Newfoundland consultation on unlocking of pension benefits for financial hardship
On July 29, 2020, the Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) government announced that it was considering amendments to the Pension Benefits Act regarding the unlocking of pension benefits for situations of financial hardship.
Options being considered would provide unlocking access to individuals who have transferred their pension benefits from a pension plan to a locked-in retirement vehicle. The NL government is seeking comments on some key issues like financial hardship criteria and eligibility, dollar amounts that could be accessed, frequency of unlocking and type of lockedin accounts from which funds could be accessed. The NL government also indicated that, like all of the other jurisdictions who provide unlocking for situations of financial hardship, the option of unlocking pension benefits under a pension plan would not be considered.
Public comments are requested by September 30, 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created financial pressures for many individuals and the NL government has indicated that it has received many inquiries and requests to access retirement income. The consultation process will thereby be of interest for many pension plan stakeholders, including former members.