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COVID-19 Update

On 19 March 2020, the Province of New Brunswick declared a state of emergency under section 12 of the Emergency Measures Act to enhance measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus).
 
Though we are taking measures to respond to COVID-19 and these measures may increase normal response times, we are continuing to operate, with emphasis on maintaining key functionality.

As this is a very fluid situation, we are continuing to adapt as the situation develops. Please check our website for updates as this situation unfolds.

This page was last updated on 6 April 2021.

COVID-19 General Directives 

Every business proprietor and service provider, every employer and workplace manager, everyone who owns or occupies land or buildings must take all reasonable steps to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission among their employees, patrons and visitors, and must comply with all directives and guidelines from WorkSafeNB and the Chief Medical Health Officer of Health relevant to COVID-19 transmission. 

Please refer to the Regulated Industries Information below for how this impacts your specific industry.

Notice Regarding Cybersecurity Risk

Cyber threats are a growing risk for organizations within FCNB’s regulated sectors. 

As technology evolves, more and more transactions take place electronically and more data is stored electronically. 

FCNB’s regulated sectors are required by law to keep their books, records and documents in a safe location, in a durable form, and they should be taking precautions to maintain the integrity of their records.  

FCNB has posted information for industry on some best practices standards for cybersecurity risk management on our website.  This information identifies important first steps organizations in our regulated sectors can take toward maintaining the integrity and security of their records.   

Scheduled Compliance Reviews

Compliance reviews are an integral part of ensuring FCNB's mandate to protect consumers and investors. FCNB staff will follow the guidelines/phases as established by the Province of New Brunswick and/or the Chief Medical Officer in their assessment of onsite visits.

 

REGULATED INDUSTRIES INFORMATION

Insurance
Pension Plans
Credit Unions
Cooperatives
Securities
Direct Sellers
Mortgage Brokers
Real Estate
Pre-arranged Funeral Providers
Collection & Debt Settlement Services
Cost of Credit Disclosure & Payday Loans
Auctioneers
Credit Reporting


Insurance

We have taken measures to ease administrative burdens on industry so that priority can be given to servicing increased consumer needs. Read our letter to industry members. 

Licensing

Licensing functions are available through the online portal for those who wish to renew their licence or apply for a new licence. Please email insurance.licensing@fcnb.ca if you have any questions on how to submit your insurance licence applicantion.

Insurance courses/exams

FCNB has reinstated the LLQP exam sessions that had been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Online and in-person options are now available to complete the LLQP exam(s). For those impacted by the cancellations earlier this year, certification for LLQP candidates has been extended to 31 March 2021. 

Registered mail notifications

Several provisions under the Insurance Act require notification or delivery by registered mail. It is our understanding that, at this time, registered mail remains available through Canada Post. Although Canada Post has, and may continue to, modify its procedures for registered mail, this remains an option for meeting that statutory requirement. We would encourage you to monitor updates from Canada Post. Alternatively, please consult the Electronic Transactions Act for guidance on how to effect electronic delivery.   

Insurer Annual General Meetings (AGM)

Any New Brunswick incorporated insurers planning to hold annual general meetings (AGMs) in the near future should either postpone or hold the meeting virtually. In person AGMs at this time could result in large public meetings, which would be contrary to current public health advice.

Helpful Links:

http://www.ibc.ca/bc/business/covid-19
https://www.insuranceinstitute.ca/en/about-the-institute/COVID-19
https://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/
https://www.nbinsurancebrokers.ca/Covid-19_Updates.html
https://www.clhia.ca/
https://www.ccir-ccrra.org/Documents/View/3585
https://www.cisro-ocra.com/Documents/View/2331
http://www.ibc.ca/on/resources/media-centre/media-releases/insurers-com…
http://www.ibc.ca/qc/resources/media-centre/media-releases/insurers-reducing-insurance-costs-for-canadians-ibc-member-companies-offer-substantial-consumer-relief-measures


Pension Plans

Defined Contribution Pension Plans

Employers and employees are required to make contributions to defined contribution (DC) pension plans in accordance with the pension plan documents, the Pension Benefits Act and its regulations as well as the federal Income Tax Act and its regulations. The Minister of National Revenue recently announced that the normal minimum contribution rule (i.e. employer must contribute 1% of total pensionable earnings of all active participating members each year) will be waived for the remainder of 2020 if the plan is amended to suspend accruals under the plan for the year. This was done as a temporary relief measure during the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting economic difficulties facing many employers and employees.  

If an employer would like to suspend contributions for the remainder of 2020, it can be done on a go-forward basis by making an amendment to the pension plan and filing it for approval with FCNB.  Before making any amendments, pension plan administrators should consider any applicable provisions of a collective agreement, member notice requirements and any other employment or pension law considerations.  

Also, please be aware that in certain circumstances, plan amendments may not be needed. For example, pension plans where member contributions are optional or when contributions are based on earnings and there are no earnings due to a layoff.  

Provided they have filed the appropriate amendment, the Superintendent of Pensions will not order a plan to be wound up pursuant to subsection 61(1) of the Pension Benefits Act solely because an employer temporarily ceased contributions for a portion of the 2020 calendar year as a result of the Covid-19 economic disruption.

Transfer Ratio or Termination Value Funded Ratios

The Financial and Consumer Services Commission reminds all pension plan administrators that pursuant to subsection 19(7) of the General Regulation – Pension Benefits Act and subsection 18(2) of the Shared Risk Plans Regulation – Pension Benefits Act, if there is reason to believe that the transfer ratio or termination value funded ratio of the plan has been reduced by more than 10% overall (for example, from 90% to 80%) since the review date of the most recently filed AVR, the administrator shall not transfer the commuted value (or termination value for a shared risk plan) unless, after recalculation, the transfer can be carried out under subsection 19(10) or 19(11) of the General Regulation – Pension Benefits Act or is approved by the Superintendent under section 37 of the Pension Benefits Act. Given the current volatility of the markets, the Superintendent is of the opinion that all plan administrators have reason to believe that the transfer ratio or termination value funded ratio has been reduced by more than 10%, and therefore must closely monitor the transfer ratio of the plan. The Superintendent has deemed it reasonable for pension plan administrators to monitor and, if necessary recalculate, these ratios on a quarterly basis. If the transfer ratio or termination value funded ratio has not been reduced by at least 10%, the previously calculated ratio can be used for the transfer. This is not a hold on transfers but rather a reminder of the requirement to recalculate the transfer ratio or termination value funded ratio prior to transferring funds if the transfer ratio has been reduced by at least 10%. Recalculations should be done as soon as possible to avoid delays with transfers. Approval by the Superintendent is not required if the transfer can be carried out under subsection 19(10) or 19(11). If the transfer ratio or termination value funded ratio has been reduced by at least 10%, a new transfer ratio or termination value funded ratio must be calculated and documented in a cost certificate prior to transfers taking place. Although the cost certificate must be filed with the Superintendent, the newly calculated transfer ratio or termination value funded ratio may be utilized once filed. Pension plan administrators are expected to monitor the transfer ratio and adjust as needed on a quarterly basis.  

Forms Requiring a Commissioner of Oaths or Notary Public

For any form requiring a signature before a Commissioner of Oaths, please be advised that some lawyers in New Brunswick may now be able to commission documents via video conference as set out on the Law Society’s website. All lawyers in New Brunswick are Commissioners of Oaths. If you are experiencing issues with the witnessing of any FCNB pension-related form, please contact FCNB at info@fcnb.ca.

Minimum Withdrawals

The federal government has announced that it will reduce the minimum withdrawal rate from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) in 2020 by 25%. The minimum payment as set out in the General Regulation – Pension Benefits Act for Life Income Funds (LIFs) is currently higher than the minimum as set out by the federal government. We are aware of this difference and we are reviewing policy options.   



Credit Unions

Credit Unions Annual General Meetings (AGMs)

The Superintendent of Credit Unions understands that due to the state of emergency in New Brunswick, Annual General Meetings that are required to be held under the Credit Unions Act may not be held for at least the duration of the state of emergency. The Superintendent of Credit Unions stresses that it is critical that we ensure compliance with the Emergency Measures Act and do all that we can to facilitate social distancing. Credit unions will be given an extension of 90 days after the state of emergency ends to hold annual general meetings and must then submit required filings to the Superintendent within 30 days from the date the Annual General Meeting is held.



Cooperatives

Cooperatives Annual General Meetings (AGMs)

The Director of Cooperatives understands that due to the state of emergency in New Brunswick, Annual General Meetings that are required to be held under the Cooperatives Act cannot be held for at least the duration of the state of emergency. The Director of Cooperatives stresses that it is critical that we ensure compliance with the Emergency Measures Act and do all that we can to facilitate social distancing. Cooperatives will be given an extension of 90 days after the state of emergency ends to hold annual general meetings and must then submit required filings to the Director within 30 days from the date the Annual General Meeting is held.

Consultations

We had planned to do some in-person communications with our Cooperatives about the new regulations that took effect 1 January 2020. However, due to the prolonged state of emergency we have created a training video that can be found on our website.



Securities

The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) have released a number of communications relating to the impact of COVID-19 on its market participants. Please click here for further information. We encourage market participants to check regularly for ongoing updates.   

Regulatory Filings

The CSA have provided temporary blanket relief for market participants from certain regulatory filings as a result of COVID-19. The blanket orders can be viewed here. They include:

  • 21-507: Temporary Exemption from Certain Reporting Requirements for Regulated Entities Carrying on Business in New Brunswick
  • 31-531: Temporary Exemption from Certain Financial Statement and Information Delivery Requirements for Registrants
  • 31-532: Relief in Respect of Client Focused Reforms Conflict of Interest Provisions of NI 31-103
  • 31-533: Relief in Respect of Client Focused Reforms Relationship Disclosure Information Provisions of NI 31-103
  • 31-534 Temporary Exemption from Certain Financial Statement and Information Delivery Requirements for Registrants with Deadlines During the Period from 2 June to 30 September 2020
  • 51-507: Temporary Exemption from Certain Corporate Finance Requirements
  • 51-508: Temporary Exemptions from Certain Requirements to File or Send Security Holder Materials
  • 51-509: Temporary Exemption from Certain Corporate Finance Requirements with Deadlines During the Period from 2 June to 31 August 2020 
  • 81-506: Extension of Certain Filing, Delivery and Prospectus Renewal Requirements of Investment Funds
  • 81-507: Temporary Exemption from Borrowing Limit to Accommodate Redemption Requests of Mutual Funds Investing in Fixed Income Securities
  • 81-508: Extension of Certain Filing, Delivery and Prospectus Renewal Requirements of Investment Funds with Deadlines During the Period from 2 June to 30 September 2020

CSA Staff Notice 51-360 FAQs Regarding Filing Extension Granted by Way of a Blanket Order to COVID-19 provides interpretative guidance for the blanket orders 51-507 and 51-508.

COVID-19 Disclosure Considerations

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on many issuers’ operations, financial condition, cash flows and financial performance. This CSA document provides information and guidance on disclosing and reporting on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including:
•    Liquidity and capital resources
•    Significant judgments and estimation uncertainty
•    Impairment considerations for non-financial assets
•    Non-GAAP financial measures
•    Risk factor disclosure
•    Material change reporting
•    Forward-looking information

For questions, please contact Joe Adair, Senior Securities Analyst at FCNB, at 1-866-933-2222.
 



Direct Sellers

Licensing

Licensing functions are available through the online portal for those who wish to renew their licence or apply for a new licence.



Mortgage Brokers

Licensing

Licensing functions are available through the online portal for those who wish to pay their annual fee or apply for a new mortgage broker licence. Please email mortgage.licensing@fcnb.ca if you have any questions.



Real Estate

Licensing

Licensing functions are available through the online portal for those who wish to renew their licence or apply for a new licence. Please email consumer.licensing@fcnb.ca if you have any questions on how to renew your real estate licence.



Pre-arranged Funeral Providers

Licensing

Please email consumer.licensing@fcnb.ca if you have any questions on how to renew your pre-arranged funeral provider and/or manager's licence.



Collection & Debt Settlement Services

Licensing

Please email consumer.licensing@fcnb.ca if you have any questions on how to renew your collection agency or collector's licence.



Cost of Credit Disclosure & Payday Loans

Licensing

Please email consumer.licensing@fcnb.ca if you have any questions on how to renew your credit grantor, credit broker or lessor registration. Licensing functions are available through the online portal for those who wish to renew their payday lender licence or apply for a new licence.



Auctioneers

Licensing

Please email consumer.licensing@fcnb.ca if you have any questions on how to renew your auctioneer's licence or apply for a new licence.



Credit Reporting

Licensing

Please email consumer.licensing@fcnb.ca if you have any questions on how to renew your credit reporting licence or apply for a new licence.