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Pension Plans Certificate Program

Master the basics of Pension Plans and Governance

Keep your employees motivated, confident and productive
through their worklife.

Career GPS Domains: Performance & Rewards, Employee Relations

Compelling reasons to earn your certification:

  • Retirement Plan arrangements are under increased scrutiny from pension regulators and the corporations that sponsor them.
  • Legal issues concerning Canadian private pension plans have grown in prominence, as well as mounting issues over their adequacy in the context of an ageing population. 
  • These concerns have become more acute as a result of the global economic downturn and the poor performance of pension plan investments.

A must-attend program for HR professionals, committee members and pension trustees

  • Learn all about the key elements of operating and administering pension plans.
  • Gain a valuable, practical overview of retirement plans, governance and how you can help manage this valuable benefit. 
  • Survey the sources of legal obligations relating to pension plan administration and understand best practices to navigate the various aspects of pension plans: fiduciary duties, pension law and regulations, funding, investment management and communications.

Complete all three levels and receive your Pension Plans program Certificate.
Each day builds on the knowledge and skills of the previous level.

WHY you should be Here:

Participant Take-aways:

Level 1 – Introduction to the key elements of a Canadian retirement arrangement and its context

  • Overview of the retirement system in Canada
  • Definitions of the various retirement plans used by employers
  • Regulation of retirement plans
  • Statutory standards and other governance guidelines of retirement plans
  • The role of service providers
  • Investment management
  • Asset custody

Level 2 – In-depth look into the guiding  principles of retirement plans

  • Income Tax Act requirements
  • Minimum standards pension legislation
  • Retirement plan documentation
  • Actuarial funding and accounting reports
  • Employment and Family law issues
  • Investment management for Defined  Benefit and Capital Accumulation plans
  • Employee communication and member support beyond enrollment: making sure the participants understand the true value of their group savings plan

Level 3 – Pension case studies and practical intelligence

  • Pension disputes
  • Designing governance structures
  • Investment policies and other governing documents
  • Real-life fiduciary and actuarial issues /de-risking
  • Investment management (non-traditional portfolio strategies, investment trends, how to drive a meeting or interview with investment managers)
  • Audits by regulators
  • Outlook: a practitioner’s look into the future

WHAT you will Gain:

Attendees can offer immediate value-add and ROI to the organization after earning certification in the following ways:

  • Initiate steps for good pension governance.
  • Avoid prospects of legal liabilities related to pension plans, particularly in an environment of economic uncertainty. 
  • Develop an effective risk management strategy and foster a culture of knowledge and best practices among key individuals involved.
  • Ensure compliance with legal obligations and greatly reduce exposure to liability. 

WHO should attend:

  • HR professionals 
  • Members of Board of Trustees
  • Pension Committees
  • C-Suite executive
  • Pension trustees
    - directly responsible for administration, governance
    - or management of  pension plans

Speaker Bios:

James Pierlot, B.A. LL.B. B.C.L. LL.M., (Course Leader)

  • The founder and principal of Pierlot Pension Law, James Pierlot has extensive experience advising sponsors and administrators of some of the largest pension plans in Canada on matters relating to pension governance, and compliance with federal tax rules, pension-standards legislation and investment regulations.
  • Recognized as an innovative thought leader, James is a member of the C.D. Howe Institute Pension Policy Council and Vice Chair of the Pension and Benefits Section of the Ontario Bar Association.
  • He publishes regularly, speaks at industry events, is frequently quoted in the press, and gives radio and television interviews. 
  • He has authored legislation presented to the House of Commons, appeared before federal and provincial legislative committees and made numerous submissions to governments on regulatory reform relating to pension and benefit plans and retirement savings adequacy.
  • James is fluent in English and French and holds degrees in tax law, civil law, common law, European law and History.

Sven Poysa, Partner, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP’s labour and employment department. 

  • Sven Poysa has experience in all areas of employment and labour law, including significant expertise on the intersection between pension and employment law.  Sven advises a wide range of public and private sector clients on labour and employment considerations in pension and benefit plan revisions, among other issues. 
  • Sven has spoken and written on a wide-range of labour and employment topics, and teaches Legal Inquiry at McMaster University.

Louise Grieg, Partner, Osler, Hoskin& Harcourt LLP

  • Louise is a partner in the Pension and Benefits Department at Osler, Hoskin& Harcourt LLP. Her practice covers all legal issues relating to pension and employee benefit plans, with a specialty in pension plan investing.
  • Louise has served in various roles in the Pension & Benefits Section of the Ontario Bar Association and was Chair of the Section from 2008-2009 and is the immediate past Chair of the FSCO Legal Advisory Committee.
  • Louise is currently a member of the executive of the Canadian Bar Association Pension & Benefits Section and of the Ontario Regional Council of the Canadian Pension & Benefits Institute.
  • Louise is a contributing editor of the Estates, Trusts and Pension Law Journal and an editor of the text Pension Benefits Law in Ontario. Louise also serves as a trustee of a national multi-employer pension plan and related benefit plans.

Douglas Rienzo, Partner

  • Douglas practises exclusively in the area of pensions and employee benefits, with a particular focus on pension surplus issues and family law issues related to pensions. He has done work for corporate sponsors of pension plans, boards of trustees, and large institutional pension funds, as well as for individual pension plan members.
  • Douglas was a member of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario Legal Advisory Committee (Pensions), which provides confidential advice to the Superintendent of Financial Services for Ontario on the Superintendent’s responsibilities under Ontario’s Pension Benefits Act and Financial Services Commission of Ontario Act, 1997.
  • His article “Trust Law and Access to Pension Surplus” was cited by the Supreme Court of Canada in Buschau v. Rogers Communications. Douglas is the Chair of Osler’s Diversity Committee.

David Stamp

  • David is recognized as an expert litigator specializing in pension and benefits litigation and employment litigation, as well as general commercial litigation.
  • He represents major pension funds and corporations in various pensions litigation matters, and has acted for the successful party in a number of well known pension and benefits cases at various levels of court including the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Federal Court of Appeal.
  • His practice also includes a substantial administrative law component, both advising and appearing before statutory tribunals. David is a frequent presenter on pension class action and other pension litigation issues.
  • He also has extensive experience acting for employers defending wrongful dismissal and other employment-related litigation, and many years of corporate and commercial litigation experience

Ian McSweeney, Partner

  • Ian practises exclusively in the field of pensions and employee benefits and advises clients on pension plans, supplemental retirement arrangements, deferred profit sharing plans and other employee and executive compensation programs.
  • He provides advice with respect to both private and public sector pension plans, and is consulted on pensions and benefits issues by plan administrators, plan sponsors, corporate trustees, boards of trustees for multi and single employer plans and governmental agencies responsible for pension administration.
  • Ian is the editor of Pension Benefits Law in Ontario (Carswell) and a former Vice-Chair of the Pension Commission of Ontario (now Financial Services Commission of Ontario) Legal Advisory Committee.
  • Ian is also a former Chair of the International Pension & Employee Benefits Lawyers Association (IPEBLA) Steering Committee.

Martin Leclair

  • Martin joined Proteus in January 2012 to lead the development and promotion of Proteus Advisory Services.
  • Martin previously held leadership roles at major Canadian investment management firms and at a large insurance company and undertook various roles in the fields of investment product engineering, marketing, communication and business development.
  • Martin sits on the Canadian Pension and Benefits Institute’s (CPBI) Ontario Regional Council and is a member of the Association of Canadian Pension Management (ACPM) as well as the International Foundation.
  • Martin earned his CFA designation in 2000 and is a member of both the Toronto CFA Society and the Montreal CFA society.

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Level 1: March 25th, 2014
Level 2: April 29th, 2014
Level 3: May 27th, 2014
Breakfast and Registration:
7:30 am

8:30 am - 4:30 pm (each day)
Domain (Primary)
Performance & Rewards
Event Type
Certificate Program
Continuing Education:

Recertification Points 

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Toronto, ON
M5S 2X9
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