Ontario Government Simplifying Financial Hardship Unlocking Process. Ontario is making it easier for people who need to access their locked-in retirement funds by restructuring its financial hardship unlocking program.
Beginning January 1, 2014, individuals can apply directly to their financial institution for financial hardship withdrawals, rather than to the Superintendent of Financial Services.
As well, the government is reducing the amount of evidence required to authorize a withdrawal, and the asset test that determines how much can be unlocked from an account will be replaced with a maximum withdrawal limit.
Providing the people of Ontario with easier access to these funds in times of financial hardship is part of the government’s plan to support a fair society and help people in their everyday lives.
- Locked-in funds are amounts transferred from an Ontario registered pension plan into an Ontario locked-in account (Locked-In Retirement Accounts, Life Income Funds and Locked-In Retirement Income Funds) where they are held to provide income in retirement.
- The restructuring of the financial hardship unlocking program was a commitment in the 2012 Budget.
- The seven criteria under which an applicant can apply for financial hardship unlocking will be consolidated into four: rental or mortgage arrears, medical expenses, payment of first and last month’s rent and low income.
- An individual will not be able to make more than one application under each of the four financial hardship criteria per year.
Ministry of Finance, June 24, 2013