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.

Hicks Morley’s Pension, Benefits & Executive Compensation practice group provides a full range of legal services covering the legal, regulatory, taxation and human resource aspects of pension plans, group benefits and incentive compensation. 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.

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.

Services

Advice

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

  • compliance (including compliance with cross-Canada pension legislation reform for multi-jurisdictional plans and the Income Tax Act)
  • plan design
  • asset transfers
  • plan wind-ups
  • investments
  • plan expenses
  • group benefits transactions
  • top-up plans
  • fiduciary duties (including fiduciary training for Boards of Directors and pension committees)
  • pension and other retirement plan governance
  • annuity purchases
  • surplus entitlement and distribution
  • funding issues
  • employee life and health trusts
  • taxable benefits

We also frequently advise employers on pension and benefit matters in collective agreement negotiations. In addition, we regularly 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 acted as pension counsel on some of the most significant corporate restructurings under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) in Canada. We also provide pension, benefits and executive compensation advice to both sellers and purchasers during the strategy and negotiation phases of corporate transactions, and with respect to the implementation of changes after closing, such as  harmonization of benefits.

Executive Compensation

We 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. All of the Group’s lawyers devote their practice to this area of the law.  We provide a full range of legal services, including drafting of plan documentation, opinions and negotiated or litigated solutions.  We are fully integrated with Canada’s largest stand-alone labour and employment practice with access to the unparalleled litigation, employment, human rights, labour relations and negotiation resources within our firm. We have extensive experience working collaboratively with other professionals and we are adept at partnering with actuarial service providers.

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

Notables

Hicks Morley’s Pension, Benefits & Executive Compensation practice is ranked in Chambers Canada 2019 Pensions & Benefits, and is Recommended for Pensions in the 2019 Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory, consistently hits the “Who’s Who” bull’s eye for Pensions – Toronto. Our Pension, Benefits & Executive Compensation practice is recognized for Employee Benefits Law by Best Lawyers® in Canada, 2018, and is ranked as the leading law firm in the Labour Relations and Pensions category according to the 2018 Lexpert® CCCA/ACCJE Corporate Counsel Directory and Yearbook.