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:Stelco Inc. v. Ontario (Superintendent of Pensions) - XDEC-12, XDEC-16, XDEC-17, XDEC-18

Type/type:Pensions/Rgime de retraite

Decision Date/Date de la dcision:93-07-07

Tribunal/tribunal:PCO/CRRO




Franais

Stelco Inc. v. Ontario (Superintendent of Pensions)

Index No.: XDEC-12
XDEC-16
XDEC-17
XDEC-18

Date of decision: July 27, 1992
December 4, 1992
March 18, 1993
July 7, 1993

Panel members: M. Joseph Regan, Chair, M. David R. Brown, Donald G. Collins

Parties to hearing: Stelco Inc.
The Gold Group
The Craigen Group
Certain other named individuals
Superintendent of Pensions

SUBJECT: PARTIAL WIND UP
STANDING AT HEARING
NOTICE OF HEARING
MEANING OF REORGANIZATION
MEANING OF SIGNIFICANT NUMBERS
EXTRA-TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION
DOCTRINE OF LEGITIMATE EXPECTATION

Summary:

This was a hearing requested by Stelco Inc., in relation to a proposal issued by the Superintendent to make an Order under section 69 of the Pension Benefits Act (PBA) respecting the partial wind up of the Stelco Retirement Plan for Salaried Employees, Registration No. C-6968.

XDEC-12 Decision dated July 27, 1992

This was a series of rulings resulting from a pre-conference hearing where issues of standing and notice of the hearing were resolved.

The Commission found that it had the authority to order Stelco Inc., to produce a list of members and former members of the pension plan.

The Commission directed, without deciding on standing, that members and former members of the plan were to receive notice, and that notices would also be published in newspapers. This would permit the Commission to hear from interested parties on how they may be affected by the Superintendent’s order.

The Commission set out the terms of how notice was to be provided by Stelco Inc., including access to plan membership, and proof of service, which Stelco Inc. voluntarily accepted.

XDEC-16 Decision dated December 4, 1992

This was a series of rulings resulting from a continuation of the previous pre-hearing conference.

The Commission decided that two groups would be granted standing, those being he Gold Group on the basis that it is composed of both persons who could benefit from the proposed order if it is confirmed and other members and former members of the Plan, and the Craigen Group on the basis that it is made up of members of the Plan who allege that they may be materially affected by the decision on the proposed order. In addition certain other individuals were granted standing.

The Commission provided direction regarding the particulars, production of documents, and the manner of giving evidence applicable to the parties.


XDEC-17 Decision dated March 18, 1993

This was a decision relating to certain submission made by a member relating to the scope of the partial wind up.

The issue of the proposed wind up period, beyond that contemplated in the Superintendent’s order was found not to be relevant to the purposes of the hearing.

The Commission, recognized that the scheme of the PBA was a two stage process whereby first the Superintendent would inquire into a matter and render his decision. If requested, then the Commission would then conduct a hearing into that decision. Therefore the Commission declined to look into events that had not been first considered by the Superintendent. This did not preclude the individuals from submitting a request to the Superintendent for an order, nor did it affect standing at this hearing.

XDEC-18 Decision dated July 7, 1993

This was the Commission’s final decision resulting from the hearing that had been requested by Stelco Inc.

The Commission found that in enacting clause 69(1)(d) of the PBA the Legislature was concerned about protecting older employees with appreciable amounts of service who involuntarily lose their employment as a result of a major change in the way in which their employer carries on its business. It is from that perspective that the term "reorganization" must be interpreted by the Commission. The Commission held that on the facts here, there was a "reorganization" of Stelco's business within the meaning of clause 69(1)(d) of the PBA, which caused the cessation of employment of approximately 700 employees.

The Commission determined that the use of the term "significant" implies a more general and flexible standard and the need to consider the particular circumstances of each case on its merits. The Commission was not persuaded by the references to 20% as being a threshold below which percentage an employer could expect to continue without a partial wind up of the Plan. If the Legislature had intended that subsection 69(1)(d) of the PBA only apply where 20% or more of a Plan's membership lost their employment, it would have used express language to that effect.

The Commission found that the termination of 700 members out of a total of 3996 during a 18-month period must be considered a significant number by virtually any reasonable standard. In reaching this finding that characterizing this as "significant", it was also relevant to consider that many of those terminated were older, long service employees whom clause 69(1)(d) of the PBA was enacted to protect.

The Commission found that if a pension plan is registered in Ontario and in no other province or territory and if it is administered from Ontario, as is the case in respect of the Stelco Plan, that it has the authority to order its partial wind up in respect of terminated members wherever located or employed in Canada.

The Commission found that there was nothing in the evidence which would cause it to exercise its discretion not to order a partial wind up. In addition, it held that this is a situation where it is appropriate to order a partial wind up.

The Commission did not find that the doctrine of legitimate expectation applied in the circumstances of this hearing. There is no credible evidence that the decision makers at Stelco who determined that these terminations were necessary took the alleged 20% rule into account in either deciding to carry out these terminations or in structuring the termination packages that were offered to these employees.

Therefore the Commission ordered the Superintendent to carry out the Proposed Order dated February 28, 1992 directed to Stelco Inc., to carry out a partial wind up of the Stelco Retirement Plan for Salaried Employees.

Appeal:

Judicial Review of Superintendent’s proposed order: Stelco Inc. v. Ontario (Superintendent of Pensions) [1993] O.J. No.94

Divisional Court: Stelco Inc. v. Ontario (Superintendent of Pensions) [1994] O.J. No.1202 appeal dismissed, Gold Group cross appeal granted, wind up period termination date referred back to PCO
Court of Appeal: Stelco Inc. v. Ontario (Superintendent of Pensions) [1995] O.J. No. 2724 appeal dismissed
Supreme Court of Canada: Stelco Inc. v. Ontario (Superintendent of Pensions) [1995] S.C.C.A. No. 481 leave to appeal denied


Other Statutes Referred to:

Income Tax Act
Ontario Business Corporations Act
Canada Business Corporations Act

Cases Referred to:

Re Collins and Pension Commission of Ontario (1986) 56 O.R. (2d) 274
PCO Decision: Re General Motors Limited and the Pension Commission of Ontario dated January 25, 1992
J.F. Kennedy v. M.N.R., [1972] CTC 429
Regina v. Thomas Equipment, [1979] 2 S.C.R. 529
Gray v. Kerslake (1957), [1958] S.C.R. 3.
Firestone Canada v. Pension Commission of Ontario et al. (1990), 1 O.R. (3d) 122
Hooper v. Western Counties and South Wales Telephone Company Limited (1893), 68 L.T. 78 (Ch. Div.)


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.

Stelco Inc. c. l’Ontario (Surintendant des rgimes de retraite)

Numros d’index : XDEC-12
XDEC-16
XDEC-17
XDEC-18

Date des dcisions : Le 27 juillet 1992
Le 4 dcembre 1992
Le 18 mars 1993
Le 7 juillet 1993

Groupe d’experts : M. Joseph Regan, prsident, M. David R. Brown, Donald G. Collins

Parties B l’audience : Stelco Inc.
Groupe Gold
Groupe Craigen
Certains autres particuliers nomms
Surintendant des rgimes de retraite

OBJET : LIQUIDATION PARTIELLE
QUALIT POUR COMPARATRE A L’AUDIENCE
AVIS D’AUDIENCE
SIGNIFICATION DE RORGANISATION
SIGNIFICATION DE NOMBRE IMPORTANT
COMPTENCE EXTRA-TERRITORIALE
DOCTRINE DES ATTENTES LGITIMES

Sommaire :

Stelco Inc. a rclam cette audience au regard d‘un avis d’intention mis par le Surintendant de rendre une ordonnance en vertu de l’article 69 de la Loi sur les rgimes de retraite concernant la liquidation partielle du rgime de retraite de Stelco pour les employs salaris, numro d’enregistrement C-6968.

Dcision XDEC-12 date le 27 juillet 1992

Il s’agissait d’une srie de dcisions dcoulant d’une confrence pralable B l’audience oj les questions de qualit pour comparatre et d’avis d’audience ont t rsolues.

La Commission a tabli qu’elle avait l’autorit d’ordonner B Stelco Inc. de produire une liste des participants et anciens participants du rgime de retraite.

La Commission a dcrt, sans prendre de dcision au sujet de la qualit pour comparatre, que les participants et anciens participants du rgime devaient recevoir un avis et que des avis seraient galement publis dans les journaux. Il pourrait ainsi demander aux parties intresses comment elles seraient affectes par l’ordonnance du surintendant.

La Commission a tabli les modalits de l’mission des avis par Stelco Inc., notamment l’accPs aux membres du rgime et la preuve de signification, que Stelco Inc. a volontairement acceptes.

Dcision XDEC-16 date le 4 dcembre 1992

Il s’agissait d’une srie de dcisions dcoulant de la continuation de la confrence pralable B l’audience antrieure.

La Commission a dcid que deux groupes auraient qualit pour comparatre : d’une part, le groupe Gold compos de personnes aptes B profiter de l’ordonnance propose, si elle tait confirme, et d’autres participants et anciens participants du rgime et, d’autre part, le groupe Craigen compos de participants du rgime allguant qu’ils pourraient Ltre affects d’une maniPre apprciable par l’issue de l’ordonnance propose. D’autres personnes ont eu qualit pour comparatre.

La Commission a mis des directives concernant les dtails, la production des documents et le mode de prsentation des preuves applicable aux parties.


Dcision XDEC-17 date le 18 mars 1993

Cette dcision portait sur certaines soumissions d’un participant B propos de la porte de la liquidation partielle.

La priode de liquidation partielle propose, au-delB de celle envisage dans l’ordonnance du Surintendant, a t juge non pertinente aux fins de l’audience.

La Commission a reconnu que le schma de la Loi sur les rgimes de retraite tait un processus en deux tapes, au cours duquel le Surintendant ferait d’abord enquLte sur une affaire et rendrait sa dcision. Si quelqu’un en faisait la demande, la Commission tiendrait ensuite une audience sur cette dcision. Par consquent, la Commission a refus d’examiner les vnements qui n’avaient pas t tudis par le Surintendant. Cela n’empLchait pas les particuliers de dposer une demande d’ordonnance devant le Surintendant et n’affectait pas la qualit pour comparatre B cette audience.

Dcision XDEC-18 date le 7 juillet 1993

Il s’agissait de la dcision finale de la Commission dcoulant de l’audience rclame par Stelco Inc.

La Commission a conclu qu’en promulguant l’alina 69 (1) d) de la Loi sur les rgimes de retraite, le lgislateur voulait protger les employs plus gs ayant une longue priode de service qui perdent leur emploi involontairement B la suite d’une rorganisation majeure des affaires de leur employeur. C’est dans cette perspective que la Commission doit interprter le terme rorganisation . La Commission a conclu que, d’aprPs les faits prsents ici, il y avait eu une rorganisation des affaires de Stelco au sens de l’alina 69 (1) d) de la Loi sur les rgimes de retraite, par suite de laquelle environ 700 employs avaient vu leur emploi prendre fin.

La Commission a dtermin que l’usage du terme important implique une norme plus gnrale et souple et la ncessit d’envisager les circonstances particuliPres de chaque cas. La Commission n’a pas t convaincue que 20 p. 100 constitue un seuil et qu’en deB de ce pourcentage un employeur pourrait s’attendre B poursuivre ses activits sans liquidation partielle du rgime. Si le lgislateur avait voulu que l’alina 69 (1) d) de la Loi sur les rgimes de retraite s’applique uniquement lorsque 20 p. 100 ou plus des participants d’un rgime perdent leur emploi, il aurait utilis un langage exprPs B cet effet.

La Commission a conclu que le licenciement de 700 participants sur 3996 durant une priode de 18 mois doit Ltre considr comme un nombre important de quelque point de vue que l’on se place. En concluant qu’il s’agissait d’un nombre important , elle a galement tenu compte du fait qu’un grand nombre des participants licencis taient des employs plus gs ayant une longue priode de service que l’adoption de l’alina 69 (1) d) de la Loi sur les rgimes de retraite visait B protger.

La Commission a conclu que, si un rgime de retraite est enregistr en Ontario et est administr B partir de l’Ontario, comme c’est le cas pour le rgime de Stelco, elle a l’autorit d’en ordonner la liquidation partielle au regard des participants licencis oj qu’ils habitent ou travaillent au Canada.

La Commission a conclu qu’il n’y avait aucun lment de preuve propre B l’inciter B exercer un pouvoir discrtionnaire de ne pas ordonner une liquidation partielle. En outre, elle a dcid que dans cette situation il tait appropri d’ordonner une liquidation partielle.

La Commission n’a pas dtermin que la doctrine des attentes lgitimes s’appliquait dans les circonstances de cette audience. Aucune preuve crdible n’a dmontr que les dcideurs de Stelco qui ont dcrt que ces licenciements taient ncessaires ont tenu compte de la prtendue rPgle de 20 p. 100 lorsqu’ils ont dcid soit de procder B ces licenciements ou de remanier les forfaits de cessation d’emploi qui ont t offerts B ces employs.

Par consquent, la Commission a enjoint au Surintendant d’excuter l’ordonnance propose date le 28 fvrier 1992 ordonnant B Stelco Inc. de procder B la liquidation partielle du rgime de retraite de Stelco pour les employs salaris.

Appel :

Rvision judiciaire de l’ordonnance propose du Surintendant : Stelco Inc. v. Ontario (Superintendent of Pensions) [1993] O.J. No.94

Cour divisionnaire : Stelco Inc. v. Ontario (Superintendent of Pensions) [1994] O.J. No.1202 appel rejet, appel incident du groupe Gold accueilli, date de fin de la priode de liquidation renvoye B la CRRO
Cour d’appel : Stelco Inc. v. Ontario (Superintendent of Pensions) [1995] O.J. No. 2724 appel rejet
Cour suprLme du Canada : Stelco Inc. v. Ontario (Superintendent of Pensions) [1995] S.C.C.A. No. 481 autorisation d’interjeter appel refuse


Autres lois mentionnes :

Loi de l’impt sur le revenu
Loi sur les socits par actions de l’Ontario
Loi canadienne sur les socits par actions

Jurisprudence :

Re Collins and Pension Commission of Ontario (1986) 56 O.R. (2d) 274
Dcision de la CRRO : Re General Motors Limited and the Pension Commission of Ontario date le 25 janvier 1992
J.F. Kennedy v. M.N.R., [1972] CTC 429
Regina v. Thomas Equipment, [1979] 2 S.C.R. 529
Gray v. Kerslake (1957), [1958] S.C.R. 3.
Firestone Canada v. Pension Commission of Ontario et al. (1990), 1 O.R. (3d) 122
Hooper v. Western Counties and South Wales Telephone Company Limited (1893), 68 L.T. 78 (Ch. Div.)


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.