Liability of pension committee members

Voting members of a pension committee are deemed to have approved every decision made by the pension committee. They are jointly and severally responsible. As a result, if the committee does not meet its obligations, the members can be prosecuted before civil courts and forced to pay any ensuing damages.

Non-voting members are not liable for the committee's decisions. They are, however, responsible for the tasks entrusted to them by the pension committee.

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When acting on behalf of the committee, a single member of the committee can engage the responsibility of all the members.

Voting members' personal assets can be seized to pay damages.

In the event of a lawsuit, if the court must determine the extent of responsibility of committee members and sets the amount of the resulting damages, it may reduce those damages by taking into account the circumstances surrounding the plan administration or the fact that the committee members are not paid.

A member disagrees with one of the committee's decisions

In order not to be held liable, a voting member who does not agree with one of the committee's decisions for serious reasons must voice his or her opposition.

If you are present at a committee meeting:

  • you are presumed to have approved every decision made even if you voted against the decision
  • to avoid being held responsible for a decision, you must immediately have your opposition noted in writing in the minutes of the meeting.

If you do not attend a committee meeting:

  • you are presumed to have approved every decision made
  • to avoid being held responsible for a decision, after becoming aware of it you must give the other committee members written notice of your opposition within a reasonable time period.

A non-voting member does not have to voice his or her opposition since he or she cannot be held responsible for the decisions made by the voting members. He or she can, however, express his or her point of view and make or second motions.

Resignation of a member

Resigning from the pension committee does not release a voting member from all liability.
As a voting member, you should know that:

  • you remain responsible for all of the decisions made by the pension committee during your term of office
  • if your resignation is given without a valid reason at a time when the plan is experiencing serious difficulties, you can be held liable for any loss or damages incurred to the pension fund by your resignation
  • you must notify us and the other members of the committee in writing of your resignation. Furthermore, it would be prudent to list the reasons for your resignation in your letter, being sure that they are sufficiently serious, especially of you resign at a time when the pension plan is in difficulty.
  • your resignation is effective on the date the notice is received, unless you indicate a later one.

To find out more...

Role and Responsibilities of the Pension Committee in the Administering a pension plan well collection

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