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There is nothing in the Ontario PBA or the Family Law Act that the precludes a continuation of shared pension payments to the deceased non-member’s estate for the balance of the member spouse’s life

Ontario

,

Canada

In Meloche v. Meloche, 2021 ONCA 640, the Ontario Court of Appeal considered the division of pension payments for family law purposes. The parties were married for just over 33 years. During their marriage, the wife paid into the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. Upon her retirement, the wife elected a joint pension with a 60 percent survivor benefit.  The husband was seriously ill, and his death appeared to be imminent. The parties agreed to divide the pension at source, with the husband receiving 48.99% of the monthly payments. However, the parties disagreed as to what would happen to the money after the husband’s death. The husband sought continued payments into his estate.

The Motion Judge’s Ruling

The motion judge held that the husband’s request for his share of the pension payments to continue to his estate after his death for the remainder of the wife’s lifetime was contrary to the Pension Benefits Act (para 44).

Family Law Matters under the Pension Benefits Act

The ONCA held that it is only ss. 67.1 to 67.9 of the Pension Benefits Act that specifically address pension issues as they pertain to “Family Law Matters” (para 67). It was an error to rely on sections outside the section of the PBA dealing with “Family Law Matters” (para 81).

The ONCA noted that, where the division of pension payments under s. 67.4 is engaged, settlement agreements, court orders, and arbitration awards should always specify whether, in the event of the recipient spouse’s death, the intent is for those pension payments to continue to the recipient spouse’s estate or to revert to the member spouse (para 80).

April 14, 2022
Meloche v. Meloche, 2021 ONCA 640