acceptable risk levels to meet the liabilities of both present and future pension payments
Professional Advisors / Service Providers
Willis Towers Watson
An investment consultant’s expertise is employed by the Board of Trustees to advise and assist the Board in establishing investment policies and objectives, evaluate types of investment, provide advice on investment benchmarks, and monitor the performance of portfolio managers. The LPF’s investment consultant is Willis Towers Watson (WTW), who provides the Board with objective advice on investments because they neither sell, nor have a stake in the performance of the LPF’s investments.
Koskie Minsky LLP
The LPF’s legal counsel provides advice and consultation to the Board, the Chief Executive Officer and staff as deemed necessary with respect to pension related issues. Koskie Minsky LLP represent the LPF in all legal matters pertaining to pension benefits.
PBI Actuarial Consultants Ltd.
The LPF has engaged PBI Actuarial Consultants Ltd. to represent the LPF as plan actuary. In that capacity, the plan actuary advises the Trustees on all financial matters relating to the LPF. One of their key roles is to perform an actuarial valuation every year which determines the funded position of the Plan, as well as the future contribution rates needed in order to provide member pension benefits at retirement. They review all factors that may affect the Plan’s funding objectives, including estimating what investment returns the LPF will earn, when members will retire, and how long they might receive their pension. They assess the likely financial impact of these uncertain events, sometimes as far as 50 years out into the future. Actuaries are required to perform their work based on professional standards and regulations set by the Canadian Institute of Actuaries and Financial Services Commission of Ontario. Our plan actuary has a responsibility, similar to the Trustees’ fiduciary responsibility, to keep the LPF healthy today and well into the future.
The LPF must employ the services of a chartered accountant (accounting firm) to perform an annual audit of the LPF. We are currently employing the services of Deloitte LLP. Such audits must be performed in accordance with the principles and standards set out in the in the CPA Canada Standards and Guidance Collection handbook. In accordance with Ontario’s Pension Benefits Regulations, a fund with at least $10 million in assets is required to file an annual auditor’s report with respect to its financial statements.
The LPF has retained Northern Trust to carry out its custodial duties. A custodian is a financial institution that is primarily responsible for holding the customer’s assets/securities for safekeeping, minimizing the risk of their theft or loss. The Custodian is also responsible for arranging settlements of purchase and sale transactions, collecting and receiving dividends and interest payments, tax support and foreign exchange transactions.
Knowledge and Skills
The LPF Pension Fund of Central and Eastern Canada Pension Plan is a highly complicated plan that requires specific skills in the management and administration of the plan. The LPF is committed to the continuous education of the Board of Trustees and the Chief Executive Officer in order to effectively govern the pension plan and process the pension benefits of its members and beneficiaries.
In addition to this, the LPF employs external service providers for the purposes of providing expert advice in the administration and management of the pension plan to the Board of Trustees.
The LPF understands the importance of our members’ privacy, and as such we have an obligation to collect, use and disclose personal information in accordance with federal privacy and confidentiality laws. We have developed a Privacy Authorization and Release Form to ensure not only the protection of your personal information, but as well to ensure that proper guidelines are followed in the processing of your personal information.
All policies and procedures that comply with the January 1, 2004 enforcement of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) are in place and are strictly adhered to.
What Qualifies as Personal Information?
Personal information consists of any identifiable information about an individual, and may include one or more of the following items/documents:
- Annual Benefit Statement
- Birth Certificate
- Death Certificate
- Detailed Employment Work History Report
- Service Canada Record of Earnings Report
- Initial Payment Letter
- Marriage Breakdown Documentation
- Member’s Address
- Pension Estimates
- Option Election Documentation
- Pension Application Documentation
- Self-Payment Contribution Form
- Social Insurance Number
- Voluntary Election to Terminate Membership in the Plan
- Termination Application Documentation
- Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB)
- Other Specified Documents
Collection, Use and Disclosure of Personal Information
The LPF may collect, use and disclose personal information for the purpose of effective administration of the LPF and for payment of pension benefits from the LPF.
The Trustees and Chief Executive Officer of the LPF may collect, use and disclose personal information as required to permit them to carry out their fiduciary duties.
Employees of the LPF may collect, use and disclose personal information as it pertains to the administration of the LPF and payment of pension benefits.
Professional Advisors, including Actuaries, Legal Counsel, Auditors, Investment Consultants and Investment Managers may also collect, use and disclose personal information as it permits them to execute their professional function. The collection of personal information shall be limited to only what is needed.
Personal information will not be disclosed either orally, electronically, by fax or any other means, unless authorization is granted by the member. Requesters outside of the LPF, including Local Unions, Employers and insurance carriers may seek to obtain personal information, at which time a Privacy Authorization and Release Form is administered to the member. Without a signed authorization form, a member’s personal information cannot be released.
How do we Collect Personal Information?
When the LPF receives a request in writing from a spouse, former spouse, common-law spouse, child, Local Union or insurance carrier, the LPF must follow the 5 steps outlined below:
- Notify the member in writing about the request for his/her personal information and provide him/her with a Privacy Authorization and Release Form.
- Request that the Member sign the Privacy Authorization and Release Form and return it to the LPF Office – if he/she has consented to the disclosure of information to the requester. The Member must indicate the time period for which their authorization will be valid.
- For this request only
- Until I withdraw the consent or cease to be a member/Beneficiary of the LPF, whichever comes first
- Disclose personal information only if the Requester makes the request in writing and if the Member signs the consent form.
- After disclosing the personal information to the Requester, record the disclosure in the member’s file, including the member’s name, the name of the requester, the date of the disclosure and a description of the personal information.
- For all subsequent requests made by the same Requester, the LPF must ensure that they have a current, valid consent from the Member/Beneficiary to the disclosure that applies to the personal information requested. If the Requester does not make their request in writing, the LPF is not authorized to disclose a member’s personal information.
All requests for access to personal information about a member of the LPF from a Local Union must be made by a specifically named individual who has been designated by the Local Union.
Protection of Personal Information
Personal information is only disclosed to the individual(s) who have been granted authorization by the Member or Beneficiary personally. Only the personal information specified may be disclosed, and only for the time period indicated. If the authorized time period expires, the personal information will no longer be made available to the individual who requested it.
The LPF keeps your personal information in the strictest of confidence and uses it only for the purpose for which it was collected.
Personal information is maintained electronically and manually. All electronic information is password protected on a network mainframe which is monitored daily by the IT Department. Only authorized IT personnel within the LPF can access our IT network at any given time.
All hardcopy files are maintained in locked filing cabinets, storage rooms and or locked offices which only authorized personnel have access to at any given time.
Access to the Chief Executive Officer’s and other managerial offices where personal information may be housed for a period of time is strictly monitored.
Maintaining Privacy Standards
The LPF has appointed a Privacy Officer to oversee all privacy related activities as well as tend to questions or issues that may arise as a result of the newly enforced legislation. The Privacy Officer is responsible for ensuring that privacy laws are being adhered to and PIPEDA standards are being met.