You have been identified on the Trust's records as a beneficiary, that is, a person who either receives benefit payments from the Trust because you are disabled, or would be entitled to receive benefit payments from the Trust if you became disabled and met the eligibility conditions that are described in the Trust and Plan documents.
The Telecommunication Workers LTD Trust is a pool of money that has been set aside to provide payments to beneficiaries - members or former members of the Telecommunications Workers Union (TWU), United Steelworkers Local Union 1944 or certain others connected to the Union. The Trust is governed by Trustees, who must run the Trust in accordance with the Trust Agreement.
There are eight Trustees who govern the Trust: four named by the Union and four named by the Employer.
In 2006, the Trust was closed, meaning no new beneficiaries joined the Trust. Over time, beneficiaries aged, retired, or died, leaving only a small number of current beneficiaries. At the same time, a series of events led to the Trust fund having a surplus, that is, more money in the Trust fund than what would be necessary to make all benefit payments that are owing or that may become owing in the future. As a result, the Trust has more money than it can use, but is restricted by the Trust Agreement from making changes that would allow it to make use of that extra money in a fair way. For these reasons, the Trustees have applied to the Court for permission to amend the Trust Agreement to allow them to move the excess money to the Telecommunications Workers Pension Trust where it would be used to benefit the beneficiaries of the Pension trust. Throughout this process, a primary concern of the Trustees has been to ensure that beneficiaries are protected.
Due to legislative changes in the Income Tax Act, the Trust would have to incur administrative costs to comply with new requirements in 2021. The Trustees would rather have the money go to Union members than administration. Further, because the Trust is closed to new members, eventually the Trustees would have to make an application to Court in order to deal with any surplus remaining after the last member is no longer eligible for benefits from the Trust. It makes more sense for the Trustees to do that now.
The Trust Agreement says that the Trustees cannot use Trust funds for any purpose other than to provide health and welfare benefits to beneficiaries. Transferring the surplus to the Pension Trust is not a permitted use under the Trust Agreement. The Trustees are going to Court to seek permission to do what they cannot otherwise do.
If you are currently receiving LTD benefits payments, the Trustees would purchase an annuity for you to provide equivalent income until your expected benefit end date. If you are not receiving LTD benefit payments, the Trustees would purchase an insurance product that would provide you with equivalent coverage and benefits should you become disabled.
The Trust beneficiaries did not contribute to the Trust funds. While they are entitled to LTD benefits under the Trust if disabled and meet the requirements, they have no other entitlement to any of the Trust funds, in any event, the Trust funds can only be used to provide health and welfare benefits to the beneficiaries, in accordance with both the Trust Agreement and the Income Tax Act. The Trustees cannot simply distribute cash.
A combination of an attempt to address an earlier deficit, better than expected experience and favourable investment conditions led to the surplus.
In 2008, the Trust was in a deficit position, that is, had insufficient funds to pay current and anticipated future benefits. To address the deficit. the Union and Employer agreed to send a portion of the money usually earmarked as pension contributions to the Trust. The Trustees consider the Trust's current surplus position to be in part from money that otherwise would have "belonged" to the pension trust. For this reason, it makes sense to return the surplus to the pension trust. In addition, all beneficiaries of the Trust are also beneficiaries of the pension trust and will benefit from the increase to the pension fund.
No. You do not have to respond unless you disagree with what the Trustees are proposing and wish the Court to consider your position.
If you wish to learn more about your legal rights, you should speak with your own lawyer. If you do not have a lawyer in mind, you may want to consider the Lawyer Referral Service. Information is available at:
The BC Supreme Court has suspended all filing deadlines under the Supreme Court Civil Rules due to COVID-19 from March 18, 2020 to May 1, 2020. This means that if you received your package by Registered Mail after March 18, you have 21 days after May 1 to file a response. If you received your package prior to March 18, no days between March 18 and May 1 count towards the 21 days. If you intend to file a response and are unable to meet the deadline for response that applies to you because of COIVD-19, please contact the Trust's lawyer, Allison Tremblay, at prior to the expiry of the deadline and ask for an extension.