Title: Commercial law


Kenneth E. Burns



Kenneth Burns

Firm: Lawson Lundell LLP
Address:Suite 1600 Cathedral Place
925 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6C 3L2
Email:Send an Email
Local Time:Wed. 20:36
Web site: Direct Page


Ken practices exclusively in the firm’s pension and employee benefits law practice group. He advises pension and benefit plan sponsors on a range of legal and regulatory issues affecting their plans. He advises on pension plan governance and compliance monitoring projects, regulatory applications and the handling of pension disputes. He works with managers in the drafting and maintenance of pension documents, including plan texts, trust declarations, statements of investment policies, as well as investment manager and other service provider contracts. Ken is frequently involved in assisting parties in mergers and acquisitions on the pension and benefits issues arising in the course of planning and executing their transactions.

Recognition and Ranking
* Best Lawyers in Canada: Employee Benefits Law Lawyer of the Year 2014 for Vancouver
* Chambers Global: recognized in the Pensions & Benefits (Canada) category


Languages: English


Areas of Practice


Main Focus: Pension & Employee Benefits

  • Employee Benefits
  • Pension & Benefit Plans


Professional Career


Significant Accomplishments

* Acting for the board of a public sector multi-employer pension plan in negotiations with government over changes to legislation governing the plan
* Acting for a mining company in the design and set up of new pension and benefit plans prior to the opening of operations in northern Canada
* Chairing a client company's pension committee, and providing professional oversight for several of the company's pension plans
* Setting up pension governance and legislative compliance monitoring systems for various clients
* Representing a multi-employer pension board in litigation to recover withdrawal liability obligations of a former participating employer
* Assisting a forest products company in negotiating the pension and benefits disclosure requirements in a complex lending agreement
* Negotiating pension and benefit terms in corporate mergers and acquisitions on behalf of numerous large and small clients
* Helping a financial institutions set up a program to offer tax-free savings accounts to the public
* Drafting submissions to pension regulators on behalf of numerous clients
* Advising on and setting up letters of credit to secure supplemental pension plans for various employers
* Setting up retirement compensation arrangements for employers in the forest, mining and retail industries
* Advising a US airline and a US mining company on ways to best mirror 401(k) plans for employers in Canada
* Drafting an opinion to a forestry company on best practices in winding down a pension plan
* Helping a Canadian multi-national company establish a savings plan for expatriate employees
* Drafting template custodial documents for a trust company
* Negotiating funding relief for a plan sponsor with the federal pension regulator
* Assisting an energy company in selecting and moving its pension fund to a new pension fund holder
* Assisting a consortium of pension funds in joint investments in private equity funds
* Drafting statements of investment policies and procedures for an insurance company's defined contribution plan
* Advising a US head office on the oversight of its Canadian subsidiary's pension obligations
* Drafting and amending pension trust agreements for various employers and multi-employer plan boards of trustees
* Advising a mining company on the implementation of phased retirement provisions in its pension plan

Professional Associations

* Canadian Bar Association, Pension and Benefits Section, 2011-2012 National Executive Member
* Canadian Bar Association; B.C. Pension and Benefits Section, Past Section Chair (3 termsAssociation of Canadian Pension Management British Columbia * Regional Council, 2012 Chair and National Policy Committee Member
* Association of Canadian Pension Management, Chair of 2013 National Conference Committee
* International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, Member
* International Pension and Employee Benefits Lawyers’ Association, Member
* Canadian Pension and Benefits Institute, Member


"Securities Portfolio Monitoring And Class Action Recovery For Canadian Institutional Investors", Benefits and Pensions Monitor, Volume 23, Number 1 (February 2013), Co-author with Mark McNair

"British Columbia's New Pension Benefits Standards Act - Key Changes", Taxation of Executive Compensation and Retirement, Federated Press, Volume 23, No. 7 (October 12, 2012), Co-author

"To Fund or Not to Fund for Solvency - Who Gets the Breaks?", Pension Planning, Federated Press, Volume XVI, No. 2 (May 12, 2011), Co-Author


Association of Canadian Pension Management National Conference, Ottawa, ON (September 10 - 12, 2013), Conference Chair

"Target Benefit Plans and other Hybrid Arrangements", International Pension and Employee Benefit Lawyers Association (IPEBLA) Conference, Rome (May 24 - 29, 2013), Speaker

"Legal/Legislative Developments Across Canada", International Foundation (IF) Conference, Prince Edward Island (May 9, 2013), Speaker

"The Indalex Supreme Court Decision and Implications for Actuaries", Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) (May 7, 2013), Webcast

"British Columbia’s bcIMC:Its Important Role in Markets and the Broader Society", British Columbia Regional Council Event, The Association of Canadian Pension Management, Vancouver, BC (February 19, 2013), Moderator

"Latest Developments in Pensions – PRPPs, Regulatory Initiatives, Pension Design Innovations and other Trends", 2012 ACPM National Conference, The Association of Canadian Pension Management, Victoria, BC (September 12, 2012), Moderator

"Pension Reform: Western Canada Update", PD Program, Canadian Bar Association National Pensions and Benefits Law Section (October 25, 2011), Speaker

"Understanding Your Investment Management Contract", 44th Annual Canadian Employee Benefits Conference, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, Vancouver, BC (September 11-14, 2011), Speaker

"Employment Benefits Generally", Pensions & Benefits: Critical Issues and What's Often Overlooked, Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC (May 25, 2011), Speaker

“Recent Developments in Pension Plan Law and ACPM Advocacy Initiatives”, Association of Canadian Pension Management BC Council Spring Session, Vancouver BC (April 2011), Moderator

Bar Admission

British Columbia (1998)
Northwest Territories (2000)
Alberta (2006)



University of Western Ontario (B.A., 1990);
McGill University (M.B.A., 1994);
University of Western Ontario (LL.B., 1997).