Pension, Benefits & Executive Compensation

Our Pension, Benefits & Executive Compensation practice group has exceptional depth, with all lawyers devoting their practice to this area of law.

We provide innovative advice to employers and governments on legislative and regulatory solutions to address funding and long-term sustainability of single employer defined benefit pension plans, target benefit plans and jointly sponsored pension plans. We represent employers and administrators in courts, at arbitrations, at the Financial Services Tribunal and before other administrative bodies. We also represent large pension plan administrators in pension-related human rights discrimination claims before the Ontario and Canadian Human Rights Tribunals.

At every stage, our comprehensive legal analysis is undertaken in the context of our clients’ broader business goals, so that solutions to complex legal issues are coupled with practical business advice.



We advise and represent private and public employers on all legal issues relating to their registered pension plans, supplementary pension arrangements, savings plans, and employee health and welfare benefit plans, including:

  • compliance (including compliance with cross-Canada statutory pension reform for multi-jurisdictional plans)
  • plan design
  • pension governance
  • investments
  • funding issues
  • fiduciary duties (including fiduciary training for Boards of Directors and pension committees)
  • plan wind-ups
  • surplus entitlement and distribution
  • plan expenses
  • group benefits transactions

We also advise employers on pension and benefit matters in collective agreement negotiations. In addition, we frequently provide cross-border advice to multi-national private sector employers, working closely with U.S. counsel and local counsel in other jurisdictions.

Restructuring and Transactions

We have been lead pension counsel on some of the most significant corporate restructurings under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) in Canada, including Fraser Papers and U.S. Steel Canada. We also provide pension, benefits and executive compensation advice to both sellers and purchasers in corporate transactions.

Executive Compensation

We frequently advise Boards of Directors and senior management on all aspects of executive compensation and equity compensation plans for CEOs and other executives. These include stock option plans, share appreciation rights, restricted share units, performance share units, deferred share units, and other short- and long-term incentive plans and retention arrangements.

The Hicks Morley Advantage

Our Pension, Benefits & Executive Compensation practice group provides an unmatched depth of advice in pension- and benefits-related matters. We are fully integrated with Canada’s largest stand-alone labour and employment practice and have access to the unparalleled litigation, employment, human rights, labour relations and negotiation resources within our firm.

With a majority of our group having consulting firm experience, we are adept at partnering with actuarial service providers. We provide a full range of legal services, including drafting of plan documentation, opinions and negotiated or litigated solutions.

With this depth and breadth of experience, we are creative in our problem-solving and proactive in our approach.


Hicks Morley’s Pension, Benefits & Executive Compensation practice is listed as “consistently recommended” for pension and benefits in the 2017 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory. Hicks Morley is also ranked as the leading law firm in the Labour Relations, Employment and Pensions category according to  The 2018  Lexpert®/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada, hitting the bull’s-eye.