Government Considering Unlocking Pensions
The Provincial Government announced that it is considering amendments to the Pensions Benefits Act regarding the unlocking of pension benefits. The amendment to the Act would allow individuals with locked in pension accounts early access to a portion of their retirement income, if experiencing sufficient financial strain.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to massive lay-offs and job losses, creating financial pressures for many individuals. Since its onset, the Provincial Government has received numerous emails and calls from individuals with locked-in pensions seeking access to retirement assets to assist with financial hardship due to COVID-19.
Options are being considered for providing unlocking access to individuals who have previously transferred funds out of a pension plan into a locked in retirement vehicle, or may do so in the future. Newfoundland and Labrador will not consider options to allow unlocking of pension benefits for active pension plan members, consistent with other jurisdictions.