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McGee and McCallum v. London Life

June 20, 2011

Pension Surplus Class Action

What this class action is about

On February 16, 2007, Goldblatt Partners filed a class action against London Life on behalf of a group of former London Life employees.

As a result of layoffs and restructuring in 1996, a partial wind-up of the London Life staff pension plan was ordered. London Life contested the order to partially wind-up the staff pension plan. The order was upheld by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario. Subsequently, London Life declined to pay the surplus to affected members of the plan, taking the position that it owned the surplus.


June 20, 2011:  Class action dismissed

Unfortunately, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has held against the applicants and members of the class, holding that:

  • the surplus assets in the Plan were not impressed with a trust in favour of Plan members, former Plan members or other beneficiaries;
  • members of the class were not entitled to the partial windup surplus or damages;
  • London Life did not commit any breaches of trust, breaches of fiduciary duty, breaches of its employer obligation of good faith or breaches of its statutory obligations in respect of members of the class;
  • a constructive trust in favour of class members should not be imposed over the entire partial windup surplus or over that part of the surplus attributable to special payments made by London Life; and
  • a resulting trust in favour of class members should not be imposed over the portion of the partial windup surplus attributable to contributions made by members.

September 25, 2008: Court converts class action to an application

The Court has converted the class action into an application and directed that the issue of entitlement to the partial wind up surplus be decided, prior to any hearing on the issue of damages and/or distribution of the partial wind up surplus.

May 6, 2008: Class action certified

Justice Joan Lax has certified the class action, and defined the class as follows:

All Office members (i.e. administrative employees) of the London Life Insurance Company Staff Pension Plan, Registration No. 0343368 with a vested entitlement under the Plan, who were employed by the London Life Insurance Company (“London Life”) and whose employment was terminated by London Life in 1996 or who voluntarily resigned or retired as a result of the 1996 reorganization of London Life or the discontinuance in 1996 of a significant portion of the business of London Life, including such members’ beneficiaries or estates.

Read the certification decision here.

London Life sought leave to appeal the order of Justice Lax, but its motion was dismissed.

Practice Areas

Civil Litigation, Class Action Litigation, Pension & Benefits Law, Employment Law