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Pensions, Benefits & Executive Compensation

Pensions, Benefits & Executive Compensation
Pensions, Benefits & Executive Compensation

Commands widespread respect for its pensions and benefits practice, with leading practitioners [and] maintains a leading national reputation....

Clients say: “They have a very strong team in the field of pension law. Overall, they are a diligent and creative team who always deliver.”…“They are excellent lawyers who are good to work with and have a high level of technical expertise.”

Chambers Canada: Canada's Leading Lawyers for Business 2021

Combine the largest generation of workers ever to approach retirement with a worldwide epidemic of austerity measures across both public and private sectors. The result is unprecedented pressure on pension, employee compensation and benefit plans, as well as those who sponsor and administer them. Ready to meet these challenges are the lawyers of the Blakes Pensions, Benefits & Executive Compensation group, renowned internationally as among the very best in the business.

Pension plan administrators across Canada are grappling with new laws and regulations governing tax and minimum standards. Our Canadian pension lawyers frequently review, interpret, draft and negotiate language for pension and benefit plans, executive compensation arrangements, retirement compensation arrangements, employee share ownership plans, deferred income arrangements, profit-sharing plans and many other types of agreements to ensure compliance with current and emerging governance standards.

Our clients also ask us to help develop pension plan governance protocols that meet legislative and regulatory requirements within their corporate structures. They engage us to design compensation arrangements in ways that balance their business objectives with tax, trust and securities law compliance. They also consult us for legal opinions on an extraordinary range of issues, including pension investments, surplus entitlement, “contribution holidays,” plan mergers, governance issues and fiduciary responsibilities.

We are proud to count among our clients many of the largest Canadian pension and benefit plans and funds, both public and private. In addition, we have been pleased to advise investment managers, trust companies, banks and insurance companies regarding investment products and services for pension, health and welfare funds. Even foreign businesses and their lawyers rely on us for our unsurpassed Canadian expertise.

Our group’s partners have served as both past and present chairs and members of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario and the Financial Services Tribunal. We constantly strive to further improve our enviable reputation in the pension law and benefits industry in Canada.

Recent Experience
  • Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan on its €196-million sale of a 150-million-square-metre German logistics portfolio to Apeiron Capital Limited.

  • Government of Alberta on the establishment of a joint governance model for Alberta’s three major public sector pension plans.

  • Kinder Morgan on the C$4.5-billion sale of the Trans Mountain Pipeline to the Government of Canada.

  • The Toronto-Dominion Bank on its acquisition of artificial intelligence firm Layer 6 Inc.

  • Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan on its equity partnership with IFM Investors and British Columbia Investment Management in GCT Global Container Terminals.

  • WestJet Airlines Ltd. on its acquisition by Onex Corporation for approximately C$5-billion.

  • Digital Colony Partners and EQT Infrastructure IV Fund in connection with their consortium’s US$14.3-billion agreement to acquire, recapitalize and take private Zayo Group Holdings, Inc.

  • Morneau Sheppell Ltd., in its capacity as plan administrator of the Sears Canada Pension Plan.

  • DP World on its joint venture with Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec to create an investment platform focused on investing in ports and terminals globally.

  • Washington Companies in connection with its C$1.5-billion acquisition of Dominion Diamond Corporation.

  • CCCC International Holding Limited in connection with its proposed C$1.51-billion acquisition of Aecon Group Inc.

  • CI Financial Corp. on its acquisition of Sentry Investments Inc. for C$780-million in cash and common shares of CI Financial Corp.

  • Suncor Energy Inc. on the sale of its Petro-Canada lubricants division to HollyFrontier Corporation for C$1.13-billion.

  • SCOR Global Life in relation to the C$5-billion Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada/Bell Canada pension de-risking insurance contract.

  • Agrium Inc. on its US$36-billion merger of equals with Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc.

  • Kinder Morgan Canada Limited on its C$1.75-billion initial public offering of restricted voting shares.



  • Schmidt v. Air Products – Supreme Court of Canada

  • Nolan v. Kerry Canada Inc. – Supreme Court of Canada

  • Sutherland v. Hudson’s Bay Company – Ontario Court of Appeal

Awards & Recognition

​Members of the Pensions, Benefits & Executive Compensation team are recognized as leaders in the following publications:

  • Chambers Canada: Canada’s Leading Lawyers for Business – Ranked in Band 1

  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory – Blakes is "most frequently recommended" in Pensions & Employee Benefits

  • The Best Lawyers in Canada

  • The Legal 500 Canada – Pensions

­The Ontario Bar Association awarded Partner Kathryn Bush the 2020 Award for Excellence in Pensions & Benefits Law for her commitment to the development of pensions law, leadership in the profession and contributions to enhance the well-being of the community.

Blakes lawyers serve as leaders in their field as part of the following groups:

  • Financial Services Commission of Ontario and Financial Services Tribunal – A Blakes pension partner is a member of the legal advisory committee. One pension partner is a past chair of both the commission and tribunal, while another partner previously served as vice-chair of both the commission and tribunal.

  • Ontario Expert Commission on Pensions – A Blakes pension partner served as one of four advisors to this government commission, which recently made recommendations on the Pension Benefits Act (Ontario).

  • Association of Canadian Pension Management (ACPM) – A Blakes pension partner has been appointed to ACPM’s National Policy Committee.

  • C.D. Howe Institute – A Blakes pension partner has been appointed to the C.D. Howe Pension Policy Council.