Financial Services Tribunal & Pension Commission of Ontario Case Summaries/
Summaires des dcisions du Tribunal des services financiers et de la Commission des rgimes de retraite de l'Ontario

Case Name/nom du dossier:Imperial Oil Limited v. Ontario (Superintendent of Pensions) - XDEC-34

Type/type:Pensions/Rgime de retraite

Decision Date/Date de la dcision:96-05-27

Tribunal/tribunal:PCO/CRRO




Franais

Imperial Oil Limited v. Ontario (Superintendent of Pensions) (XDEC-34)

Index No.: XDEC-34

Date of decision: May 27, 1996

Panel members: Eileen E. Gillese, Chair, Monica Townson, Joyce Stephenson

Parties to hearing: Imperial Oil Limited
Superintendent of Pensions
the Entitlement 55 Group
Mr. Harvey R. Newton

SUBJECT: PARTIAL WIND UP
EXPERT TESTIMONY
MEANING OF REORGANIZATION OF BUSINESS
WIND UP PERIOD
EXERCISE OF DISCRETION

Summary:

This was a hearing requested by Imperial Oil, in relation to a Notice of Proposal issued by the Superintendent of Pensions relating to the partial wind ups in respect of the Imperial Oil Limited Retirement Plan (1988), Registration Number 0347054 and the Imperial Oil Limited Retirement Plan for Former Employees of McColl-Frontenac Inc., Registration Number 0344002.

The Commission held that Imperial Oil, while not permitted to offer expert testimony on the meaning of reorganization, was still free to make argument about the meaning of "reorganization of the business", to attempt to establish that the terminations did not result from the reorganization of the business and to argue that no reorganization took place. The Commission also advised counsel for Imperial Oil that although it would not accept the expert evidence, it would accept evidence on factual matters such as the cyclical nature of the resource business.

The structural changes, divestment activity, consolidation of functions and elimination of non core business activities all amounted to a change in the structure in which the business of Imperial Oil operated. The Commission recognized that other words - such as restructuring - could be used to describe what took place but the reality is that the way in Imperial Oil was organized to do business was materially changed and that amounts to a reorganization of its business.

Had it been proven that benefits equivalent to grow in benefits had been given, the Commission would have been inclined to exercise its discretion and not order the partial plan wind up as the Plan members would have suffered no prejudice. Having determined that it will direct the Superintendent to carry out his proposal to order the partial wind up of the Plans, it was unnecessary to determine whether the Commission ought to give deference to the decision of the Superintendent to order the partial wind up.

The Commission did not accept that the commencement date should be moved back. It was the announcement followed by the events described above that constitutes the reorganization of the business and it is the terminations that occurred due to those events that are encompassed by the terms of the PBA. In coming to its decision on this matter, the Commission noted that there is a need in all parts of the pension community for certainty about commencement and end dates and how they are selected.

Regarding the inclusion of Mr. Newton in the wind up group, to be included he must have ceased to be employed during the wind up period. The end date for the partial wind up order was June 30, 1995, and he ceased to be employed outside the wind up period. Therefore the Commission found he was not within the partial wind up group.

Therefore, the Commission dismissed the application of Imperial Oil and directed the Superintendent to carry out his proposal to order Imperial Oil to partially wind up the Plans as proposed in the Amended Notice of Proposal. The commencement and end dates of the partial wind ups are to be in accordance with the Amended Notice of Proposal.


Appeal:

Divisional Court by Imperial Oil, [1997] O.J. No. 1961 - appeal dismissed
Court of Appeal by Imperial Oil, [1997] O.J. No. 2840 - appeal dismissed

Cases referred to:

Stelco Inc. v. Superintendent of Pensions (1993) 4:1 PCO Bulletin p.40 at p.45; aff'd (1994) 115 D.L.R. (4th) 437 (Ont. Div. Ct.); aff'd by Ontario Court of Appeal, September 11, 1995, Court file #C20030;leave to appeal refused, Supreme Court of Canada, March 21, 1996, Court file #24984
Hawker Siddeley Canada Inc. v. Nova Scotia (Superintendent of Pension) (1993), 108 D.L.R. (4th) 95 (N.S S.C.); aff'd (1994) 113 d.L.R. (4th) 424 (N.S. C.A.)

This summary is offered as a public service and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Many factors unknown to us may affect the applicability of any statement or comment made in the summary to your particular circumstances.

La Compagnie PtroliPre Impriale Lte c. l’Ontario (Surintendant des rgimes de retraite) (XDEC-34)

Numro d’index : XDEC-34

Date de la dcision : Le 27 mai 1996

Groupe d’experts : Eileen E. Gillese, prsidente, Monica Townson, Joyce Stephenson

Parties B l’audience : Compagnie PtroliPre Impriale Lte
Surintendant des rgimes de retraite
Groupe Entitlement 55
M. Harvey R. Newton

OBJET : LIQUIDATION PARTIELLE
TMOIGNAGE D’EXPERT
SIGNIFICATION DE RORGANISATION DES ACTIVITS
PRIODE DE LIQUIDATION
EXERCICE DU POUVOIR DISCRTIONNAIRE

Sommaire :

Cette audience a t rclame par la Compagnie PtroliPre Impriale Lte au regard d’un avis d’intention mis par le Surintendant des rgimes de retraite concernant les liquidations partielles du Rgime de retraite de la Compagnie PtroliPre Impriale Lte (1988), numro d’enregistrement 0347054, et du Rgime de retraite des anciens employs de McColl-Frontenac Inc., numro d’enregistrement 0344002.

La Commission a tabli que la Compagnie PtroliPre Impriale Lte, bien que non autorise B prsenter un tmoignage d’expert concernant la signification du terme rorganisation, pouvait quand mLme prsenter un argument B propos du sens de rorganisation des activits dans le but d’tablir que les licenciements ne dcoulaient pas de la rorganisation des activits et qu’aucune rorganisation n’tait survenue. La Commission a galement averti l’avocat de l’Impriale que, mLme si elle n’acceptait pas le tmoignage d’expert, elle accepterait des tmoignages sur des questions de fait telles que la nature cyclique des activits du secteur des ressources.

Les changements structurels, les activits de dessaisissement, le regroupement des fonctions et l’limination des activits commerciales non essentielles quivalaient B une modification de la structure des activits de l’Impriale. La Commission a reconnu que d’autres termes - tels que restructuration - pouvaient dcrire ce qui s’est pass mais qu’en ralit la faon dont l’Impriale tait organise pour exercer ses activits avait t substantiellement modifie et que cela quivalait B une rorganisation de ses activits.

S’il avait t dmontr que des prestations quivalentes aux prestations B atteindre avaient t donnes, la Commission aurait t porte B exercer son pouvoir discrtionnaire et B ne pas ordonner la liquidation partielle des rgimes car les participants n’auraient pas subi un prjudice. Ayant dtermin qu’elle ordonnera au Surintendant d’excuter l’avis d’intention d’ordonner la liquidation partielle des rgimes, la Commission n’a pas jug ncessaire de dterminer si elle devait retenir la dcision du Surintendant d’ordonner la liquidation partielle.

La Commission n’a pas permis que la date de dbut du service soit recule. C’est l’annonce suivie par les vnements dcrits ci-devant qui constitue la rorganisation des activits et ce sont les licenciements survenus B cause de ces vnements qui sont viss par les modalits de la Loi sur les rgimes de retraite.

En rendant sa dcision dans cette affaire, la Commission a soulign la ncessit, pour tous les intervenants du milieu des rgimes de retraite, d’une certitude quant aux dates d’entre en vigueur et de fin des ordres de liquidation et la maniPre dont elles sont fixes.

Passons B l’inclusion de M. Newton dans le groupe vis par la liquidation. Pour Ltre inclus, il devait avoir cess d’occuper son emploi durant la priode de liquidation. Or, la date de fin pour l’ordonnance de liquidation partielle tait le 30 juin 1995 et il a cess d’occuper son emploi B l’extrieur de la priode de liquidation. Par consquent, la Commission a conclu qu’il n’appartenait pas au groupe vis par la liquidation partielle.

En consquence, la Commission a rejet la demande de la Compagnie PtroliPre Impriale Lte et a enjoint au Surintendant d’excuter son avis d’intention d’ordonner B la Compagnie PtroliPre Impriale Lte de liquider partiellement les rgimes tel que propos dans l’avis d’intention modifi. Les dates de dbut et de fin des liquidations partielles doivent se conformer B l’avis d’intention modifi.


Appel :

En Cour divisionnaire par l’Impriale, [1997] O.J. No. 1961 - appel rejet
En Court d’appel par l’Impriale, [1997] O.J. No. 2840 - appel rejet

Jurisprudence :

Stelco Inc. v. Superintendent of Pensions (1993) 4:1 Bulletin de la CRRO p. 40, par. 45; jugement confirm (1994) 115 D.L.R. (4th) 437 (Cour div. de l’Ont.); jugement confirm par la Cour d’appel de l’Ontario, le 11 septembre 1995, dossier du Tribunal no C20030; autorisation d’interjeter appel refuse, Cour suprLme du Canada, 21 mars 1996, dossier du Tribunal no 24984
Hawker Siddeley Canada Inc. v. Nova Scotia (Superintendent of Pension) (1993), 108 D.L.R. (4th) 95 (N.S S.C.); jugement confirm (1994) 113 D.L.R. (4th) 424 (N.S. C.A.)

Ce sommaire est offert B titre de service public et ne saurait constituer des avis juridiques. Nombreux sont les facteurs que nous ignorons et qui peuvent avoir une incidence sur l’application de nos commentaires B votre cas particulier.