Beneficiaries and your pension
Learn the options available to you when choosing a beneficiary (or beneficiaries) for your pension benefit.
Your spouse is automatically your beneficiary
If you are married or in a common-law relationship of more than two years, your spouse is automatically your beneficiary.
This means that if you die:
- Before you retire and before your earliest retirement age, your spouse is eligible for either:
- An immediate pension
- A payment equal to the greater of your contributions plus interest or the commuted value
- Before you retire and after your earliest retirement age, your spouse is eligible for an immediate pension only
- After you retire, depending on the pension option you chose at retirement and whether your spouse waived their beneficiary rights, they may receive a pension benefit
Your spouse can choose to give up their automatic beneficiary right to your pension. To do so, they need to sign a formal waiver stating that they want to give up their right or rights to one or more of the following:
- Their beneficiary right to your pension if you die before you retire
- Their right to a minimum 60 per cent lifetime survivor’s benefit if you die after you retire. The earliest your spouse can give up this right is 90 days before your pension effective date
- Their beneficiary right to receive a guaranteed monthly pension for a specific time period if you die after you retire and you chose a pension option with a guaranteed time period. Your spouse can give up this right at any time up until your death