Consent of the members and beneficiaries affected by an amendment reducing benefits retroactively

Amendments reducing benefits can have retroactive effect if the affected members and beneficiaries have consented and we have given  authorization.

Who must give consent
Conditions for authorization
Documents required

Who must give consent

Each affected member or beneficiary must give his or her individual and explicit consent. Consent is required even if the amendments were negotiated under a collective agreement. In addition, a member or beneficiary who has not expressed his or her views cannot be considered to have given consent.

Note that affected members and beneficiaries are those who could be affected by the reduction, even if the effects are not immediate.

For example, if an amendment increases the age of entitlement to a full (unreduced) pension from 60 to 65, for overall service, the affected members are not only those who have already turned 60, but also those who are younger.

If certain members do not give their consent

If some members and beneficiaries do not give their consent, the amendment reducing benefits can apply retroactively only to those who have given their consent.

Conditions for authorization

It is not enough to simply obtain the required consent for the amendment to have retroactive effect. We must also give our authorization. This requirement is much more than a formality; without authorization, any steps taken will be considered null and void. An amendment cannot be applied until it has been authorized by us.

We will authorize the amendment if we have confirmation that the affected members and beneficiaries received adequate and sufficient information to give informed consent. For this to happen, the document sent to the members and beneficiaries for the purpose of obtaining their consent must:

  • explain the situation and include the reasons for which the amendment is being made
  • use language that is simple enough to be understood
  • indicate the date on which the amendment is expected to take effect
  • list both the benefits that will be granted after the amendment takes effect, and those currently in effect, in such a manner that the members and beneficiaries can understand what is being reduced
  • provide sufficient information for the members and beneficiaries to understand how the amendment will affect them individually.

If the amendment does not affect all the members and beneficiaries the same way, it is preferable to personalize the document so that each member and beneficiary can understand the nature of the amendment and its impact on him or her.

To assist you in drafting a document, here are a few examples of information to be provided for various amendments.

Documents required 

A copy of the document(s) sent to the affected members and beneficiaries to obtain their consent must be sent to us at the latest with the application for registration of the amendment. However, we strongly recommend that the document(s) be submitted along with a draft amendment before taking any steps with the affected members and beneficiaries in order to be sure that it meets our requirements, or determine whether additions or changes need to be made.

It is not necessary to send a copy of each person's written consent to us with the application for registration. However, we may require them at a later date. We may also ask for the members' and beneficiaries' contact information in order to carry out verifications.

See also

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