Religious sects and the Canada Pension Plan

Members of religious sects can elect not to contribute to the Canada Pension Plan on self-employed earnings. You will find information on how to proceed for an election not to contribute to Canada Pension Plan on self-employed earnings.

How to obtain certification of a religious sect seeking exemption from coverage under the Canada Pension Plan

A religious sect or a division of a religious sect, may apply for certification as a religious sect or a division of a religious sect, for purposes of elections for exemptions from coverage under the Canada Pension Plan. The authorized spokesman of the religious sect must complete in prescribed form, a CPT17, Certification by an authorized spokesperson of a religious sect concerning exemption from coverage under the Canada Pension Plan.

A religious sect, or a division of a religious sect, can be certified if the sect meets the following conditions:

  • (a) the religious sect is a religious organization that has established tenets and teachings of this sect oppose the acceptance of benefits from any private or public insurance that provides for payments in the event of death, disability, old age or retirement,
  • (b) the religious sect does, as a practice, make provisions for the support of dependent members which is reasonable in view of their general level of living, and
  • (c) the religious sect was in existence in Canada on January 1, 1966 and has been maintaining the tenets, teachings and practices stated in (a) and (b) since that date.

How to obtain an exemption from coverage under the Canada Pension Plan on account of religious beliefs

A member of a religious sect may request a once in a lifetime election not to contribute to Canada Pension Plan on self-employed earnings, by completing Form CPT16, Application for exemption from coverage under the Canada Pension Plan on account of religious beliefs.

If approved by the CRA, the election will come into effect on January 1 of the year in which the election is filed with the CRA.

In order to qualify for such exemption, the following conditions must be met:

  • (a) The person making the election
    • (i) is a member of the religious sect or a division of a religious sect that has been certified,
    • (ii) has been certified as such a member by a spokesman for that sect or division; and
  • (b) The spokesman
    • (i) has been authorized by the sect to certify persons as being members of the sect or division, and
    • (ii) has certified that the sect or division maintains the tenets, teachings and practices outlined in the application for certification (CPT17).

An individual can revoke an election by submitting a request to the tax services office, in writing. Where an individual who has elected not to make a contribution with respect to any year revokes the election, he may not make an election under section 11 of the Canada Pension Plan with respect to any subsequent year.

The election will cease to have effect on January 1 of the calendar year following the day the CRA receives a revocation of the election made in prescribed manner.

Need more information?

To get more information, call 1-800-959-5525.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: