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:

  1. Their beneficiary right to your pension if you die before you retire
  2. 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
  3. 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


Related content for beneficiaries and your pension

Name a trustee for a beneficiary

Choosing your pension option