On 24 September 2021, 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 30 September 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 familiarize themselves with 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
During the height of the pandemic, we took measures to ease administrative burdens on industry so that priority could be given to servicing increased consumer needs. Read our letter to industry members that was issued in April 2020. Since that time, industry and individuals have adapted to the new “normal”.
Licensing functions are available through the online portal for those who wish to renew their licence or apply for a new licence. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions on how to submit your insurance licence application.
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).
Registered mail notifications
Several provisions under the Insurance Act require notification or delivery by registered mail. 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.
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. In July 2020, the Minister of National Revenue announced that the normal minimum contribution rule (i.e. employer must contribute 1% of total pensionable earnings of all active participating members each year) would 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.
In order to take advantage of this suspension of contributions for a portion of 2020, employers can file an amendment 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.
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 email@example.com.
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 Annual General Meetings (AGMs)
Annual General Meetings are an essential component of the democratic functions and self-governance of cooperatives. They are also an important opportunity to raise issues and to monitor the fiscal health, performance and governance of cooperatives.
In June 2020, the Lieutenant-Governor in Council issued an Order in Council (OIC) extending the legislated deadlines in many pieces of provincial legislation because the restrictions under the emergency order did not allow for the deadlines to be met. Included in the OIC was an extension allowing cooperatives to hold their Annual General Meetings (AGMs) within 90 days after the state of emergency ended. The state of emergency referenced in the OIC was lifted on July 30, 2021, thereby requiring cooperatives to hold their AGMs by October 29, 2021 so long as they comply with the latest public health guidelines. They must also submit their filings 30 days following their AGM.
The new Mandatory Order of September 25, 2021 concerning the declaration of a state of emergency on September 24, 2021 does not extend any deadlines or time periods. As a result, the timelines above remain.
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.
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.
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:
- 31-533: Relief in Respect of Client Focused Reforms Relationship Disclosure Information Provisions of NI 31-103
The Consumer Affairs Division is following normal licensing processes. If you have any questions regarding the licensing/registration process for Direct Sellers, Mortgage Brokers, Real Estate, Pre-Arranged Funeral Providers, Collection & Debt Settlement Services, Cost of Credit Disclosure & Payday Loans, Auctioneers, or Credit Reporting, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.