The ABCs of LIRAs

A locked-in retirement account (LIRA) is a specific type of registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) that functions as a savings instrument for retirement. The amounts in an LIRA originate from a supplemental pension plan or the locked-in account of a voluntary retirement savings plan (VRSP).

Unlike an RRSP...

The funds in an LIRA are locked-in and can only be used to provide a retirement income. Thus, the amounts cannot be withdrawn, except under certain circumstances in which a refund from your LIRA is permitted.

Like an RRSP...

You can hold an LIRA until 31 December of the year in which you reach age 71. Before that date, you can transfer your LIRA to another LIRA, for example, if you change financial institutions. You can also transfer your life income fund (LIF) to an LIRA, in particular when you want to postpone payment of a retirement income.

Consult the list of financial institutions offering LIRAs or LIFs to find out what transfer instruments are available.

If you wish to receive a retirement income

Your LIRA cannot be used to pay you a retirement income. To receive an income, you must transfer your LIRA:

  • either to an LIF;


  • to an insurer for the purchase of a life annuity.

There is no minimum age to make this type of transfer. However, the transfer could be delayed if your investments have not come to maturity at the date you request it. You must make the transfer before the end of the year in which you reach age 71, regardless of when your investments mature.

Other useful information

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