Canadian Pensions Certificate Program

Date and Time

Starts:10/13/2020 8:30 AM

Ends:10/15/2020 4:30 PM

Event Type: Certificate

21 Hours Hour(s)

Yorkville Conference Center 150 Bloor St W, 2nd FL Toronto, ON


HRPA Members:
$1650 + Taxes
$2060 + Taxes
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Additional Information

To determine if your company qualifies to have the costs of this program covered through a grant, click here

Event Sponsor

Pensions and retirement savings used to be a relatively straightforward area for HR professionals.

Not anymore.

While still a very important element of employee compensation, the landscape of pension and retirement savings has become much more complex.

Longer life expectancies and workplace demographics that often skew toward the more mature end of the spectrum are also complicating factors. And as pension law and regulation continue to evolve, a good understanding of the legal framework, best practices and risk management is critical to successful plan administration.

In this certificate course, master one of the most important elements of employee compensation, and learn how to make your firm's programs as efficient as possible. This is an invaluable opportunity to further your career and enhance your company's effectiveness by becoming an expert in the area of pension and retirement savings.

Develop your understanding of the basics of plan administration and governance, including:

  • Learn about the key elements of plan administration, including the key legal obligations.
  • Gain a valuable, practical understanding of retirement savings plans and plan governance.
  • Understand best practices in risk management, particularly for day-to-day plan administration.

Complete all three levels and receive your Pensions Program Certificate.

Each day builds on the knowledge and skills of the previous level. Successful graduates will have completed all three levels.

Course Topics:

Level 1: Introduction to the key elements of retirement savings plans and plan governance

  • The three pillars of retirement savings
  • An overview of government administered pension programs
  • Types of employer sponsored retirement plans
  • Basic principles of plan governance
  • Risk management and best practices in plan governance

On Day 1, lawyers who specialize in pension and other retirement savings vehicles will lead the discussion on Canada's retirement system. The morning session will provide an introduction to Canada's three pillars of retirement savings: the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, and employment and personal retirement savings vehicles. The discussion will include some of the trends affecting each of the three pillars of the retirement system. We will then provide an overview of defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans sponsored by public sector and private sector employers, including a description of the key players involved in establishing, maintaining and administering a pension plan. The afternoon session will focus on expanding the discussion regarding these players and the sources of the fiduciary obligations associated with administering a pension plan pursuant to court cases, legislation, and regulatory guidelines. We will also provide details regarding the prevailing best practices in the pension industry related to the governance of pension plans and the regulatory guidelines that are aimed at assisting plan sponsors and administrators in ensuring that a pension plan is operating in the appropriate governance framework. Both sessions are interactive and will include examples of scenarios human resources professionals are likely to encounter in the administration of a retirement savings plan. 

Level 2: Key principles of plan funding and investments

  • An overview of the tax rules
  • Actuarial funding and valuations
  • Funding arrangement options
  • Investment rules and regulations
  • De-risking options and trends


On Day 2, actuaries will lead the discussion on defined benefit retirement plans from various perspectives, including numerous real-life stories based on actual client situations. We open with a brief overview of the Canadian taxation and legislative framework and how they apply to both public and private sponsored pension plans.  We then explain various funding valuation types using an actuarial report followed by recent changes to Ontario funding reform.  In the afternoon, we continue with accounting valuations for financial statement reporting, followed by investment rules and regulations.  The final portion dives into available de-risking trends in the marketplace and we finish the day with best practices in administering pension plans.  

Level 3: Regulatory compliance and best practices in plan administration and communications

  • An overview of the complex web of legislation applicable to pension plans
  • Minimum standards governing member entitlements
  • Consequences of regulatory non-compliance
  • Identify common administration pitfalls
  • The importance of getting clear and accurate communications


On Day 3, two experienced pension lawyers who regularly advise employers and administrators on regulatory compliance and administration best practices will discuss key considerations regarding minimum standards compliance, administration pitfalls and solutions and communications best practices. The morning session will take attendees through the main minimum standards rules applicable to registered pension plans.  This discussion will walk through the legal landscape governing pension plans and the rules governing the design and operation of pension plans.  The focus will primarily be pension plans provided for Ontario members, but pertinent distinctions in other jurisdictions will also be highlighted.  The morning session will conclude with a discussion of the consequences of failing to comply with applicable pension legislation and the requirements applicable to record retention.  The afternoon session will focus on frequent administration pitfalls affecting pension and retirement savings plans and the solutions or proactive steps that plan administrators, including human resources professionals, can take to minimize liability. It will continue with a discussion of communications to pension and retirement savings plan members and the principles learned from cases in which poor communications resulted in legal actions against employers and plan administrators.  

Learning objectives:

  • Gain an understanding of the legal and regulatory framework that applies to pension and other retirement savings plans.
  • Learn tips on best practices in plan administration and governance.
  • Get strategies to reduce risk and liability in plan administration.


Who should attend?

HR professionals, pension committee members, boards of trustees, c-suite executives.