BCLI recommends pension division reforms


23 March 2021

By Kevin Zakreski

BCLI has just published the Report on Pension Division: A Review of Part 6 of the Family Law Act, which calls for reforms to how pensions are divided between separating spouses. The report is the culmination of more than two years’ work by BCLI’s Pension Division Review Project Committee, which since 2019 has been examining pressing and emerging legal issues in pension division.

The report contains 25 recommendations for reform, addressing the following topics: death of a spouse; waiving survivor benefits after pension commencement; commuted value: transfer and calculation; disability benefits; locked-in retirement accounts and life income funds; private annuities; forms; administrative fees; and transitions. The report also contains draft legislation and regulations, which illustrate how these recommendations could be implemented by changes to part 6 of the Family Law Act and the Division of Pensions Regulation.

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“For many separating spouses, a pension is the most valuable family asset. Pensions are also a difficult asset to divide without the assistance of detailed legislation. It has been eight years since part 6 of the Family Law Act came into force. While the legislation has performed well in that time, we have determined, based on our research and consultations, that there are specific areas that need improvement.”—Colin Galinski, Chair, Pension Division Review Project Committee

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