Ontario to end "30% Rule" for pension fund investments

December 1, 2015

Ontario has announced plans to eliminate the 30% rule which restricts pension funds from investing plan assets in more than 30% of the shares that may be cast to elect the directors of a corporation.  Buried in the province’s economic update released November 26, 2015 is a statement indicating that Ontario “intends to eliminate the ‘30 per cent rule’”. Currently, real estate, resource and investment corporations that satisfy certain conditions are excepted from the 30% rule.  The statement notes that “the government intends to post a description of the proposed regulation for consultation in early 2016.”

Any change to the Ontario Pension Benefits Act will affect pension plans registered in Ontario.  It remains to be seen whether other jurisdictions, including the federal jurisdiction, will follow suit.  The federal pension fund investment rules are incorporated into the legislation of most jurisdictions in Canada. The most notable exception is Quebec which has its own rules, including a version of the 30% rule.

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