How to transfer the value of your benefits
The following information will be useful if you want to transfer benefits from your defined contribution pension plan
What are the conditions that apply to transfers?
To be entitled to transfer the amounts credited to your account, you must no longer be an active member of the pension plan. That is usually the case if you have left or lost your job.
Exceptions to the rule
Generally, you are not entitled to transfer the amounts credited to your account if one of the following situations applies:
- You are receiving a pension under the plan.
- You continue to work for the same employer and participate in another, connected plan offered by the employer.1
- For the two plans to be connected, the plans must contain specific provisions to that effect. To find out if that is the case, contact the plan administrator.
You can apply for a transfer of the amounts credited to your account at the following times:
- within 90 days following receipt of your statement of cessation of active membership, if you are more than 10 years away from the normal retirement age under the plan (for example, if you are under 55 and the normal retirement age is 65)
- thereafter, once every 5 years, within 90 days following the anniversary of the date on which your active membership ceased
- at any time, if you are 10 years or less from the normal retirement age or if you are over the retirement age (for example, if you are under 55 and the normal retirement age is 65)
A plan can be more generous and provide, for example, that you can apply for a transfer at any time, regardless of your age when your active plan membership ceases. Consult the summary of your plan for the rules that apply to you.
When informed that your active membership has ceased, the plan administrator has 60 days to send you your statement of cessation of active membership. The statement will show the value and nature of the amounts credited to your account.
A helpful example...
David turned 47 years old when his active plan membership ends, on 31 January 2020. He receives a statement of cessation of active plan membership from the plan administrator on 15 March 2020. The normal retirement age under the plan is 65.
David can apply for a transfer of the balance of his account at the following times:
- between 16 March 2020 and 13 June 2020 (age 47)
- between 1 February 2025 and 1 May 2025 (age 52)
- at any time as of age 55
Your application for a transfer must be made to the administrator of your plan. Do you know how to reach the administrator? Your statement of cessation of active membership gives the plan adminstrator's address and the name and address of the person you should contact for information. Your can also use our online service Pension plans supervised by Retraite Québec.
Under a defined contribution pension plan, you can transfer all the sums credited to your account:
- the employer contributions with interest
- your member contributions with interest, if you had to contribute
- your additional voluntary contributions, if any
- sums transferred to the plan, with interest, if any transfers were made
You decide where the sums credited to your account will be transferred.
You have the following transfer options :
- a locked-in retirement account (LIRA)
- a life income fund (LIF)
- a deferred or immediate life annuity contract purchased from an insurer
- your new employer's pension plan (if transfers can be received under the plan's provisions)
- an RRSP or a registered retirement income fund (RRIF) for any sums that can be directly refunded to you
The sums credited to your account can be left in the plan's pension fund (unless the plan is terminated). However, such sums will have to be converted into retirement income no later than 31 December of the year in which you reach age 71.
In some situations, you can receive a cash refund. Your plan must provide for certain refunds; others may be offered as options.
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