Alberta Employment Pensions Tribunal
The Alberta Employment Pensions Tribunal (the Tribunal) was established effective September 1, 2014 with the proclamation of the Employment Pension Plans Act (EPPA). The purpose of the Tribunal is to review certain decisions of the Superintendent of Pensions (the Superintendent) to determine if the decision is consistent with the requirements and intent of the EPPA.
The Tribunal is composed of four persons:
- Chief Appeals Commissioner
- Deputy-Chief Appeals Commissioner
- two Appeals Commissioners
The Chief and Deputy-Chief Appeals Commissioners are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council and the Appeals Commissioners are appointed by the President of Treasury Board, Minister of Finance.
The appointment of the Tribunal was announced in EPPA Update 18-05, issued by the Superintendent on July 3, 2018.
Not all issues may be appealed to the Tribunal. Only the items noted under sections 136 and 145 of the Act, and the administrative penalties imposed on the items listed below, may be appealed.
Appealable items under Section 136 of the EPPA
If the Superintendent has imposed an administrative penalty, because a person has:
- contravened a prescribed provision of the Act,
- contravened a prescribed provision of the regulations,
- contravened the Act by failing to file, within the period required by the regulations for that filing, a record that is required to be filed under the Act,
- contravened the Act by failing to provide to an authorized person, within the period required by the regulations for that provision, information or a record requested by the authorized person,
- contravened the Act by failing to disclose information to persons within the period required by the regulations for that disclosure, or
- contravened the Act by failing to make contributions to the pension fund within the period required by the regulations for the making of those contributions.
Appealable items under Section 145 of the EPPA
If the Superintendent:
- specifies, by order under section 117(4), a date as the effective date of the termination of a pension plan,
- issues a direction under section 133(1)(d) or (2), or
- orders the payment of expenses under section 138(2).
If the Superintendent:
- refuses to register a pension plan or an amendment of a plan text document filed for registration,
- severs, under section 22(3), a portion of a plan text document amendment filed for registration,
- revokes a registration of an amendment to a plan text document under section 23(1),
- withdraws a consent and directs termination of a plan under section 115,
- directs the termination of a pension plan under section 118, or
- makes an order splitting liabilities and assets under section 154(9).
Administrative penalties may be applied for the following sections of the legislation, as set out in the EPPA Regulation, section 147(1) and (2):
- Sections of the EPPA for which administrative penalties may be applied:
Sections 12-13, 17-19, 25-26, 34-46, 48, 51, 53, 55(3), 56, 64, 70, 74(3), 85, 103, 107, 120-122, 128(4), 130, 134(9) and 143(1)(b) of the Act are prescribed for the purposes of section 136(1)(a) of the Act.
- Sections of the EPPA Regulation for which administrative penalties may be applied:
Sections 21, 26(1), 60(2) and (13), 61(2) and (11), 65(4), 67, 72(4) and (5), 78, 93-94, 98-100, 102(5), 103(3), 108, 110-111, 113-114, 116-117, 126, 127(4), 128-129, 131-132, 135-136, 146(6) and (7) and 151-152 are prescribed for the purposes of section 136(1)(b) of the Act.
Administrative penalty amounts
The amount of penalty is at the discretion of the Superintendent. Section 147(3) of the EPPA Regulation sets the maximum amounts that may be charged:
- 147(3) An administrative penalty for a contravention must not exceed:
a. $250,000, in the case of a corporation or administrator, and
b. $50,000, in the case of an individual other than an administrator.
The party upon whom a penalty is levied or to whom the direction or notice is addressed is the party that may make the appeal. In most cases, this is the plan administrator.
Plan administrator under the EPPA Regulation (section 28)
- if the plan is a single employer plan other than a jointly sponsored plan, the administrator must be
(i) the participating employer, or
(ii) a board of trustees or other similar body acceptable to the Superintendent established under the supporting plan documents to administer the plan;
- if the plan is a non collectively bargained multi employer plan other than a jointly sponsored plan, the administrator must be
(i) the participating employer, if any, who is identified in the participation agreement as the administrator of the plan, or
(ii) if the participation agreement does not identify a participating employer as the administrator of the plan, a board of trustees or other similar body acceptable to the Superintendent established under the supporting plan documents to administer the plan;
- if the plan is a collectively bargained multi employer plan, the administrator must be one of the following bodies of which the number of members who are appointed by members of the plan is not less than the number of members who are appointed by participating employers:
(i) a board of trustees established under the supporting plan documents to administer the plan;
(ii) a similar board or body to a board of trustees, acceptable to the Superintendent, that has been established under the supporting plan documents to administer the plan;
- if the plan is a jointly sponsored plan, the administrator must be a person referred to in section 5(a).
Plan administrator under the EPPA Regulation - section 5(a), in respect of a jointly sponsored plan
- the administrator of the plan is a board of trustees, or other similar body acceptable to the Superintendent, that has been established under the supporting plan documents to administer the plan.
Please note: plan members in dispute with their plan administrator are not eligible to appeal to the Tribunal. Issues may be raised with the Superintendent or taken to court.
The process as outlined below must be followed. An appeal must first be made to the Superintendent, and it is only after the Superintendent refuses to change a decision or notice that an appeal may be made to the Tribunal.
Timelines should also be carefully noted. If a request for appeal is made after the 30 day timeline noted for appeal to the Superintendent and for appeal to the Tribunal, the appeal may be refused.
Superintendent issues Decision / Notice
Within 30 days of service of the Superintendent’s decision:
Party requests reconsideration from the Superintendent
Superintendent issues final decision:
- If Decision / Notice is rescinded: Process is closed
- If Decision / Notice is varied: Party complies or appeals to the Tribunal
- If Decision / Notice stands: Party complies or appeals to the Tribunal
Within 30 days of service of the Superintendent’s final decision:
Party appeals to the Tribunal by submitting the Application to Appeal (see instructions)
Tribunal determines validity of appeal:
- If the application is refused: Appellant complies with original Decision / Notice or goes to court
- If the application is accepted: Superintendent is notified and review proceeds
Superintendent files documents with the Tribunal
Tribunal reviews appeal
Tribunal issues final decision:
- If the decision is upheld: Appellant complies with Decision / Notice
- If the decision is varied: Superintendent issues new Decision / Notice and Appellant complies
- If the decision is denied: Superintendent rescinds Decision / Notice
When preparing to file an appeal please ensure that:
- the issue falls within the items listed under “Items which may be Appealed", and
- the person making the appeal is one noted under “Who May Appeal”.
If either of these criteria is not met, the application will be refused.
What must be filed
An application for Appeal must include:
- the completed Application to Appeal
- a copy of the Superintendent’s final notice regarding the issue
- any supporting documents to explain the reason or give evidence for the appeal
- the application fee of $500, which is non-refundable
All of these items must be submitted before the Tribunal will consider the appeal.
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Submit the Application to:
Alberta Employment Pensions Tribunal
c/o Strategic and Business Services
Treasury Board and Finance
416 Terrace Building, 9515 - 107 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2C3
- The Tribunal decision is final. There can be no subsequent appeal to the court, unless there is an issue of law or jurisdiction. Such an appeal must be made within 30 days of the decision of the Tribunal being issued.
- If there is no appeal to the court, the Superintendent proceeds with administration, as per the final decision of the Tribunal.
- Within 30 days of the Tribunal's final decision being issued, the appellant or the Superintendent may request clarification of the ruling.