Skip to main content

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.

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. 

Licensing and Registration

The province's emergency measures order extended all licences, registrations, certificates and permits issued by the province. Any licence or registration valid as of 16 March 2020 remained valid until 31 July 2020 unless suspended by a court or by another authority under the Act of the Province.

New Brunswick issued a renewed and revised Mandatory Order on 31 July 2020 extending the State of Emergency for two weeks, however, the renewed and revised Mandatory Order did not include a further extension for licences.  As a result, any licences set to expire on 31 July 2020 under the previous Mandatory Orders expired at midnight on 31 July 2020.

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

Onsite compliance reviews have resumed as of 20 August 2020. Onsite 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.

Desk reviews re-commenced the week of 18 May 2020.


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. 

Annual statements on market conduct

Through the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR), reporting dates for Annual Statements on Market Conduct have been revised and extended to 1 July 2020.

Licensing

The province’s emergency measures order extended all licences, registrations, certificates and permits issued by the province. This means all insurance agent, broker, adjuster or damage appraiser licences valid as of 16 March 2020 remained valid until 31 July 2020 unless suspended by a court or by another authority under an Act of the Province. It is now expected that all those who fell under this extension have renewed their insurance licence(s).

Further, the time period for certain licence holders to complete required courses and move to the next level of licence has been extended. Please note, these licences need to be renewed by the expiry date on your licence.

A level 1 probationary adjuster must complete the required course and obtain a level 2 assistant adjuster licence within 12 months of obtaining a level 1 licence. The deadline to complete the course and obtain a level 2 licence is extended to 90 days after the date that the state of emergency ends.

A level 2 assistant adjuster must complete the required courses and obtain a level 3 adjuster licence within 36 months of obtaining a level 2 licence. The deadline to complete the course(s) and obtain a level 3 licence is extended to 90 days after the date that the state of emergency ends.

A broker Class II must complete the required courses and obtain a broker Class III licence within 3 years of obtaining a broker Class II licence. The deadline to complete the course(s) and obtain a Class III licence is extended to 90 days after the date that the state of emergency ends.

Licensing functions remain available through the online portal for those who wish to renew their individual licence or apply for a new licence. For inquiries related to new Insurer licences or renewals, please contact insurance.licensing@fcnb.ca, as our office will accept the required forms via email.

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 December 2020. 

Termination of sponsorship

An insurer that terminates an appointment of an agent or broker (sponsorship) must notify the Superintendent of the termination and provide reasons within 30 days. The deadline to provide the notice and reasons is extended to 30 days after the date that the state of emergency ends.

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.

Annual Information Returns

Pursuant to section 81 of the Pension Benefits Act, the Superintendent has extended the time limit for filing any Annual Information Returns (AIRs) that were due to be filed on or before 30 June 2020 by 90 days. This replaces the earlier extension of any AIRS that were due by 30 April 2020. The Superintendent is satisfied that the current State of Emergency declared in the Province of New Brunswick is reasonable grounds to extend this time limit.

Annual Written Statements to Members

Pursuant to section 81 of the Pension Benefits Act, the Superintendent has extended the time limit for providing annual written statements to members that were due on or before 30 June 2020 by 90 days. The Superintendent is satisfied that the current State of Emergency declared in the Province of New Brunswick is reasonable grounds to extend this time limit. 

Actuarial Valuation Reports and Cost Certificates

Pursuant to section 81 of the Pension Benefits Act, the Superintendent has extended the time limit for filing any Actuarial Valuation Reports (AVRs) and Cost Certificates due to be filed on or before 30 September 2020 by 90 days. This replaces the earlier extension of any AVRs that were due by 30 April 2020. The Superintendent is satisfied that the current State of Emergency declared in the Province of New Brunswick is reasonable grounds to extend these time limits. Pension plan administrators are reminded that under subsections 9(1) and 9(3.11) of the General Regulation - Pension Benefits Act, the review date of an AVR must be no more than three (3) years (or no more than 12 months, if the transfer ratio of the plan is less than 90%) after the review date of the immediately preceding AVR. 

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. The deadline to provide the notice and reasons is extended to 30 days after the date that the state of emergency ends.

Credit Unions Loan Payment Relief Programs

Effective immediately, the Superintendent of Credit Unions has approved programs proposed by Credit Unions to offer loan payment relief to their members. Members requiring more information and/or assistance are asked to contact their local credit union.



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. However, all in-person outreach sessions have been postponed and will be rescheduled at a future date.



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.
 

Registration

Registered firms and individuals pay an annual fee on 31 December to maintain their registration for the following year. Therefore, an extension is not required for registered firms and individuals as their registration is valid until 31 December 2020, at which time (or prior to) they may choose to maintain or cancel their registration. 



Direct Sellers

Licensing

The province’s emergency measures order extended all licences, registrations, certificates and permits issued by the province. This means all direct sellers licences valid as of 16 March 2020 remained valid until 31 July 2020 unless suspended by a court or by another authority under an Act of the Province.  

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



Mortgage Brokers

Fees and filings

Under section 3 of the Mortgage Brokers Act, the Director may exempt any person from any provision of the regulations if she considers it appropriate to do so. The Director is satisfied that the current State of Emergency declared in the Province of New Brunswick is reasonable grounds to extend these time limits. Therefore, pursuant to section 3 of the Mortgage Brokers Act, the Director extended the time limit for filing any Annual Returns due to be filed prior to 31 March 2020 by 60 days, to 31 May 2020. 

Licensing

The province’s emergency measures order extended all licences, registrations, certificates and permits issued by the province. This means all mortgage broker licences valid as of 16 March 2020 remained valid until 31 July 2020 unless suspended by a court or by another authority under an Act of the Province.

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

The province’s emergency measures order extended all licences, registrations, certificates and permits issued by the province. This means all real estate licences valid as of 16 March 2020 remained valid until 31 July 2020 unless suspended by a court or by another authority under an Act of the Province.

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

The province’s emergency measures order extended all licences, registrations, certificates and permits issued by the province. This means all pre-arranged funeral provider and manager’s licences valid as of 16 March 2020 remained valid until 31 July 2020 unless suspended by a court or by another authority under an Act of the Province. 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.

Form 1

The 31 March Form 1 deadline prescribed in subsection 9(2) of General Regulation 88-32 under the Pre-arranged Funeral Services Act has been extended to 30 days after the date the state of emergency ends.
 



Collection & Debt Settlement Services

Licensing

The province’s emergency measures order extended all licences, registrations, certificates and permits issued by the province. This means all collection agencies and collectors licences valid as of 16 March 2020 remained valid until 31 July 2020 unless suspended by a court or by another authority under an Act of the Province. 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

The province’s emergency measures order extended all licences, registrations, certificates and permits issued by the province. This means all payday lender licences and credit grantor, credit broker and lessor registrations valid as of 16 March 2020 remained valid until 31 July 2020 unless suspended by a court or by another authority under an Act of the Province.

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

The province’s emergency measures order extended all licences, registrations, certificates and permits issued by the province. This means all auctioneer licences valid as of 16 March 2020 remained valid until 31 July 2020 unless suspended by a court or by another authority under an Act of the Province. 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

The province’s emergency measures order extended all licences, registrations, certificates and permits issued by the province. This means all credit reporting licences valid as of 16 March 2020 remained valid until 31 July 2020 unless suspended by a court or by another authority under an Act of the Province. 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.