Information for the Canada Pension Plan Retirement Application

You may wish to print this page for future reference as it contains important information.

This page provides step-by-step information on how to complete the online application for a Canada Pension Plan (CPP) retirement pension. You can receive your pension anytime after the month of your 60th birthday.

For information on Canada's public pensions and for help estimating how much income you may need for your retirement, according to your personal financial situation, you can use the Canadian Retirement Income Calculator.

For more information

To learn more about Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security Program and Service Canada online services, please visit Service Canada Web site.

In Canada and the United States, call
English: 1-800-277-9914
French: 1-800-277-9915
TTY: 1-800-255-4786
From all other countries: 613-990-2244 (we accept collect calls)

(Please have your Social Insurance Number ready when you call.)

This page contains general information concerning the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) retirement pension. If there are any differences between what is in this page and the CPP legislation, the legislation is always right.

Note: Help is also provided at the top of each step where applicable.

Proof of birth

You do not need to provide proof of birth with your Signature Page. However, the Canada Pension Plan has the right to request proof of birth at any time, when considered necessary.

Direct Deposit

You can sign up for direct deposit by completing Step 4. Here is an example of a cheque that identifies the information we need:

An image of a voided cheque showing pertinent information as described below.

Cheque number: If you use personalized cheques, the first set of numbers is your three-digit personal cheque number. Do not enter this number.

Branch number: The second set of numbers on personalized cheques, or the first set of numbers on non-personalized cheques, is your five-digit branch number. Enter this number in the first entry field.

Institution number: The next set of numbers is your three-digit institution number. Enter this number in the second entry field.

Account number: The last set of numbers is your bank account number. The number of digits varies depending on the financial institution. Enter your account number in the third entry field.

When do you want your pension to start?

You can begin receiving your retirement pension anytime after turning 60 years of age.

Reduced pension: from age 60 to age 65

Your retirement pension is reduced by a set percentage for each month before age 65 that you choose to begin receiving it. This reduction is permanent.

From 2012 to 2016, the amount of this reduction will gradually increase from 0.52% to 0.6% per month. This means that if you start receiving your retirement pension in 2016 at age 60, it will be 36% less than if you had taken it at 65. The reduction percentage that is in effect the year your retirement pension commences remains in effect for as long as you receive the benefit, and will not change. Your pension may increase each year based on changes in the Consumer Price Index.

Year % of monthly reduction Maximum reduction
(if pension is taken at age 60)
2012 0.52 31.2%
2013 0.54 32.4%
2014 0.56 33.6%
2015 0.58 34.8%
2016 0.60 36%

Your retirement pension starts the month after you submit your application (or at a later date, if you indicate one on your application). The earliest you can begin receiving it is the month after your 60th birthday.

Full pension: at age 65

If you start receiving your pension at age 65, you will get the full pension amount you are entitled to receive, based on your earnings and contributions. Your pension will start the month after your 65th birthday.

Increased pension: after the age of 65

Your retirement pension is increased by a set percentage for each month after age 65 that you delay receiving it, until age 70.

From 2012 to 2013, the amount of this increase will gradually rise from 0.64% to 0.7% per month. This means that if you start receiving your CPP retirement pension in 2013 at age 70, it will be 42% more than if you had taken it at 65.

Year % of monthly increase Maximum increase
(if pension is taken at age 70)
2012 0.64 38.4%
2013 0.70 42%

If you are applying after your 65th birthday, you can choose to receive retroactive pension payments, but they cannot begin earlier than the month after your 65th birthday. In general, we can make retroactive payments of CPP benefits for up to 12 months (11 months plus the month you apply).

If you delay applying for your CPP retirement pension after you turn 70, you risk losing benefits. There is no financial benefit in delaying your pension after age 70.

How to decide when to take your retirement pension

The decision is yours, and depends on your personal circumstances. You should consider the following:

  • how much and how long you have paid into the CPP so far;
  • your other retirement income;
  • if you have a company pension plan (check with your employer to see if it will be affected by your CPP pension);
  • whether or not you will work after the age of 60;
  • your current health and family health history; and
  • your retirement plans.

You should carefully consider your personal situation when deciding when to start your CPP retirement pension.

The Canada Pension Plan's Post-Retirement Benefit

You may be eligible for a Post-Retirement Benefit if you are 60 to 70 years of age and you are working or return to work in Canada (outside Quebec) while receiving a retirement pension from the Canada Pension Plan or Quebec Pension Plan.

The Post-Retirement Benefit will allow you to increase your retirement income even if you are already receiving the maximum Canada Pension Plan pension amount. It is a secure monthly benefit that will rise with increases in the cost of living and be payable for the rest of your life.

You do not need to apply for the Post-Retirement Benefit. If you are eligible, it will be paid to you automatically.

For each year that you make a valid contribution to the Canada Pension Plan while receiving your retirement pension, you become eligible for a new Post-Retirement Benefit the following January. Like the Canada Pension Plan retirement pension, the amount of each Post-Retirement Benefit will depend on your level of earnings, the amount of Canada Pension Plan contributions you made during the previous year, and your age as of the effective date of the Post-Retirement Benefit.

Each new Post-Retirement Benefit will be added to any previously earned Post-Retirement Benefits and to any other Canada Pension Plan benefits to which you are entitled.

Contributions to the Post-Retirement Benefit are mandatory for working CPP retirement pension recipients under age 65 and their employers. If you are self-employed, you will have to contribute both the employee and employer portions.

If you work in the same year that your retirement pension begins, we will determine which portion of that year's contributions will go toward the retirement pension and which portion, if any, will go toward the Post-Retirement Benefit.

If you are at least 65 years of age, you can choose not to contribute. At age 70, you are no longer able to contribute. To find out more about how to stop contributing to the CPP, visit the Canada Revenue Agency Web site or call 1-800-959-8281.

Contributions to the Post-Retirement Benefit do not create eligibility for, or increase the amount of, other Canada Pension Plan benefits, and a Post-Retirement Benefit cannot be divided with a former spouse (credit splitting) or shared with a current spouse (pension sharing).

For more information on the Post-Retirement Benefit, please visit our Web site at Service Canada.

If you work in Quebec while receiving a Canada Pension Plan or Quebec Pension Plan retirement pension, you can contact the Régie des rentes du Québec to find out more about contributions to the Quebec Pension Plan retirement pension supplement or call 1-800-463-5185.


When to apply

We suggest that you apply about six months before you want your pension to start.

Children born after 1958

If you have children born after 1958, the child-rearing provision may help you receive a higher Canada Pension Plan benefit amount. The amount of benefits paid under the Canada Pension Plan is based on how long and how much you contributed to the Plan while you were working, and, in some cases, your age when your benefit begins. Periods of time when you had no or low earnings, usually result in a lower benefit amount.

If you were not working or had low earnings while caring for a child under the age of seven, the child-rearing provision can be used to exclude these time periods from the calculation of your benefit. This may help you qualify for benefits or increase the benefit amount you can receive.

To qualify for the child-rearing provision:

  • you must have either not worked or had low earnings while being the primary caregiver* of a child under the age of seven who was born after December 31, 1958;
  • you or your spouse/common-law partner must have received Family Allowance payments or been eligible** for the Canada Child Tax Benefit (even if you did not receive the benefit); and
  • you must provide proof of birth for each child listed, if a Social Insurance Number is not provided. If a child was born outside Canada, proof of the child's entry into Canada must be provided as well.

* The primary caregiver is the person who spent the most time caring for the daily needs of the child such as supervision, preparation of meals, school attendance, doctor appointments, etc.

** If you were the primary caregiver of a child and did not receive the Canada Child Tax Benefit only because your family income was too high, you are considered to have been eligible for the Canada Child Tax Benefit.

Family Allowance

The Family Allowance program (commonly referred to as the "baby bonus") paid a monthly cheque to parents or guardians of dependent children under the age of 18. In most families, payments were issued to the mother. The Family Allowance program was replaced by the Canada Child Tax Benefit in 1993.

Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB)

The Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) is a monthly benefit administered by the Canada Revenue Agency. The amount of the CCTB is based on your net family income, the number of children you have, and the ages of your children. You might have been considered eligible for the CCTB even if you did not receive it. For more information about the CCTB, please contact the Canada Revenue Agency.

Waiver of rights to the child-rearing provision

If you remained at home to care for a child under age seven but your spouse received Family Allowance payments, your spouse can waive their rights in your favour. This means your spouse foregoes his or her rights to the child-rearing provision, since it cannot be used by both you and your spouse for the same time periods and the same children. To waive his or her rights, your spouse has to complete and sign the child rearing waiver on the Signature Page.

Please note if your spouse or common-law partner received Canada Child Tax Benefit payments but you were actually the primary caregiver of the child, you may be eligible for the child-rearing provision. To be considered, you will need to provide a letter from the Canada Revenue Agency indicating that you would have been eligible for the Canada Child Tax Benefit while you were the primary caregiver for the child. If this situation applies, please contact the Canada Revenue Agency for more information about obtaining this letter.

Disability

You may be eligible to receive a CPP disability benefit if:

  • you are under the age of 65;
  • you have earned a specified minimum amount and contributed to the CPP while working for a minimum number of years; and
  • you are deemed disabled, as defined by the CPP legislation, before the effective date of your retirement pension.

If this applies to you and you have been receiving your CPP retirement pension for less than 15 months, please contact us as soon as possible for more information.

If you meet the above criteria and are granted a disability benefit, you must make a written request to cancel your retirement pension in favour of the disability benefit.

Any retirement pension payments you have already received may be deducted from your disability benefit. For more information on the CPP disability benefit, contact us to order the brochure called Disability Benefits - Canada Pension Plan, or visit the Service Canada Web site.

Taxes and your pension

Your Canada Pension Plan (CPP) retirement pension is taxable. We will not deduct income tax from your monthly payment unless you request it. Once we have approved your pension, we will send you a letter stating the amount of your pension. It will give you information on how to ask for income tax to be deducted. You may also obtain the tax deduction request form on the Service Canada Web site and mail it with your signature page.

Certified photocopies of original documents

It is better to send certified photocopies of documents rather than the originals. If you choose to send original documents, send them by registered mail. We will return the original documents to you.

We can only accept a photocopy of an original document if it is legible and if it is a certified true copy of the original. Our staff at any Service Canada Centre will photocopy your documents and certify them free of charge. If you cannot visit a Service Canada Centre, you can ask one of the following people to certify your photocopy:

  • Accountant
  • Chief of First Nations Band
  • Employee of Service Canada acting in an official capacity
  • Funeral Director
  • Justice of the Peace
  • Lawyer
  • Magistrate
  • Manager of a Financial Institution
  • Medical and Health Practitioners: Chiropractor, Dentist, Doctor, Ophthalmologist,Optometrist, Pharmacist, Psychologist, Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nurse,
  • Member of Parliament or their staff
  • Member of Provincial Legislature or their staff
  • Minister of Religion
  • Municipal clerk
  • Notary
  • Official of a federal government department or provincial government department, or one of its agencies
  • Official of an Embassy, Consulate or High Commission
  • Police Officer
  • Postmaster
  • Professional Engineer
  • Social Worker
  • Teacher

People who certify photocopies must compare the original document to the photocopy, state their official position or title, sign and print their name, give their telephone number and indicate the date they certified the document.

They must also write the following statement on the photocopy: This photocopy is a true copy of the original document which has not been altered in any way.

If a document has information on both sides, both sides must be photocopied and certified. You cannot certify photocopies of your own documents and you cannot ask a relative to do it for you.

Please write your Social Insurance Number on any photocopies that you send us.

Unable to apply

If, due to a medical condition, you were unable to apply earlier or to ask someone to apply on your behalf, please contact us to obtain a form called Declaration of Incapacity. If you meet all of the eligibility requirements filling out and returning this form may allow you to receive your pension with an earlier start date.

Declaration and signature

If you make a false or misleading statement, you may be subject to an administrative monetary penalty and interest, if any, under the Canada Pension Plan, or may be charged with an offence. Any benefits you received or obtained to which there was no entitlement would have to be repaid.

Going back to previously filled steps

Using the browser's back button to return to a previously viewed screen will cause application errors. You will have a chance to correct any information entered once you reach Step 6 of 8.

Unable to print

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If you do not have access to a printer, we can mail a paper copy of the application to you. Or, if you have already submitted your application online and were unable to print the signature page, we can mail 2 copies of the Signature Page to you. You will need to sign both copies, keeping one for your records and mailing the other copy to us at the address indicated on the Signature Page

HTML output will vary depending on your computer settings. Please make sure ALL required data is printed before mailing the Signature page to us (applicable signatures, SIN, time stamp and confirmation number).

PDF output will require that you have Adobe Acrobat Reader 3.0 or higher.

Protection of personal information

The information you provide is collected under the authority of the Canada Pension Plan legislation to determine your eligibility for benefits. The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is collected under the authority of section 52 of the Canada Pension Plan regulations, and in accordance with Treasury Board Secretariat Directive on the SIN as an authorized user of the SIN. The SIN will be used to ensure an individual's exact identification so that contributory earnings can be correctly posted allowing for benefits and entitlements to be accurately calculated.

Submitting this application is voluntary. However, if you refuse to provide your personal information, the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) will be unable to process your application.

The information you provide may be used and/or disclosed for policy analysis, research, and/or evaluation purposes. In order to conduct these activities, various sources of information under the custody and control of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada HRSDC may be linked. However, these additional uses and/or disclosures of your personal information will never result in an administrative decision being made about you (such as a decision on your entitlement to a benefit).

The information you provide may be shared within Human HRSDC, with within any federal institutions and provincial authority or public body created under provincial law with which the Minister of HRSDC may have entered into an agreement, and/or with non-governmental third parties for the purpose of administering the Canada Pension Plan, other acts of Parliament and federal or provincial law as well as for policy analysis, research and/or evaluation purposes. The information may be shared with the government of other countries in accordance with agreements for the reciprocal administration or operation of that law and of the Canada Pension Plan.

Your personal information is administered in accordance with the Canada Pension Plan and the Privacy Act. You have the right of access to, and to the protection of, your personal information. It will be kept in Personal Information Bank HRSDC PPU 146. Instructions for obtaining this information are outlined in the government publication entitled Info Source.