Pensions Overview

Private Sector Employment Pensions and the
Office of the Alberta Superintendent of Pensions

Click here for a general introduction on pensions in Alberta.

July 23, 2014 - Employment Pension Plans Act (2012) takes effect September 1 - Employment Pension Plans Act (EPPA) Updates

About the Employment Pension Plans Act (EPPA) and the Superintendent of Pensions

Private sector employment pension plans (those established and maintained by employers, or groups of employers or unions), are regulated in Alberta under the Employment Pension Plans Act, which is administered and enforced by the Office of the Alberta Superintendent of Pensions (the Superintendent’s Office), in the Employment Pensions Branch in Alberta Treasury Board and Finance.   The Act is designed to safeguard benefits promised to employees under private sector pension plans, by setting minimum standards for:

  • qualifying for benefits,
  • determining benefits,
  • funding pensions,
  • investing plan assets, and
  • disclosure to members.

As part of its enforcement and administration of the Act, the Superintendent’s Office attempts to ensure that employers or unions who sponsor plans understand and follow the Act.  The Superintendent’s Office registers new plans, and monitors all existing registered pension plans.  Staff can assist plan members by explaining how the EPPA affects them and their plan.

Our staff also investigate complaints, including those involving overdue refunds and payments. 

The Mission Statement of the Superintendent’s Office is:

To provide a fair and balanced regulatory environment that supports the development and maintenance of strong and stable pension plans, and protects individuals’ pension rights.

We work to achieve this mission by working and living the Alberta Public Service values and the Financial Sector Regulation and Policy operating principles.

The EPPA also sets rules for locked-in retirement products.  These are RRSPs and RRIFs with special rules, to which money from a pension plan must be transferred if the owner is withdrawing all of his or her funds from the pension plan.  The locked-in products covered by the Act are:

  • LIRAs (Locked-In Retirement Accounts)
  • LIFs (Life Income Funds)

Click to see the list of Financial Institutions offering locked in pension products.

Lastly, the EPPA sets rules for accessing or unlocking pension funds in a LIRA or a LIF for in different situations, including financial hardship.  You may also be interested in Seeking Compensation - A Guide for Consumers, produced by the Joint Forum of Financial Market Regulators.  This guide outlines where you can turn to for help if you believe that you have lost money because of an error, disagreement or the possible misconduct of your representative or financial company.

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Page last updated:  July 23, 2014