New to the Canadian Armed Forces—Regular Force enrolled before March 1, 2007
The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Pension Plans provide you, as a member, with a retirement income payable upon release from the CAF.
The CAF Plan Enrolment Information Package is available for new or re-enrolled members and will be mailed to you by the Government of Canada Pension Centre. Some aspects of the plan are time-sensitive, so it's suggested that you review this document as soon as possible.
As a member of the Regular Force, you accumulate both pensionable service and Canadian Forces (CF) service. Combined, they determine your benefit eligibility under the Regular Force Pension Plan.
Pensionable service determines the type and the amount of the benefit. While a given period of service may or may not be pensionable, only paid days of service are considered CF service.
CF service is used to determine if you are eligible for an unreduced pension at release.
Pension credits transferred from other plans (Public Service and Royal Canadian Mounted Police) to the Regular Force Pension Plan increase your pensionable service, but not your CF service.
Listed below are some common questions and answers that may be of interest to you as a member of the CAF.
You may want to know
When do I join the plan?
Regular Force members automatically join the Regular Force Pension Plan when they enrol in the Regular Force. You remain in the plan until the earlier of:
- your release from the Regular Force or
- your death
In most cases, you continue to be a member of the Regular Force Pension Plan even if you transfer to the Reserve Force.
The Plan Enrolment Package will be mailed to you upon enrollment using the address we have on file. This package includes a letter with the Web address for the "Welcome to the Regular Force Pension Plan" orientation information kit, the Enrolment Information and "Acknowledgement of Plan Membership" (CF-FC 571-PF) form, as well as the "Notification of Plan Membership" (CF-FC 2018-PF) form. Pension contributions for the Regular Force Pension Plan will start being deducted from your pay when you join.
If you do not receive a Plan Enrolment Package, please contact the Government of Canada Pension Centre.
Do I have to join the plan?
Yes. All Regular Force members must join the plan. Pension contributions will start to be deducted from your pay automatically when you join.
How are the Canadian Armed Forces pension plans governed?
The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) pension plans are legislated pension plans. The provisions of the pension plans are set out in the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act (CFSA), the Canadian Forces Superannuation Regulations (CFSR), and the Reserve Force Pension Plan Regulations (RFPPR).
What happens if I previously served in the Regular Force and I rejoin the Regular Force?
You will rejoin the Regular Force Pension Plan and begin contributing again.
If you are a pensioner and you rejoin the Regular Force, your pension will stop while you are serving. When you release at a future date and start your pension again, your pension will be recalculated, and you may receive a larger pension, since your pension will be based on your total pensionable service.
If you received a lump sum pension benefit and you rejoin the Regular Force you will have the option to "buy back" your prior service. This service will be included when determining your new pension entitlement when you release from the Regular Force.
What happens if I previously served in the Regular Force and I join the Reserve Force?
It depends on the pension benefit you received when you left the Regular Force. Please refer to the "Re-enrolling after Retirement" Life Event for more information.
What if I have previous service with the Canadian Armed Forces, the Public Service, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or Her Majesty's Forces (other than Canada)?
You may be able to increase your pension by adding to it your previous service with:
- the Regular Force for which you received a lump sum
- the Public Service (Public Service Superannuation Act (PSSA))
- the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superannuation Act (RCMPSA)) or
- Her Majesty's Forces (other than Canada)
For more information on how to do that, please refer to the "Increasing your Pension" Life Event.
How much do I contribute?
You contribute a percentage of your pensionable earnings.
The following table shows the rates of contribution for the years 2009 to 2017
|On…||You contribute in…|
|Pensionable earnings up to the Year's Maximum Pensionable Earnings (YMPE)||5.2%||5.5%||5.8%||6.2%||6.85%||7.5%||8.15%||9.05%||9.47%|
|Pensionable earnings above the Year's Maximum Pensionable Earnings (YMPE)||8.4%||8.4%||8.4%||8.6%||9.2%||9.8%||10.4%||11.04%||11.68%|
Once you have 35 years of pensionable service, your contributions are reduced to 1% of pensionable earnings.
In 2009, Joseph is a Warrant Officer with pensionable earnings of $69,600. The YMPE for 2009 is $46,300. His Regular Force Pension Plan contributions will be calculated as follows.
|On pensionable earnings up to the YMPE||5.2% × $46,300 = $2,408|
|On pensionable earnings above the YMPE||8.4% × ($69,600 - $46,300) = $1,957|
|Total annual contributions for 2009||$2,408 + $1,957 = $4,365|
|Average contributions per pay||$4,365 ÷ 24 = $182|
If Joseph reaches 35 years of pensionable service in 2009, his contributions per pay would reduce to $29, that is, 1% of pensionable earnings (1% × $69,600 ÷ 24 = $29).
In 2009, Marie is a Major with pensionable earnings of $104,352. The YMPE for 2009 is $46,300. Her Regular Force Pension Plan contributions will be calculated as follows.
|On pensionable earnings up to the YMPE||5.2% × $46,300 = $2,408|
|On pensionable earnings above the YMPE||8.4% × ($104,352 - $46,300) = $4,876|
|Total annual contributions for 2009||$2,408 + $4,876 = $7,284|
|Average contributions per pay||$7,284 ÷ 24 = $304|
If Marie reaches 35 years of pensionable service in 2009, her contributions per pay would reduce to $43, that is, 1% of pensionable earnings (1% × $104,352 ÷ 24 = $43).
Why are contributions increasing?
In 1999, the Federal Government introduced measures to improve the long-term financial management of the three large federal public sector pension plans – the Canadian Armed Forces, the Federal Public Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. These measures will ensure that the costs of these pension plans are shared in a more balanced way between plan members and the Canadian public, whose tax dollars support these programs.
Why do I contribute a different percentage of my pay under the Year's Maximum Pensionable Earnings and above the Year's Maximum Pensionable Earnings?
Most employer-sponsored defined benefit pension plans adopt this two-tiered contribution approach to take into account contributions to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).
As with all Canadian workers and employers, both you and the Federal Government contribute to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). Your contributions to that plan are based on your pay up to an annual limit known as the Year's Maximum Pensionable Earnings (YMPE). In turn, your CPP pension is based on the earnings on which you contributed. There are no contributions made, or benefits earned, under CPP above the YMPE. Your Regular Force Pension Plan requires lower contributions on earnings for which you also contribute to CPP (that is, below the YMPE).
Are my pension contributions tax-deductible?
Yes. And, your income tax is reduced automatically on your pay for your current year contributions. In other words, you receive your tax deduction for your pension contributions right away, instead of waiting until your next year's income tax return is filed.
Is my personal registered retirement savings plan contribution limit affected by my participation in the Regular Force Pension Plan?
Yes. Your annual registered retirement savings plan contribution limit is reduced by the estimated value of the pension you earned in the previous year. This value is called the pension adjustment.
What is the Supplementary Death Benefit, and who can I designate as my beneficiary?
The Supplementary Death Benefit (SDB) plan provides a form of decreasing term life insurance protection, which is designed to provide insurance coverage to Regular Force members and members of the Reserve Force on Class "C" service.
You may choose one of the following as your beneficiary:
- any one person 18 or more years of age at the time of designation
- your estate
- any charitable or benevolent organization or institution
- any educational or religious organization or institution that is supported by donations
To designate your beneficiary, you must complete the Naming or Substitution of a Beneficiary (CF-FC 2196) form.
For detailed information about the SDB, please visit the Supplementary Death Benefit (SDB) plan page.
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