Pooled Registered Pension Plans Glossary




The Registered Plans Directorate’s Pooled Registered Pension Plan (PRPP) Glossary is provided for information purposes only. It is a plain language explanation for terms used in our forms and does not replace the law, either enacted or proposed. The information contained in the glossary at the time of publication was accurate. Updates and amendments will be made to the glossary as needed to reflect changes in the Income Tax Act (ITA) and Income Tax Regulations (ITR) or its interpretation.




Subsection 147.5(1) of the ITA defines an administrator as either a corporation resident in Canada that has been authorized under the Pooled Registered Pension Plans Act (PRPPA) or similar law of province; or an entity designated under section 21 of the PRPPA or any provision of a law of a province similar to that section. The administrator must ensure that the PRPP meets the obligations under both the PRPPA or a similar law of a province and the ITA at all times.

Arm’s length

(Lien de dépendance)

Subsection 251(1) of the ITA describes persons who are deemed not to be dealing at arm's length. Certain individuals connected by blood relationship, marriage, common-law partnership, or adoption are related persons as defined in subsection 251(2) of the ITA and are therefore deemed not to deal at arm's length. Persons who have control of the corporation are considered not to deal at arm's length with the corporation. Corporations that are connected by the same controller ownership are also considered to be related. For more information, see section 251 of the ITA and Income Tax Folio S1-F5-C1, Related persons and dealing at arm’s length.

Authorized officer

(Signataire autorisé)

An authorized officer is an employee of the corporate administrator who has been given the authority and responsibility for administering the plan in accordance with the relevant Acts.


Certified copies

(Copies certifiées)

When it is not convenient or possible to submit original documents, copies of the documents that have been certified by the authorized officer will be accepted. The Registered Plans Directorate will also accept photocopies of certain original documents. If you send in photocopies, you must make the documents with original signatures available to us if we ask for them.

Contribution to a PRPP

(Cotisation à un RPAC)

A contribution is a payment into a PRPP. Only the plan member or the plan members’ employer or former employer can contribute to the plan. Generally, employer and employee contributions are deductible from their respective incomes and will be reflected in the member’s unused RRSP deduction limit. In addition, transfers from member’s accounts in other PRPPs, registered retirement savings plans, registered retirement income funds, deferred profit sharing plans, registered pension plans and specified pension plans are permissible under the ITA.


Deferred profit sharing plan

(Régime de participation différée aux bénéfices)

A deferred profit sharing plan is a deferred income plan that offers benefits to employees after they are no longer employed by the employer and to which only the participating employers may contribute amounts (calculated using a formula that is based on profits). Funds must be paid out or transferred within 90 days of the member leaving either the employer or the plan and by the end of the year in which the employee turns 71.

Deposit-taking institution

(Institution de dépôt)

A deposit-taking institution is a bank, trust company, credit union (caisse populaire) or other financial institution that accepts deposits from the public and provides regular banking services.

Designated pooled pension plans

(Régime de pension collectif désigné)

A designated pooled pension plan (DPPP) is defined in the ITA to be a pooled pension plan (PPP) that at any time in a calendar year: has fewer than 10 participating employers (except in the year of registration); holds more than half of its property by fair market value for employees of a single employer; or has a plan membership that is concentrated with a single employer (that is, more than 50% of plan members work for a single employer).

Distributions from a PRPP

(Distributions provenant d’un RPAC)

A distribution from a PRPP is any payment out of the member’s account. This would include a payment of benefits, or a return of contributions to the respective member or employer that were paid in error, and are returned in order to avoid revocation or to reduce the amount of tax payable under Part X.1 of the ITA by the member. If benefits are paid as a single amount, they may be used to purchase a qualifying annuity or transferred to another registered product in accordance with subsection 147.5(21) of the ITA.


Funding arrangement

(Mécanisme de financement)

A funding arrangement is the vehicle used to hold the funds deposited into member accounts by members and/or their employers. A PRPP must be funded through: a contract for insurance with a Canadian insurance company, a trust in Canada governed by a written trust agreement with a trust company, or an arrangement that is acceptable under the Pooled Registered Pension Plan Act or a similar law of a province. More information can be found in Information Circular IC13-1R1, Pooled Registered Pension Plans.


Insurance company

(Société d’assurance)

An insurance company is a financial institution that insures risks.



Clients may ask the Registered Plans Directorate for our opinion about how we interpret a particular section of the ITA. Requests for interpretations can be addressed to:

Registered Plans Directorate
Canada Revenue Agency
Ottawa ON K1A 0L5




A member is an individual (other than a trust) who holds an account under a PRPP and can make contributions.

Members may include self-employed individuals, individuals whose employers or former employers participate in the PRPP and individuals whose employers do not participate in the PRPP.

Minimum amount


The PRPP becomes revocable if a minimum amount is not paid from it each year. The minimum amount is calculated by the formula A x B. Element A is the balance in the member’s PRPP account at the beginning of the year. Element B is the factor determined based on the member’s age or if the member elects, the age of the member’s spouse or common-law partner for the year. The minimum amount is nil in the year if the individual is alive at the beginning of the year and had not reached 71 years of age at the end of the preceding calendar year.


Participating employer

(Employeur participant)

A participating employer is an employer that makes contributions to the PRPP in respect of its employees or an employer who remits employee contributions to the administrator under a contract.

Pension benefits supervisory authorities

(Organismes de réglementation en matière de pension)

Pension benefits supervisory authorities are the federal and provincial bodies that administer the Pooled Registered Pension Plan Act or a similar law of a province. All pension benefits supervisory authorities are members of the Canadian Association of Pension Supervisory Authorities (CAPSA). The CAPSA membership list is available here.

Permissible benefits

(Prestations permises)

Subsection 147.5(5) of the ITA allows two permissible benefits – variable benefits or the payment of a single amount. Variable benefits paid to the member, or after the member’s death to a successor member, are annual payments from the member’s account subject to a yearly minimum amount. A single amount can be paid to the member at any time, or to a successor member, qualifying survivor or the member’s estate when the member dies.

Pooled pension plan

(Régime de pension collectif)

A pooled pension plan is a plan that is registered under the Pooled Registered Pension Plan Act or a similar law of a province.

Pooled pension plan administrator

(Administrateur d'un régime de pension collectif)

See Administrator.

Pooled Registered Pension Plan

(Régime de pension agréé collectif)

A pooled registered pension plan is a plan that has been registered under the Pooled Registered Pension Plan Act or a similar law of a province and has been accepted for registration by the Minister of National Revenue for the purposes of the ITA and registration has not been revoked.


Qualifying annuity

(Rente admissible)

A qualifying annuity is an annuity purchased from a licensed annuities provider with the member’s PRPP account assets. The annuity is payable either for the individual’s life or for the joint lives of the individual and his or her spouse or common law partner. Payments will begin the later of the end of the year in which the individual turns 71 and the year in which the annuity is acquired. The annuity is paid in equal periodic amounts at least annually. If the annuity includes a guarantee period, it must not exceed 15 years. The annuity must not permit any premiums to be paid, other than the premium from the PRPP to acquire the annuity.

Qualifying survivor

(Survivant admissible)

A qualifying survivor in relation to a member of a PRPP, means an individual who, immediately before the member’s death was a spouse or common-law partner of the member, or was a child or grandchild of the member who was financially dependent on the member.


Registered pension plan

(Régime de pension agréé)

A registered pension plan (RPP) is an arrangement by an employer or a union to offer pensions to retired employees in the form of periodic payments. There are deductions for both employee and employer contributions under the ITA. Contributions and investment earnings are not taxed until benefits start to be paid.

Registered retirement income fund

(Fonds enregistré de revenue de retraite)

A registered retirement income fund (RRIF) is an arrangement between an individual and a carrier (an insurance company, a trust company or a bank) under which payments are made to the individual of a minimum amount each year. The minimum amount must start to be paid to the individual in the year after the year the RRIF is entered into. Earnings in a RRIF are tax-free and amounts paid out of a RRIF are taxable when they are received.

Registered retirement savings plan

(Régime enregistré d’épargne retraite)

A registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) is an arrangement between an individual and an issuer (an insurance company, a trust company or a bank) under which retirement income starts at maturity. Contributions are made by individuals and are deductible under the ITA. Earnings in the plan are tax-free and payments out of an RRSP are taxable when they are received.

Restricted investment

(Placements non admissibles)

The definition of restricted investment in relation to a PRPP is found in subsection 147.5(1) of the ITA.


(Retrait de l'agrément)

Revocation is the cancellation of the registration of a PRPP under the ITA. The administrator may voluntarily submit a request to the Minister of National Revenue to revoke the plan. If, however, the plan is not administered as registered, the plan does not comply with the conditions of registration, or if the registration of the plan is revoked or refused under the Pooled Registered Pension Plans Act or similar law of province, then the Minister of National Revenue may begin the revocation process under subsection 147.5(24) of the ITA.


Single amount

(Montant unique)

A PRPP may pay a single amount from the member’s account as a permissible benefit. A single amount is defined in subsection 147.5(1) of the ITA, as any amount that is not part of a series of periodic payments. Single amounts may be transferred to other registered vehicles or used to purchase qualifying annuities in accordance with subsection 147.5(21) of the ITA.  

Specified pension plan

(Régime de pension déterminé)

Currently the only specified pension plan (SPP) is the Saskatchewan Pension Plan.

Successor member

(Participant remplaçant)

A successor member is an individual who was the spouse or common-law partner of a member of a PRPP immediately before the death of the member. They would acquire, as a consequence of the member’s death, all of the member’s rights in respect of the member’s account under the PRPP. This term is defined in subsection 147.5(1) of the ITA.




A plan can be terminated when no new contributions are accepted and all of the money in the members’ accounts has been paid out. The administrator will inform the Minister of National Revenue and the pension benefit supervisory authority of the method and date of asset disbursement in order for the plan to be closed.

True copies of the originals

(Copies conformes des originaux)

See Certified copies.

Trust company

(Société de fiducie)

A trust company is a financial institution that operates under either provincial or federal legislation, and conducts activities similar to those of a bank. However, because of its fiduciary role, a trust company can administer estates, trusts, pension plans and agency contracts, which banks cannot do directly.


Variable benefits

(Prestations variables)

Variable benefits are paid from the member’s account in accordance with paragraph 147.5(5)(a) of the ITA. To be permissible, the variable benefits payable to a member (or successor member) must meet the conditions under paragraph 8506(1)(e.1) of the ITR as though the benefits are provided under a money purchase provision of a registered pension plan. The benefits must be payable for a period ending no later than the end of the calendar year following the year in which the member dies, or the year the successor member dies if they acquired the member’s rights after the member’s death. The amount of variable benefits payable to the member or successor member for each calendar year must be greater than or equal to the minimum amount.

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