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Minister unveils changes to Ontario pensions

via globeandmail.com

Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan unveiled a slew of changes Tuesday which he says will stabilize and strengthen the province’s pension system.

Some of the changes apply to Ontario’s pension benefits guarantee fund, which provides pensioners with up to $1,000 a month if a private-sector plan fails to provide its full benefit, or any at all.

Ontario is the only province that has such a fund, and the government has repeatedly said that it’s dramatically under-funded.

Mr. Duncan says he won’t follow through with a recommendation to provide pensioners with up to $2,500 a month, but he is proposing to increase the contributions that companies must make to the fund.

He’s also proposing some temporary relief for certain pension plans in the broader public sector by offering them more time to pay down solvency deficits, as long as they meet certain conditions.

The proposed changes will be introduced in a bill this fall.

Mr. Duncan also wants the government to review the pension system every five years, given that these are the first major changes in 20 years.

The Minister had warned the changes would be more controversial than the ones he made in December, which were technical in nature.

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