Death and the definition of "spouse"

The definition of "spouse" varies from one program to another and often determines whether your spouse is eligible for a pension or a benefit.

Find out the definition that applies to :

The Québec Pension Plan

Your spouse was the person to whom you were married, in a civil union or in a de facto (common law) union.

Your de facto (common law) spouse was the person to whom you were not married or in a civil union but with whom you lived in a conjugal relationship for:

  • at least 3 years
    or
  • 1 year if a child has been or is to be born of your union or if you have adopted a child

Family Allowance 

Your spouse was the person to whom you were married, in a civil union or in a de facto (common law) union.

Your de facto (common law) spouse was the person to whom you were not married or in a civil union but with whom you lived in a conjugal relationship:

  • for at least 12 months (A separation of less than 90 days does not interrupt the 12-month period.)
    or
  • who was the biological or adoptive parent of at least one of your children

Supplemental pension plans, LIRAs and LIFs, that are subject to the Supplemental Pension Plans Act

Your spouse is the person to whom you are married, in a civil union or in a de facto (common law) union.

Your de facto (common law) spouse is the person to whom you are not married or in a civil union but with whom you have been living in a conjugal relationship for:

  • at least 3 years
    or
  • 1 year if a child has been or is to be born of your union or if you have adopted a child

If you are a member of a supplemental pension plan or you have a locked-in retirement account (LIRA) or a life income fund (LIF), a de facto relationship cannot be recognized if you are married to, or in a civil union with, another person. However, this restriction does not apply to your de facto spouse, who can be married to or in a civil union with another person.

Legal separation (separation from bed and board)
You are still considered to be married even if you are legally separated. In that case, a de facto spouse will not be recognized.

Furthermore, the spouse from whom you are legally separated will not be recognized as your spouse by your supplemental pension plan or by the administrator of your locked-in retirement account (LIRA) or your life income fund (LIF).

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