Amendments to the Pension Benefits Act (PBA) through Bill 8 and accompanying regulations will modernize the legislation and create a framework that protects individuals in times of financial hardship and provides greater access. wide and easier to immobilized funds.
“Manitobans work hard for their pensions and we want to make sure these funds are protected while giving them more flexibility to meet their needs,” said Finance Minister Scott Fielding. “The changes give Manitobans better access to their own money, even in times of serious financial hardship. “
The changes are based on recommendations from the Manitoba Pension Commission and feedback from online consultations, as well as developments in other provinces. Bill 8 – The Pension Amendments Act will allow people of any age who have funds in locked-in accounts in Manitoba with a financial institution to release funds in the event of certain financial hardship , such as low expected income, eviction for rent arrears, foreclosure of a mortgage, and medical / dental expenses not covered by other insurance / government programs. Individuals will be able to work with their financial institutions to access their locked-in funds in these circumstances.
Individuals aged 65 and over will have the option of fully releasing funds in Manitoba locked-in accounts, such as a locked-in retirement account (LIRA) or life income fund (LIF) with a financial institution for their give greater flexibility to financially manage their own retirement.
Additionally, in the event of a relationship breakdown, the parties will now be able to divide pension assets based on their common circumstances, rather than the 50-50 split or no split currently required.
Fielding noted that since the Manitoba government introduced this legislation, it has received hundreds of inquiries from Manitobans regarding the partial release of pension funds to meet medical and other needs. He noted that the changes better align Manitoba’s pension rules with those of the federal government and other provinces.
“As part of our commitment to Manitobans, we are cutting red tape by removing the requirement for government to approve one-time release requests for 50% of a person’s pension funds, available to seniors in at least 55 years old, and we have introduced modernization measures to reduce administrative inefficiencies for individuals, financial institutions and government, ”said Fielding.
The changes come into effect on October 1.