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Pensions and Benefits

The negotiation and proper administration of employment benefits and pensions are a crucial part of ensuring social justice in the workplace and access to financial security in retirement.  We provide advice and representation to individuals, administrators, unions and other organizations with respect to pension entitlements, plan governance, regulatory issues, compliance, disputes and advocacy matters. 

We provide advice on both statutory and insured employment benefits.  Our union representation includes advising on the benefits for injured workers provided under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, more commonly referred to as workers’ compensation benefits.

Pensions

We provide advice to and about single employer pension plans, jointly sponsored pension plans and multi-employer pension plans, whether defined benefit, defined contribution or hybrid benefits.  We advise on and negotiate pension issues, and litigate pension disputes before administrative tribunals and in the courts. 

Our services include:

  • advice and opinions on a full range of pension matters;
  • assisting in developing and negotiating pension bargaining proposals;
  • advising on design and redesign of pension plans and retirement compensation issues;
  • assisting with discussions with regulators to avoid escalation of disputes;
  • representation before provincial and federal regulatory bodies; and
  • pension litigation in the courts, including class actions.

Notable pension-related representations include:

  • counsel to the administrators of several large private and broader public sector pension plans, in the Ontario and federal jurisdictions;
  • counsel to an employee stakeholder in the development of a new Ontario jointly sponsored pension plan; and
  • counsel to the union administrators of Employee Life and Health Trusts in the steel sector.

Benefits

We advise union and individual employee clients on the design, negotiation, and administration of benefits plans.

Our services in the area of benefits include advice and representation on:

  • insured benefits, including long-term disability;
  • employment Insurance Benefits;
  • benefits under the Employment Standards Act;
  • employee Life and Health Trusts; and
  • other negotiated and statutory benefits.

Workers’ Compensation

We work with union clients and members navigating the complicated Workplace Safety and Insurance Act regime.

Our services in this area include:

  • training and advising union representatives who are managing workers’ compensation files;
  • representing union members at all levels of the WSIB system, including appeals at the ARO and WSIAT levels;
  • providing public policy research and advice related to the WSIB regime; and
  • assisting with systemic solutions to problems, including developing strategies to eliminate or reduce the root causes of workplace injuries.

Notable benefits-related representations include:

  • Canadian Elevator Industry Welfare Trust Fund v Skinner, in which the Firm represented the Board of Trustees of the Canadian Elevator Industry Welfare Trust Fund at the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal.The Court held that excluding coverage of medical marijuana, which was based on Health Canada's position on medical marijuana at the time, was not discriminatory and did not violate the Human Rights Act. The Court observed that Health Canada's position on medical marijuana may change over time as information in this area of treatment evolves.
  • Talos v. Grand Erie District School Board, in which Wayne Talos, a high school teacher, brought an application to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario ("HRTO") arguing that cutting off his health and dental benefits when he turned 65 was unconstitutional. The firm represented Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario ("ETFO") and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association ("OECTA") as intervenors in the proceeding, in support of Mr. Talos’s position. The HRTO agreed that the policy was unconstitutional. As a result, employers can no longer provide age-differentiated health and life insurance benefits.

Ongoing Class Actions

Last Modified: 13 January 2020

Employment Insurance, Moms on Maternity Class Action / Assurance emploi - recours collectif

The class action alleged that the government and its EI Commission refused to recognize those sickness leave claims and negligently advised claimants ...

Completed Class Actions

Last Modified: 21 December 2018

Ontario Government Retiree Benefits Case

Our firm commenced an action against the Ontario government with respect to its decision to reduce the health, dental and other benefits of approximat...
Last Modified: 21 December 2018

Manulife Financial Corporation

In the class action, it is alleged, among other things, that the defendants negligently made misrepresentations relating to Manulife’s risk mana...
Last Modified: 21 December 2018

Viskase Companies Inc. and Viskase Canada Inc.

A settlement was reached reinstating paid life insurance coverage and compensating certain class members for the loss of their other paid benefits.
Last Modified: 21 December 2018

North Shore Catholic District School Board

When mutual insurance companies “demutualized” several years ago, a number of employers received substantial benefits as a result of the g...
Last Modified: 21 December 2018

Ontario Nurses' Association CCAC Pension Action

For current and former ONA members who worked for municipalities or home care services between 1996-1998, whether you were an ONA member or not when y...
Last Modified: 21 December 2018

Royal Group Technologies Ltd.

A settlement has been reached in this class action brought by the Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan ("CCWIPP").

Related Cases

Case/
6 October 2014

Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Ontario (Superintendent of Financial Services)

Counsel to Monsanto Canada at Supreme Court of Canada, Court of Appeal, Divisional Court and the Financial Services Tribunal in leading national pensi...
Case/
6 October 2014

McGrath v. (Ontario) Superintendent of Financial Institutions

Counsel to OMERS Sponsors Corporation in Financial Services Tribunal proceeding regarding ability of pension plan sponsor to amend inflation adjustmen...
Case/
6 October 2014

Chapman v. Benefit Plan Administrators

Counsel to Trustees, Eastern Car Carriers Pension Plan, in class action relating to pension funding issues: Chapman v. Benefit Plan Administrators, 20...
Case/
8 October 2013

Kranjcec v. Ontario

Class action regarding retiree benefits.
Case/
1 February 2013

Sun Indalex Finance, LLC v. United Steelworkers

Sun Indalex Finance, LLC v. United Steelworkers, 2013 SCC 6 (CanLII) Indalex Limited ("Indalex"), the sponsor and administrator of two employee pensi...
Case/
19 December 2012

Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada v. Canada (Attorney General)

Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada v. Canada (Attorney General), 2012 SCC 71 (CanLII) There are three pension plans involved in th...

Related Resources

News/3 June 2020

Cynthia Crysler Joins Firm as Head of Pensions and Benefits Practice

Cavalluzzo LLP is thrilled that Cynthia Crysler has joined the Firm as a Partner. Cynthia will lead ...
Article/1 November 2013

Ignored and Misunderstood: Privacy Rights and Medical Information in the Canadian Workplace

Introduction In 1881, an English Appellate court said: "[I]t is well established that persons do not...
Article/11 June 2013

Pension Risk Management

Insurance companies often describe themselves as “in the business of managing risk”...
Article/1 May 2012

Challenges for Jointly Sponsored Pension Plans

Amidst the wave of pension reform in Ontario, one crest has peaked above the rest; jointly sponsored...
Blog/24 November 2020

New Pension Regulation Strikes a Balance Between Employer Needs and Employees' Future Financial Security

New Ontario Regulation 520-20 allows cash-strapped employers to temporarily defer their contributions to certain defined benefit pension plans. However, employers who wish to participate must comply with strict restrictions.

As part of an attempt to aid businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario government has enacted a regulation that allows employers to tempora... Read More
Blog/24 November 2020

New Pension Regulation Strikes a Balance Between Employer Needs and Employees' Future Financial Security

New Ontario Regulation 520-20 allows cash-strapped employers to temporarily defer their contributions to certain defined benefit pension plans. However, employers who wish to participate must comply with strict restrictions.

As part of an attempt to aid businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario government has enacted a regulation that allows employers to tempora... Read More
Blog/28 October 2020

Pension Implications of the Supreme Court's Judgment in Fraser v Attorney General

The Supreme Court of Canada judgment in Fraser addresses equity in the context of pensions and may impact many pension plan designs

The Supreme Court of Canada judgment in Fraser addresses equity in the context of pensions and may impact many pension plan designs. This decision wil... Read More
Blog/27 October 2020

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board Allows COVID-19 Claims

If you contract COVID-19 at work, you may be eligible to receive benefits from the WSIB.

WSIB provides coverage for workers who have contracted COVID-19 as a result of their work duties. This blog provides details on when cases are approve... Read More
News/3 June 2020

Cynthia Crysler Joins Firm as Head of Pensions and Benefits Practice

Cavalluzzo LLP is thrilled that Cynthia Crysler has joined the Firm as a Partner. Cynthia will lead the Firm’s Pensions and Benefits Practice.&n... Read More
Article/1 November 2013

Ignored and Misunderstood: Privacy Rights and Medical Information in the Canadian Workplace

Introduction In 1881, an English Appellate court said: "[I]t is well established that persons do not by virtue of their status as employees lose their... Read More
Article/11 June 2013

Pension Risk Management

Insurance companies often describe themselves as “in the business of managing risk” So are pension plans Pension sponsors and... Read More
Article/1 May 2012

Challenges for Jointly Sponsored Pension Plans

Amidst the wave of pension reform in Ontario, one crest has peaked above the rest; jointly sponsored pension plans ("JSPPs") are under close examinati... Read More
Article/1 January 2012

Post-Retirement Benefits Update

Two recent decisions in British Columbia have addressed the issue of entitlement to post-retirement health benefits, one in a unionized setting, the o... Read More
Article/1 August 2005

Supreme Court of Canada Strikes Down Quebec Prohibition on Private Health Insurance (revised)

On June 9, 2005 the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in Chaoulli & Zeliotis v. Quebec (Attorney General), 2005 SCC 35 (“Chaoull... Read More
Article/10 June 2005

Supreme Court of Canada Strikes Down Quebec Prohibition on Private Health Insurance

On June 9, 2005 the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in Chaoulli & Zeliotis v. Quebec (Attorney General), 2005 SCC 35 (“Chaoull... Read More

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