Alert: Final FSCO Guidance on Environmental, Social and Governance Factors Released

On October 21, 2015, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) released its investment guidance note on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors (Guidance Note) in final form. A draft version of the Guidance Note was previously released for public consultation on June 29, 2015. 

The stated purpose of the Guidance Note is to provide information and guidelines to administrators of Ontario registered pension plans with respect to ESG factors in order to assist administrators in meeting the requirements of section 78(3) of Regulation 909 (Regulation) under the Pension Benefits Act (Ontario) relating to statements of investment policies and procedures (SIPPs). Effective January 1, 2016, these requirements include disclosure in the SIPP as to whether ESG factors are incorporated into the plan’s investment policies and procedures and, if so, how such factors are incorporated.

In order to comply with the new SIPP requirements relating to ESG factors, administrators must make a decision as to whether or not to incorporate ESG factors into their investment policies and procedures and document this position in the plan’s SIPP by January 1, 2016.

In addition, administrators will need to file their SIPPs and any amendments to their SIPPs with FSCO in accordance with the following deadlines:

  • Pension plans registered before January 1, 2016: the SIPP must be filed by March 1, 2016
  • New pension plans registered on and after January 1, 2016: the SIPP must be filed within 60 days after plan registration
  • Amendments to a SIPP must be filed within 60 days after the date of the amendment

We will be discussing the ESG requirements for SIPPs and other current issues in pensions and employee benefits law at our seminar on November 19, 2015.  If you would like more information about this seminar, please contact Linda Lee Moy by email or at 416-863-3899.

For further information, please contact a member of our Pensions, Benefits & Executive Compensation group.

Blakes and Blakes Business Class communications are intended for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice or an opinion on any issue.

We would be pleased to provide additional details or advice about specific situations if desired.

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