Pensions & Benefits

Key Contacts

Gilmore John High Resolution Image John R. Gilmore
Partner, Co-Head of Employment Services
T: 403.298.3297
Seller Susan High Resolution Image Susan G. Seller
Partner, Co-Head Employment Services
T: 416.777.5638

With an aging workforce comes an increased concern on the part of employees for retirement income security. At the same time companies are placing a heightened corporate focus on the proper management and costs of their pension and benefit plans.

The pension and benefits lawyers at Bennett Jones are members of the firm's employment services group and provide strategic advice to employers and other benefit plan administrators, managers and trustees. We advise on all aspects of the design, establishment, administration and investment of registered and non-registered pension plans, deferred profit sharing plans, registered retirement savings plans and other types of deferred compensation plans. We are also experienced in the full range of group benefit plans and equity-based compensation plans. In addition, our lawyers conduct due diligence and advise on pension and benefits issues in the context of corporate mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, as well as restructurings and insolvencies.

Companies and their boards benefit from our experience in pension plan governance matters, from advice on fiduciary duties to the implementation of appropriate governance structures. We also provide ongoing advice to the pension committees established by such boards.

Our advice to employers involves issues of plan administration and interpretation and regulatory and investment compliance. We regularly draft and conduct reviews of plan documents and benefit plan communications, as well as negotiate funding, investment management and other service agreements. Our work for plan sponsors includes advising on the use of surplus funds or assets, the payment of expenses, the ability to amend or merge plans, and plan terminations and wind-ups. We also assist employers in ensuring that benefit plans comply with the requirements of taxation, human rights, privacy and employment standards legislation. In the labour relations arena, we advise employers on dealing with benefit plans in the unionized context.

Together with other members of Bennett Jones' employment services group, our pension and benefits lawyers deal with a wide range of issues in relation to dealing with benefit plans and entitlements in employment agreements, executive contracts, employment terminations, corporate downsizings, and employee outsourcings. In conjunction with lawyers in other practice areas of the firm, our team advises on structuring investments for registered pension plans and in pension-related litigation.

Select Experience

  • CG Power Systems Canada Inc., a wholly-owned indirect subsidiary of Mumbai-based Crompton Greaves Limited, in connection with the sale of its assets to PTI Manitoba Inc. for an enterprise value of C$20 million.
  • Extendicare Inc., a leading provider of care and services for seniors throughout Canada, in connection with the $83 million acquisition of the home health business of Revera Inc.
  • Newalta Corporation in connection with the sale of its Industrial Division to Revolution Acquisition LP, a company formed by Birch Hill Equity Partners, for cash proceeds of $300 million. Read more

Recent Recognitions

  • 2011, Chambers Global The Worlds Leading Lawyers for Business

    Bennett Jones, ranked, Employment, Labour & Pensions

     "This is a top-notch firm and the quality of work is excellent."

  • 2010, Chambers Global The Worlds Leading Lawyers for Business

    Bennett Jones, ranked, Employment, Labour & Pensions

    With a 16-strong team working across four locations, this firm provides a wide range of employment advice to both public and private sector clients. The practice's leading partners are based in Calgary. The team has a track record handling sensitive claims such as sexual harassment claims and CEO employment agreements.
  • 2009, Chambers Global The Worlds Leading Lawyers for Business

    Bennett Jones, ranked, Employment, Labour & Pensions

    “Responsive and particularly diligent,” this 15-strong national team is skilled at the full range of labour and employment work. Occupational health and safety, immigration, pensions and benefits are all areas of expertise, and it often deals with employment matters arising out of corporate transactions.

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