2013 YMPE Announced

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) recently announced the 2013 limit for yearly maximum pensionable earnings (YMPE).

  • For 2013 the YMPE has been set at $51,100 up from $50,100 in 2012.
  • RRSP Maximum limits were also increased for 2013 to $23,820 compared to the 2012 limit of $22,970.
  • The basic exemption amount  will remain the same as the 2012 limit for 2013 ($3,500).


For more rates  check out our rates section




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Over the course of 2012, Penad has been approached by several of its clients on the new FATCA reporting requirements and how PX3000 can be used to assist in reporting required information. Penad is working with its clients to provide functionality in generating required data that will need to be merged with other external financial data.

Click here for a commentary on FACTA and its potential implications in the Caribbean region.


For A Full Description of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) please visit




Canadian Government Pre-Publishes Second and Final Tranche of PRPP REGULATIONS

The Canadian Government has pre-pubslished, for public comment the second and final tranche of regulatory proposals to address provisions of the Pooled Registered Pension Plans Act (Bill C-25).  Minister of State (Finance), Ted Menzies was quoted as saying that “As soon as this last package of regulations is finalized, the federal Pooled Registered Pension Plans Act (PRPP Act) and regulations will be brought into force,”

The proposed regulations will address provisions of the PRPP Act respecting:

  • General requirements with respect to providing information;
  • The circumstances in which a member may withdraw funds from their PRPP account;
  • The circumstances in which a member may receive variable payments from the funds in their account;
  • The transfer options available to members and the conditions on the vehicles to which a member’s funds may be transferred;
  • The use of electronic means to satisfy requirements under the Act for communications with plan members; and
  • Other technical rules related to the implementation of the framework

A detailed review of the changes can be found here



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Alberta Temporary Funding Relief

The Alberta Treasury and Finance Board issued EPPA Update 12-01 “Defined Benefit Funding Relief Provisions”.    The amendment is meant to introduce short term funding relief provisions to assist plan sponsors with the financial pressures associated with funding a defined benefit pension plan.  It is important to note that this relief option is only applicable to pension plans which are not specified multi-employer pension plans (SMEPPs).

The amendment permits plan administrators, on written application to the Superintendent of Pensions, to consolidate all existing pension plan solvency deficiencies into one new solvency deficiency. The regulation amendment then further allows for that solvency deficiency to be amortized over a period not exceeding a maximum of 10 years (rather than the usual 5 year amortization).

Plan administrators are permitted to make only one application for the consolidation of solvency deficiencies and extension of the amortization period. The application may be made in respect of any actuarial valuation report that has a review date between December 31, 2011 and December 31, 2012, inclusive.  To view the full EPPA Update click here

The amendment no doubt comes as welcome news to plan sponsors who continue to battle an investment environment of low interest rates and volatile investment returns which affects the overall funding ratios for a vast majority of defined benefit plan sponsors.


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Why The Fat Lady Won’t Sing For RIM

It’s been suggested this week that RIMs final nail in its coffin is now imminent. There has been much conjecture online as to the validity of RIM’s claims that the new Blackberry Enterprise Server(BES10) will support legacy BlackBerry(bb7) devices. Some reports say that it will, while others claim that infrastructures that wish to maintain BES support for new and old blackberrys alike will have to maintain both the old BES5 and BES10 installations. The later reportedly being a costly and inefficient methodology that will surely further turn companies away from RIM.

This latest development, true or otherwise follows an already long list of factors impacting RIMs global market share. Continued delays in delivery of BB10, the “Bring your own device(byod) to work” trend, losses in market share to Apple, Android, and yes now Windows Mobile Phones,  and Playbook foul-ups (Imagine releasing a tablet to market with no email support, certainly it isn’t true!) are just some of the examples.

Proof of how dismal it is for RIM is in the pudding: A concoction of reported million dollar losses, mass layoffs, and a steady news stream detailing restructuring initiatives to feed the enquiring minds. Throw in a lost patent lawsuit just to ensure to kick RIM while it’s down. They even saw fit to sell one of their corporate jets.

Surely if RIM doesn’t hurry up and release their BB10 phones to an already dwindling market share then take their next BES version to the limit by supporting all blackberry devices while maintaining their secured environment and push technology, all the while keeping company infrastructure costs low, its game over, right?


Today’s mobile market is saturated with different flavours of smart phones and tablets. Gone are the days of RIMs dominance in this field. The year 2002 where your mobile options were fat phones, flip phones and of course the only smart phone: the BlackBerry is long gone. If you were lucky you still had youself a really neat palm pilot. Today however there are options. Android, iPhones, Windows Phones, Blackberrys, all jockying for market share. One would be daft to think that RIM would find the glory they once had in this mobile market.

Add to this the complexity involved in switching your core software platform from one language to another. The  BB7 devices operating system is written in C++. BB10 Devices make use of QNX, a complete new direction to say the least. Here at Penad we are in process of converting our flagship software from one language to another. Take it from me that this venture is an intricate, time consuming process in which the challenges are not always known.

RIMs technological shift comes at a time where the likes of Apple are focusing their efforts on increased functionality, usability and adding cool features to appeal to the market;  no wonder they are gaining market share, a trend that surely has it’s limits. I still find it astonishing to hear that people are lining up at their local best buy stores hours before opening to get their hands on the latest iteration of iPhones. Hey guys, you know it’s just a smart phone, right? But I digress.

Instead lets talk about some of the things that Blackberrys are really good at.

Blackberry users insist that the little physical keyboard on the blackberry is something that the right stuff is made of. On this point, I have to agree. I myself am a former blackberry user lured to to the dark side of Android. Of all the things I miss the most in my mobile experience is the ability to write an email or text message quickly with proper spelling and punctuation.

Push email and BBM are next on the list. Who among us wouldn’t prefer having the server responsible for our emails notify our devices of waiting mail over our devices incurring data charged by constantly checking for mail in order to receive mail in a timely fashion.

Third on the list, and perhaps most important  is security. No other mobile devices offer the same level of security and encryption that Blackberry does. Perhaps for the average mobile user, encrypted email is not something of importance. However for many of the companies, governments and public services, large and small that dot the globe, it is.

Why then are some of these same organizations adopting a byod attitude towards their staff? Well, it`s human nature to adopt feature and functionality, want and desire over security while driving head long into a sustained state of  complacency. The longer one goes without feeling vulnerable, the more secure one feels. Add to this, there is much to be learned from past incidents that  drive the security of the future. The history of technological security brings this point home as it is rich in measure, counter-measure. Technological security policy in organizations as you may know it today exist the way they do because there is a proven reason to have them. This is akin to personal safety in automobiles. The seat belt was only introduced after people lost their lives in car accidents. The guardrail installed after an unfortunate soul slid off the road and over a cliff on a rainy day.  To be fair, I should point out that there are ways to secure email bound for mobile devices from server software such as Microsoft exchange, a methodology not always employed. All of us while participating in this phenomenon do so full well knowing the implications in the back of our minds and are aware of the security shortcommings.

RIM has something no other mobile manufacturer has, BES. Installed into organizations and integrated into messaging services, it provides the security we all know we should have while communicating through our corporate mobile devices, while offering push mail and a host of other features. Currently this security is only offered up to blackberry users.

RIM has indicated that the next generation BES to be released in early 2013 will make use of Blackberry Mobile Fusion to integrate IPhone and Android users into the secure fold of BES for any organization. What this means is that while the byod trend continues, RIM will supply the back-end infrastructure to provide organizations with a unified control and secure platform for all mobile devices in use by staff. In short, RIM is positioning itself to be the defacto all encompassing mobile security backbone software provider.

Of course,  RIM will continue to provide the world with hand held devices, and from what I’ve seen and read concerning the upcoming BB10 devices, they are likely to dig their way back into a fair share of the market albeit never to the point of the glory days of many moons ago.

None the less, this represents a fundamental shift from mobile device provider to mobile security provider for all. I suggest that we should all start looking at RIM that way, and if I’m even remotely correct, RIM will be with us for many years to come.


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Pooled Registered Pension Plans (PRPP) Regulations

The Government of Canada has pre-published regulatory proposals to address provisions of the Pooled Registered Pension Plans Act (Bill C-25), according to Minister of State (Finance) Ted Menzies.

The proposed regulations will address provisions of the Pooled Registered Pension Plans Act respecting:

  • the licensing conditions for a potential administrator of a Pooled Registered Pension Plan (PRPP);
  • the management and investment of funds in members’ accounts;
  • details with respect to the investment options offered to members;
  • criteria against which the requirement to provide low-cost PRPPs can be assessed;
  • conditions under which a PRPP member is allowed to set his or her contribution rate to 0%; and
  • information that plan administrators must disclose to plan members, employers and the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.

The proposed regulations will be pre-published in the Canada Gazette on August 11 for a 30-day public comment period, prior to final consideration by the Government. A second package of regulations under the PRPP Act will follow at the earliest opportunity.

PRPPs will be available across Canada once federal tax legislation is passed and the provinces implement their PRPP legislation.

To see the full proposed regulations go to click here


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New Changes to the Ontario Pension Benefits Act

On June 21st, 2012, the Ontario Government proclaimed  a number of Sections under Bills 120 and 236  which amended various Sections of the Ontario Pension Benefits Act to take effect 01-Jul-2012. The major changes that affect benefits payable and day to day administration are:

  1. All Ontario employees terminating after 01-Jul-2012 will be immediately vested 100%. This means there is no longer a 2 year membership requirement to vest in your pension. It is now immediate. This has been expected and it follows the lead of Quebec and Manitoba.
  2. The “small pension rule” has been increased to a level consistent with most other provinces. With effect from 01-Jul-2012, if an annual pension benefit on termination, death or retirement is under 4% of the Y.M. P. E. (Yearly Maximum Pensionable Earnings under the CPP. In 2012 this is $50,100), or if the commuted value of the pension benefit is under 20% of the YMPE, the benefit is not considered to be locked-in and if the pension plan provides for it, the plan can provide that the benefit must be taken in cash. This is a welcome change as finally Ontario is catching up with the other provinces and raising this limit. This means employees terminating in 2012 with pensions less than $2,004.00 p.a. or commuted values less than $10,020 will be eligible to receive cash lump sums.
  3. The biggest change by far for Plan Sponsors will be the new “grow-in” provisions to be applied to terminations of employment brought about by the Employer. “Grow-In” provisions were provided previously upon total or partial plan wind-ups in Ontario. Since partial plan wind ups have been eliminated from 01-Jul-2012, the government has decided to provide “grow-in” to eligible terminated employees after 01-Jul-2012. Any Ontario employee whose age and employment service total 55 or more and whose employment was terminated by the employer after 01-Jul-2012 is eligible. “Grow-In” means that no matter how old an employee is at termination, if his age and service total 55 or more, he will be considered as eligible for any early retirement benefits under the Plan. The employee is assumed to “grow-in” to the eligibility for early retirement benefits. This will mean as a deferred member he will be entitled to retire early with the same early retirement reductions as active employees. This will also mean that the commuted value of their termination benefit must take this early retirement benefit into account. This will increase commuted values paid to these grow-in members. This is because the Canadian Institute of Actuaries Guidelines require that the commuted value in grow-in cases be calculated at the retirement date in the future that provides for the greatest commuted value. The exceptions to this are if the employee was terminated due to “willful misconduct”, “disobedience” or “willful neglect of duty by the member that is not trivial”. Reporting of terminations in Ontario after 01-Jul-2012 will have to take this new rule into effect.


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MS Outlook 2007 performance patch is anything but….

In mid December Microsoft released a patch for MS Outlook 2007 that promised to increase performance of the email client.  Once installed however, many at Penad began to notice lagging issues while switching between oultook folders. Moving from the inbox to the sent items folder, as an example, brought much frustration.

The issue is caused by the update kb2412171. Information from Microsoft is located here.

In order to resolve the issue go into control panel, Programs and features , and select “Installed Updates” from the blue menu on the right it will display all the updates. In the Office section locate the update numbered kb2412171, and uninstall it, the problem will go away. Make sure you close outlook before you do so.

While we are on the subject of outlook performance, it should be noted that the pst file where one’s emails, calendar items and contacts are stored tends to grow and fragment over time. An occasional cleanup of old mail items, archived or moved to another pst file, followed by compacting the pst can do some real good in keeping your outlook email client quick and responsive.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail

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Penad’s 2010 Recipient of the Black Mariah Award

Annually, a worthy Penad staff member is selected to receive the prestigious Penad Black Mariah award.  The Award was first created in 1989 to acknowledge the Penad staff member who had broken the most computers or peripheral equipment throughout the year.

There were many candidates considered for the 2010 and 2011 honor but in the end it was awarded to  Louise Price, President  Penad Pension Services.  Below is a photo of Louise receiving the award from our Directer of Information Technology  (Edward Blokland) at the annual Penad Christmas Party.

Congratulations Louise on your award.


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FBI Good. TrueCrypt Better.

During a 2008 investigation, the Brazilian Police seized several hard drives from a banker. After several failed attempts at accessing the information on the drives by the National Institute of Criminology,   the FBI was contacted to provide assistance. The FBIs attempts to crack the hard drive encryption met with equal failure. The encryption on these hard drives, you ask?

TrueCrypt – a free Open-Source program that is widely used across the globe.

Not only did the IT folks at Penad share a good laugh about this, but we also felt a wholesome satisfaction as we have been using TrueCrypt’s technology for some time on not only our own servers and daily backup volumes but on our laptops and computers that travel away from the security of our office both in Canada and abroad.

Tonight, I sleep like a baby knowing that private information on our servers, databases and roaming PCs will stay that way. Good luck on your next attempts FBI techs, let us know how it turns out.


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