Canada Pension Plan: Fast Facts

Are you a retired Canadian, or thinking of retiring soon, and have some questions about your Canada Pension Plan (CPP)? The Q & A below offers some some fast facts from the Employment and Social Development Canada website.

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Q1. Who Qualifies For CPP?

A1. To qualify for a the CPP retirement pension, you must have made at least one CPP contribution, which is a payment that was deducted from your paycheque. 

Q2. When Can I Start Getting CPP Payments?

A2. You can start drawing CPP as early as age 60, or any time after. If you choose to delay your pension until age 70, you will get the maximum pension amount you are eligible to receive. In general, individuals who delay taking the CPP retirement pension until age 70 may receive roughly double the amount that they would have received if they had taken it at age 60.

Note: You do not have to stop working to receive CPP. And, if you continue to work in Canada (outside Quebec) while receiving a retirement pension from the CPP or QPP and you/your employer continue to make CPP contributions, then you will also receive a post-retirement benefit. For more information about this, consult The Canada Pension Plan retirement pension page on the Service Canada website. 

Q3. How Much CPP Will I Get Each Month?

A3. The amount of CPP you receive is based on how much, and for how long, you contributed and at what age you choose to retire. 

Your personal CPP Statement of Contributions shows you the total amount of your CPP contributions by year, and the pensionable earnings on which they are based. You can request your CPP Statement of Contributions on the Service Canada website here:  Application for Statement of Contributions to Canada Pension Plan.

Note: If you haven’t already done so, you may need to register for a My Service Canada Account.

Use the Canadian Retirement Income Calculator to estimate your expected CPP pension amount at any given age. 

Q4. When/At What Age, Should I Start Taking CPP?

A4. Before making a decision about when to begin taking CPP payments, balance your expected CPP payments (Q & A 3 above) against any other retirement income and long-term plans you have. Remember that:

  • The earlier you start taking CPP payments, the less benefit amount you’ll receive each month.
  • The later you start receiving CPP payments, the higher your monthly benefit amount will be, up to age 70.

Q5. How Will I Get My CPP Payments?

A5. Your CPP retirement pension does not start automatically; when you’re ready to apply for it, you can do so by one of these methods: 

  • Using your My Service Canada Account (MSCA) (see above Q&A 3), apply for CPP online here at the Government of Canada Website.
  • Get an application kit from a Service Canada Centre.
  • Call Service Canada to receive one by mail.

Consult your accountant or financial planner for more advice about your retirement plans and collecting CPP.

Anita Hamilton

50+ World editor & baby boomer writer Anita Hamilton has always been interested in the "real people" stories behind the characters that create and inhabit the world of music, books, movies, television shows, current events, history, etc. A lifelong love of research (ok, nosiness) and writing, combined with a loving and supportive family complete with 3 mini-dachshund minions, keeps her busy.

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