Pension, Benefits & Executive Compensation

Our Pension, Benefits & Executive Compensation Practice Group has exceptional depth, with 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.



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
  • transactions and 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
  • service-provider negotiations
  • annuity purchases
  • surplus entitlement and distribution
  • funding issues
  • employee life and health trusts
  • taxable benefits

We 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 significant corporate restructurings under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) in Canada. We 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 or the establishment of new plans.

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.


We act for employers and provide advice on all matters relating to pension, benefits and executive compensation litigation. Learn more.

The Hicks Morley Advantage

Our Pension, Benefits & Executive Compensation Practice Group provides unmatched practical advice in pension- and benefits-related matters. The group’s core 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, award-winning 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.


Hicks Morley’s Pension, Benefits & Executive Compensation practice is ranked by Chambers Canada in Pensions & Benefits (Nationwide), with clients noting, “They have an excellent depth of knowledge of related laws, with outstanding teams of experienced subject matter experts,” and, “All the lawyers we work with have been extremely knowledgeable. During the peak points of the transaction, they were 100% committed to seeing its completion.” The firm is also consistently recognized as the only Grade AAA firm in Lexpert’s “Labour Relations, Employment & Pensions Lawyers Who’s Who: Toronto.” The group’s lead partner is recognized in The Best Lawyers in Canada for Employee Benefits Law and the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory in the area of Pensions & Employee Benefits.