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Hello my name is Andrew Feldstein of the Feldstein Family Law Group. Today I will be discussing what happens when you are going through a separation or divorce in Ontario and you or your spouse receives an out of province pension.
In Canada, pensions are valued in accordance with each province’s legislation and therefore their value can vary, depending on the province.
As you may know, significant legislation changes were made to the Family Law Act and the Pension Benefits Act in January of 2012. These changes made it easier for parties to value and divide pensions in Ontario following a marriage breakdown.
These changes meant that pension plan members who have to pay their former spouse a settlement based on the value of their pension plan are now able to make some or all of the payment from the pension plan itself. The new legislation also applies to an unmarried, or Common Law, spouse if they agree to share the value of the pension plan following separation.
If a separation or divorce proceeding is taking place in Ontario, the pension must be valued in accordance with Ontario legislation. This is because a Court in Ontario does not have the jurisdiction to rule on Pensions that have been valued in accordance with legislation of other provinces.
The Ontario legislation regarding a spouse’s interest in a Pension Plan can be found at section 10.1 of the Family Law Act.
Section 10.1 subsection 1 states that “the imputed value, for family law purposes, of a spouse’s interest in a pension plan to which the Pension Benefits Act applies is determined in accordance with section 67.2 of the Act.”
Subsection 2 states that “the imputed value, for family law purposes, of a spouse’s interest in any other pension plan is determined, where reasonably possible, in accordance with section 67.2 of the Pension Benefits Act with necessary modifications.
Therefore, if you or your spouse has an out-of-province pension it must be valued in accordance with Ontario legislation pursuant to section 10.1 subsection 2 of the Family Law Act. The pension should be valued by a private actuary who is experienced and familiar with the pension legislation in Ontario. Having a pension valued in Ontario, to comply with Ontario law, may be an additional cost to you.
At Feldstein Family Law Group, we strive to explain the law in plain English. Our lawyers are qualified to handle all of your family law needs. Please contact Feldstein Family Law Group at (905) 581-7222 to consult with a lawyer today.