Changes to Manitoba Legislation coming into effect

On October 1, 2021, amendments to The Pension Benefits Act and Regulations (Manitoba) came into effect and some of the highlights are shown below:

Statement of Investment Policies & Procedures (SIP)
Annual filing of the latest SIP is now required within 180 days of the end of each fiscal year of the plan. Previously, the SIP was not required to be filed with Manitoba regulators.

Pension Committee as Administrator of the Pension Plan
The amendments introduced what actions to take if a plan has one or more non-active members and non-active vacancy on the committee. Non-active members as a group are required to appoint or elect at least one voting member of the pension committee. If a voting non-active vacancy exists and no non-active member is willing to serve as a voting member, the plan must take steps at least annually to determine if the plan has any non-active members or other beneficiaries who could elect a voting member and if so, follow the regular procedures for the election of a voting member by the non-active group to the committee.

Unlocking options – Locked-In Retirement Accounts (LIRA ) and Life Income Fund (LIF) Holder

    1. Individuals may unlock all or a portion of their LIRA or LIF assets for reasons of financial hardship at any age based on:
      ● Low expected income
      ● Medical expenses
      ● Rental arrears
      ● Mortgage arrears

Members can find the Financial Hardship Withdrawal Application Form on the Manitoba government website. More information is available in Policy Bulletin #14 on the Manitoba government website.

    1. Individuals aged 65 or over may unlock 100% of their LIRA or LIF assets.
    2. Individuals aged 55 or over may transfer up to 50% of their assets from a LIRA or LIF to a Prescribed Registered Retirement Income Fund (PRRIF).

Relationship Breakdowns
Parties involved in a marriage or common-law partnership breakdown can now split their pension plan, LIRA and LIF assets, based on their shared circumstances instead of either a 50-50 split or no division as previously mandated.