Specimen Plan approvals - RSP & RIF

The following comments and checklists will help you comply with the requirements of the Registered Plans Directorate and the Income Tax Act when preparing specimens for Retirement Savings Plans (RSPs) and Retirement Income Funds (RIFs).

Submitting Documents

Include the following information in your covering letter when you submit a new specimen plan or an amendment to an existing plan:

  • Indicate if you are submitting a new specimen or an amendment to an existing specimen. If you are amending an existing specimen, include the specimen plan number (for example, RSP 0000-000 or RIF 0000).
  • Identify the type of specimen plan (for example, is it an individual, group general, group specific, or combined individual/group plan).
  • Indicate if the specimen plan is self-directed.
  • Specify if there is an agent involved.

Note: All documents (English and French) must be approved by the Registered Plans Directorate before being printed and marketed.

Application Forms

We may accept combined application forms for RSPs and RIFs. We also may accept electronic applications, also known as on-line fillable forms. For more information, you can contact the Registered Plans Directorate.

Changes to the RSP/RIF Application Form

You must advise us of any changes made to the application form by providing us a copy for our records. We must approve the changes to the application form, other than those listed below, before the application form is printed and marketed.

  • changing the logo of the fund management company or investment dealer
  • changing the address, telephone number or fax number of the fund management company or investment dealer, or adding an electronic mail address to the application
  • adding or deleting the name of a fund or investment
  • adding or deleting the commission or fee options available to the applicant
  • adding, amending or deleting the particulars of an automatic re-alignment program
  • adding, amending or deleting the particulars of a pre-authorized chequing plan
  • changing the information required in respect of distributor or sales representative
  • adding, amending or deleting the banking information particulars on the application
  • adding, amending or deleting the particulars of an option to obtain a certificate for mutual fund securities for non-registered accounts on a consolidated application
  • amending the distribution option for non-registered accounts on a consolidated application
  • adding, amending or deleting the particulars of a provision in respect of automatic switches between mutual funds

Definitions used in the Plan, Declaration of Trust or Policy

Annuitant

Annuitant is the only term the Income Tax Act recognizes to describe the individual who receives benefits under the plan. If it is necessary to use another term to describe the annuitant, such as owner, plan holder, policyholder or applicant, this term must be defined in accordance with the definition of annuitant under the Income Tax Act. Any term used to describe the annuitant must be used uniformly throughout the documents.

Common-law partner

When a plan permits spousal/common-law partner contributions, the document must provide a definition of spouse/common-law partner. For more information on common-law partners, go to Frequently Asked Questions.

"Registered " and "RRSP/RRIF"

The terms "registered", "RRSP" and "RRIF" are not acceptable in these documents. These terms can be used only to refer to property that is transferred from or to a registered plan. Individual RSP or RIF contracts are registered when we confirm registration in a letter responding to your registration listing.

RSP issuer and RIF carrier

The RSP issuer or RIF carrier is the insurer, trustee or depositary. The Income Tax Act defines "issuer" in subsection 146(1) and "carrier" in subsection 146.3(1).

Checklist for RSPs and RIFs

Required Documents for RSPs and RIFs

Submitter Required Document(s)

Consultant or Agent

Written authorization for the consultant or agent to act on behalf of the issuer (RSP) or carrier (RIF).

Insurer

Application, Policy (including all riders and schedules) and RSP or RIF Endorsement.

Trustee

Application and Declaration of Trust.

Depositary

Application and Plan Terms or Terms & Conditions.

Administrative Requirements for RSPs and RIFs

RSP Application Form

  • the contract number, name, address, SIN and the DOB of the annuitant
  • the name and SIN of the spouse/common-law partner if a spousal or common-law partner 
    plan is possible
  • the annuitant must request the issuer to apply for registration of the contract
  • the annuitant's signature
  • the issuer's signature

RIF Application Form

  • the contract number, name, address, SIN and the DOB of the annuitant 
  • the name, SIN and DOB of spouse/common-law partner if spouse's age is to be used as the basis for the calculation of the "minimum amount"
  • the name of the spouse/common law partner as subsequent annuitant
  • the annuitant must request the carrier to apply for registration of the contract
  • the annuitant's signature
  • the carrier's signature

Broker

  • a clause stating that the ultimate responsibility for administering the plan or fund lies with the issuer (RSP) or carrier (RIF)

Insured

  • a clause stating that provisions of the RSP/RIF endorsement override the policy

Agent/Broker

  • if applicable, a clause stating that the agent may submit registration listings

Group Plans (RSPs only)

  • a clause stating that only the issuer has the authority to amend the plan
  • a clause stating that the ultimate responsibility for administering the plan lies with the issuer
  • if the plan is an employer sponsored plan, it must only be available to an employee of the employer or their spouse/common-law partner
  • if contributions are by payroll deduction, the application form must authorize the employer to act as the agent for the purpose of contributions

Statutory Requirements for RSPs

ITA Reference

Statutory Requirement

146(2)(a)

The plan cannot provide for payment of any benefit before maturity except a refund of premiums and a payment to the annuitant.

146(2)(b)

The RSP cannot provide for the payment of any benefit after maturity except:

(i) retirement income to the annuitant;

(ii) full or partial commutation of retirement income under the plan to the annuitant; and

(iii) commutation of annuity that would be payable to someone other than the annuitant.

146(2)(b.1)

Retirement income (including the remaining portion after partial commutation) must be provided in equal annual or more frequent payments. Any exception to “equal” must meet subsection 146(3).

146(2)(b.2)

No increase in payments after death of the first annuitant.

146(2)(b.3)

No premium after maturity (may be silent).

146(2)(b.4)

The plan must mature no later than the end of year that the annuitant turns age 71.

146(2)(c)

Retirement income/annuity is not assignable.

146(2)(c.1)

Plan provides for payment to the taxpayer to reduce tax otherwise payable under Part X.1 of the Income Tax Act.

146(2)(c.2)

The annuity must be commuted if paid to anyone other than an annuitant under the plan.

146(2)(c.3)

If a depositary is involved, the plan documents must stipulate that no right of offset is allowed and that property held in the plan cannot be pledged, assigned or any way alienated as security for a loan.

Statutory Requirements for RIFs

ITA Reference

Statutory Requirement

146.3(2)(a)

The carrier shall make only those payments described in paragraphs 146.3(2)(d), 146.3(2)(e), subsections 146.3(14) and (14.1) and the definition of "retirement income fund" as per subsection 146.3(1) of the Income Tax Act.

146.3(2)(b)

No assignment of payments, in whole or in part.

146.3(2)(c)(i)

If a depositary is involved, there must be a clause stating no right of offset with respect to property.

146.3(2)(c)(ii)

If a depositary is involved, there must be a clause stipulating that property cannot be pledged, assigned or in any way alienated as security for a loan.

146.3(2)(d)

On death, if the spouse or common-law partner does not become the annuitant under the fund, then the distribution of the fund must be in single lump sum.

146.3(2)(e)

The carrier can transfer all or a part of the property held in the fund (not including the minimum amount for the year) to another carrier.

146.3(2)(e.1)

For depositary or insured funds or pre-1998 trusts that do not hold an annuity contract as a qualified investment, the carrier must ensure that the minimum amount is paid to the annuitant in the year of transfer.

146.3(2)(e.2)

For trusts that are not described in 146.3(2)(e.1), the carrier must ensure that the minimum amount is paid to the annuitant in the year of transfer.

146.3(2)(f)

Property that can be transferred into a fund is any combination of subparagraph 146.3(2)(f)(i) to (viii) of the Income Tax Act.

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