**** FINANCE/TREASURY Board Release
Amendments Streamline Process for Unlocking Retirement Funds
Nova Scotians want to have financial peace of mind when facing challenging circumstances.
That is why government introduced amendments to the Pension Benefits Act today, April 6, that will make it quicker for Nova Scotians who need it to access locked-in retirement accounts or life income funds.
“The changes I am introducing today and the regulations that will follow will mean Nova Scotians experiencing financial hardship can work directly with their financial institutions to access these funds,” said Finance and Treasury Board Minister Labi Kousoulis. “This will save significant application processing time for Nova Scotians in need, as they will no longer need prior approval from the superintendent of pensions.”
Currently, an applicant who wishes to unlock funds held in a locked-in retirement account or a life income fund for reasons of financial hardship must apply to the superintendent of pensions, wait to receive an approval letter and then bring that approval letter to their financial institution.
The amendments and regulations will enable financial institutions to directly approve applications and less paperwork will be required to process requests. The $116.65 government fee to process applications is also being eliminated.
The changes will go into effect upon proclamation to allow time to complete the regulations and for financial institutions to prepare.
— when a pension plan member leaves their employer, they can arrange to have their pension fund entitlement transferred into a locked-in retirement account or a life income fund
— the amendments are consistent with government’s commitment to reduce red tape and the approaches taken in other provinces
Securities Act Changes Will Strengthen Regulation and Protect Whistleblowers
Nova Scotia’s investors are gaining protection and benefits consistent with best practices across the country.
Amendments introduced today, April 6, will ensure consistency with other provinces and improve enforcement of securities laws.
“Industry and consumers benefit from effective and harmonized securities rules,” said Finance and Treasury Board Minister Labi Kousoulis. “These changes will help increase confidence on the part of investors and businesses who raise capital.”
The Nova Scotia Securities Commission will have greater compliance and enforcement abilities with new provisions under the Nova Scotia Securities Act. New statutory offences will be created for obstructing or interfering with hearings, investigations or inspections, and for aiding, abetting or counselling a person or company to breach provincial securities laws.
Whistleblowers will have greater protection to report information on serious securities or derivatives-related misconduct.
“The amendments will enhance the protection of Nova Scotians by providing additional tools to strengthen the commission’s ability to enforce compliance with securities laws and cooperation with our staff, as well as include a useful tool against individuals who are involved in financial misconduct such as market manipulation or insider trading. We also support the addition of protections for whistleblowers who report misconduct.”
– Paul Radford, chair, Nova Scotia Securities Commission
— Nova Scotia is committed to harmonizing securities regulation and improved enforcement of securities laws in Canada
— the proposed amendments have either already been implemented in other Canadian jurisdictions or are part of a harmonized initiative with other Canadian securities regulators