Pension plan termination date

The employer must respect the rules under the Supplemental Pension Plans Act when choosing the pension plan termination date.

General rules about termination dates

  • The termination date cannot be prior to the date on which collection of member contributions ceased

    and

  • the written notice of termination must be sent to active members no later than 30 days after the termination date.

Example - The employer stops collecting member contributions on 31 March and wishes to terminate the plan on that date. He must send the written notice of termination to the active members no later than 30 April. Non-active members and beneficiaries can be notified later without affecting the termination date.

Special rules about termination dates


Rule 1
- The employer can set a termination date that is prior to the one allowed by the general rule. To do so, all active members must consent in writing to the termination date.

Example - The employer stops collecting member contributions on 31 March, but sends the written notice to active members only on 30 May. According to the general rule, the termination date cannot be prior to 30 April (30 May less 30 days). However, the termination date can be set for an earlier date, that is, 31 March, if the employer obtains the written consent of all active members. If that consent is not obtained, the required employer and member contributions must be paid for the period from 31 March to the termination date.

Rule 2 - The plan must end before there are no more members or beneficiaries. The termination date must therefore be set, at the latest, on the day before the one on which benefits are paid to the last member or beneficiary.

This rule aims at ensuring (especially for small plans) that there is at least one person considered to be a participant or beneficiary on the termination date set by the employer.

This rule must be applied regardless of the date on which the member or beneficiary was notified of plan termination.

Example - The only remaining plan member died on 31 March. A death benefit was paid to the spouse on 30 April. The termination date must be no later than 29 April, regardless of the date on which the spouse received the written notice of termination.

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