Canada Pension Plan - Overview

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1. Overview

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) provides contributors and their families with partial replacement of earnings in the case of retirement, disability or death. Almost all individuals who work in Canada outside Quebec contribute to the CPP.

If you have lived or are living outside Canada, you may qualify for a pension from that country as well.

The CPP operates throughout Canada, except in Quebec, where the Québec Pension Plan (QPP) provides similar benefits. The CPP and QPP work together to ensure that all contributors are protected, no matter where they live. Please contact Retraite Québec for information on pensions and benefits under the QPP if one of the following applies to you:

  • you have only worked in Quebec;
  • you worked in Quebec and at least one other province/territory and currently reside in Quebec; or
  • you worked in Quebec and at least one other province/territory, you currently reside outside of Canada and your last province/territory of residence in Canada was Quebec.

If you have contributed to both the CPP and QPP, you must apply for the QPP if you live in Quebec or for the CPP if you live elsewhere in Canada. Please note that you do not have to apply to both plans. Your benefit will be paid by the plan according to your place of residence. The benefit amount you will be paid will take into consideration all contributions made to both plans.

  • Retirement pension
    You can apply for and receive a full CPP retirement pension at age 65. You can also receive it as early as age 60 with a permanent reduction, or as late as age 70 with a permanent increase.
  • Post-retirement benefit
    If you continue to work while receiving your CPP retirement pension, and are under age 70, you can continue to contribute to the CPP. Your CPP contributions will go toward post-retirement benefits, which will increase your retirement income.
  • Disability benefits
    If you are under age 65 and become severely disabled to the extent that you cannot work at any job on a regular basis, you may receive a monthly benefit.
  • Survivor's pension
    When you die, a pension may be paid to your surviving spouse or common-law partner.
  • Death benefit
    If you die and are a CPP contributor, the Death benefit provides a one-time payment to (or on behalf of) your estate.
  • Children's benefits
    If you die or become severely disabled and made sufficient CPP contributions, the CPP Children's benefits provides monthly payments to your dependent children.

The provisions of the CPP include:

  • Pension sharing
    If you are married or have a common-law spouse, you may voluntarily share CPP retirement pensions with your spouse.
  • Credit splitting for divorced or separated couples
    The CPP contributions you and your spouse or common-law partner made during the time you lived together can be equally divided after a divorce or separation.
  • Child rearing provisions
    If you stopped working or have lower earnings while you raise your children, you may be able to use the CPP’s child-rearing provisions to increase your CPP benefits.
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