Accounting Standards for Pension Plans

Pension Plans


Pension plans and benefit plans that have characteristics like pension plans and provide benefits other than pensions, apply the accounting standards for pension plans in Part IV of the CPA Canada Handbook – Accounting.

These entities are publicly accountable enterprises, but they are required to apply a separate set of Canadian standards rather than IFRS® Standards.

This was determined by the AcSB, as the Board concluded that IAS 26 Accounting and Reporting by Retirement Benefit Plans did not provide adequate guidance for such entities.

The AcSB intends to maintain Part IV until the International Accounting Standards Board replaces IAS 26. Section 4600, Pension Plans, in Part IV of the Handbook refers to either IFRS Standards in Part I of the Handbook, or accounting standards for private enterprises in Part II of the Handbook.

As a result, pension plans should monitor activities related to the standards in Part I or Part II since amendments made to those standards may affect them.

Staff Contact(s)

Nancy Estey, CPA, CA

Principal, Accounting Standards Board

Project Status

  • Information gathering

    Developments in this sector are be monitored to determine when an improvements project should start and for signs that emerging new types of pension plans requiring standard-setting attention are appearing in the private sector

    The AcSB is working with other jurisdictions to advance the collective understanding of global developments in this area

  • Approving project
  • Consulting stakeholders
  • Deliberating feedback
  • Final pronouncement


January 29, 2020

AcSB Decision Summary – January 15, 2020

The AcSB considered feedback on application issues received from stakeholders including actuaries, public practitioners, and preparers from across Canada. The Board discussed available options to address the concerns raised. It directed staff to engage additional stakeholder groups, including users and pension regulators, and to further explore the options discussed.

The AcSB plans to continue its discussions in March 2020.

October 3, 2019

AcSB Decision Summary – September 17-18, 2019

Given issues raised by stakeholders in Quebec on the application of Section 4600, Pension Plans, in Part IV of the CPA Canada Handbook – Accounting, the AcSB approved an outreach plan to understand issues arising from stakeholders.

The AcSB will discuss the priority of potential future projects, including a potential pension plans project, at its December 2019 meeting.

December 12, 2018

AcSB Decision Summary – December 12, 2018

The AcSB received feedback on a recent meeting of a stakeholder group on issues arising from applying Part IV of the Handbook, and it discussed next steps. The Board directed staff to add research activities as part of the Board’s draft 2019-2020 annual plan to understand the nature and extent of issues arising from applying Part IV.


This project summary has been prepared for information purposes only. Decisions reported are tentative and reflect only the current status of discussions on this project, which may change after further Board deliberations. Decisions to publish Handbook material are final only after a formal ballot process.