Service buyback package

Note

If you cannot access forms in this package, contact the Pension Centre for a copy.

This package provides you with information about elections to purchase prior pensionable service also known as buying back service.

Explore these sections to learn more about buying back service:

On this page

Service buyback

A service buyback is a legally binding agreement to purchase a period of prior service to increase your pensionable service under the federal public service pension plan. It may include a period of prior federal public service or pensionable employment with another employer. Refer to Prior service for further details.

If you are considering making a service buyback, please note that it must be made while you are employed in the federal public service and an active member of the public service pension plan. Cost and other requirements may vary, depending on the type of service and when you make the buyback. The type and period of service has to be verified before the service buyback is approved.

You may only accumulate up to a maximum of 35 years of pensionable service. This 35 year maximum includes the following types of service:

When any of the elective service you are buying back occurred on or after January 1, 1990, a Past service pension adjustment (PSPA) calculation must be performed. A PSPA greater than $50.00 must be certified by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) before that service can be counted as pensionable under the public service pension plan. Refer to Tax implications for further details.

Advantages

Advantages of buying back prior service include:

All pension benefits payable under the plan relate directly to service and salaries. As the number of years of pensionable service to your credit increases and you reach higher levels of salary, the pension benefits that you and your eligible survivors can expect to receive increase accordingly.

Prior service

You may buy back the following types of prior service:

Here are some elements to consider when buying back prior pensionable service:

Surrendering previous pension entitlements

Please keep in mind that you must surrender any pension entitlement you may have with another employer before you can count that service as pensionable under the public service pension plan. Once you complete a service buyback form, the Government of Canada Pension Centre will contact you with details concerning the surrender of your previous entitlement. Refer to the Tax implications for additional information.

You should also remember that, if you leave the federal public service voluntarily with less than two years of continuous employment, you are only entitled to a return of your contributions paid into the public service pension plan.

Consequently, if you intend to leave within that period, you should consider whether it is in your interest to surrender the entitlement under the outside plan. This provision does not apply if your termination from the federal public service is involuntary. Consult with the Pension Centre if you require more information.

Buying back partial periods of prior service

You may buy back all or part of a period of prior service. If you are buying a part of a period, in most cases, it must be for the part that occurred most recently. The Pension Centre can provide you with information about exceptions to this requirement.

Description of the different types of prior service

Prior federal public service

You may buy back virtually any type of prior federal public service. This includes periods of part time service after 1980 for which the assigned workweek averaged at least 12 hours. It also includes periods of leave without pay, which you previously chose not to count.

The cost of buying back periods of leave without pay that you chose not to count on return to work will be based on your salary at the time you make your election to buy back service. This service will be costed at a single or double rate of contributions depending on the type of leave. Interest will be added in the same manner as it is for other prior service; that is, four per cent simple interest from the date of the service to the month in which you submit the service buyback form.

If you received a transfer value in respect of a previous period of employment, you may, in some circumstances, buy it back. It is important to note that there is a limited period of time within which you must buyback this service. The cost and method of payment is different for reinstatement of transfer value service. Please contact the Pension Centre for a cost estimate for this type of service.

Service with the Canadian Forces or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

You may buy back different types of service depending on your pension benefit entitlement status under one of the following pension plans: the Canadian Forces pension plan, or the RCMP pension plan.

The cost to count the service depends on when you buy back and the category that describes your service:

  • Prior non-contributory service
  • Contributory service for which you received or are entitled to receive a return of contributions
  • Contributory service for which you are in receipt of or are entitled to a pension benefit.

If you are in receipt of a pension under one of these plans, you may surrender your pension entitlement in order to combine all your pensionable service under the public service pension plan. In that case, all pension benefits received from your former plan, after your first year as a plan member under the public service pension plan, must be repaid to them. You must also continue to pay any amount you still owe under the former plan.

Once a plan member chooses to buy back service under this section, he surrenders his right to any pension benefit entitlement under the Canadian Forces or the RCMP pension plan in respect of that service. Prior to signing the election to surrender benefits form, you may wish to obtain an estimate of the increase to your pension as a result of counting the service under the public service pension plan. Only the Specialized Services Division of either the Canadian Forces or RCMP can advise you of the monthly cost to repay your pension and any other amount you owe to those plan administrations. You may contact them at the address found in Part B of the election to surrender benefits form.

Election to Surrender of Benefits - PWGSC-TPSGC 2092

Service as a Members of Parliament

You may buy back your prior service by surrendering your pension entitlement under the Members of Parliament pension plan. The cost of counting this prior service depends on whether you became entitled to a pension or a withdrawal (lump-sum payment) on ceasing to be a member under that plan.

If you are entitled to a pension, you must surrender it and repay, with interest at four per cent per annum, any pension you received after your first year as a public service pension plan member. You must also pay any contributions still owing under the Members of Parliament pension plan and pass a Medical examination.

If you received a lump-sum payment under the Members of Parliament pension plan, you will contribute based on your salary when you most recently became a public service pension plan member. In this case, you must buy back your service within one year of becoming a public service pension plan member. Interest is added from the time the service occurred until the date you make your election to count the service under the public service pension plan.

As the benefit formula under the Members of Parliament pension plan is significantly different from that of the public service pension plan, you should obtain an estimate of your pension benefits payable as well as the cost to count this service under the public service pension plan before surrendering your benefit entitlement. For an estimate, please contact the Pension and Benefits Sector of the Treasury Board Secretariat.

Pensionable employment outside of the public service

Pensionable employment is any employment outside the federal public service with an established pension plan, which has been approved for public service pension plan purposes. You must have been a member of the former pension plan.

The public service pension plan only permits the counting of a period of pensionable employment if it accrued under a pension plan which was registered under the Income Tax Act. Please note that service accrued under a Deferred Profit Sharing Plan, a Group Registered Retirement Savings Plan or a Pooled Registered Pension Plan cannot be bought back as pensionable employment under the public service pension plan.

Your pensionable employment must have occurred immediately before you joined the federal public service. When the interval between terminating pensionable employment and joining the federal public service is more than 6 months but less than two years, the Pension Centre will determine whether the service is "immediately prior". If the interval between terminating pensionable employment and joining the federal public service is more than 2 years, the service cannot be purchased.

You must also surrender any pension benefit entitlement under your former plan in order to count this service under the public service pension plan. The outside employer will have to agree to the surrender.

You should also remember that, if you leave the federal public service voluntarily with less than two years of continuous employment, you are only entitled to a return of your contributions paid into the public service pension plan.

Consequently, if you intend to leave within that period, you should consider whether it is in your interest to surrender the entitlement under the outside plan. This provision does not apply if your termination from the federal public service is involuntary.

Before making a decision concerning the value of surrendering a pension entitlement with your former employer, please carefully evaluate the potential benefits payable under your former plan against the additional benefit payable under the public service pension plan. To obtain benefit estimates under the public service pension plan, you can access the Web Compensation Web Applications (CWA)—Pension calculator (page available on Government of Canada network only). In addition, we strongly recommend that you consult with a financial advisor at your own expense, to assist you in evaluating your options under both plans.

Before surrendering an annuity entitlement with an outside employer, it is very important that you understand the various payment options and financial implications specific to this type of buyback. Please contact the Pension Centre prior to completing your service buyback form.

If you decide to surrender and buy back your outside employment, you must complete and forward the following form to your former employer.

Pensionable employment questionnaire PWGSC-TPSGC 2069

When the Pension Centre receives your completed Service buyback form (PWGSC-TPSGC 3006-E) (This site is only accessible to federal government employees, and only to federal departments and agencies) they will contact you with details concerning the surrender.

For information on the cost of prior service, please refer to Costing.

Pension transfer agreements

Pension transfer agreements (PTA) provide another way of counting your prior pensionable service with an outside employer under the public service pension plan.

If you leave outside employment to become employed in the federal public service and a PTA has been negotiated between the two employers, you may be eligible to transfer all or part of your accrued pension credits to the public service pension plan. Please note that the acquired pension credits under the public service pension plan as a result of the transfer may not be equivalent to the exporting employer's pension credits. For example, this may occur when the benefit formula under your previous employer's pension plan was lower than the one under the public service pension plan.

For more information about a PTA, please contact the Pension Centre. You may also refer to the Pension portability package.

Other types of prior service

You may be able to buy back other types of prior service. You should consult the Pension Centre if you have any questions about whether you can buy back a specific period of prior service.

Costing

Salary, rates of contribution and age all affect the cost of buying back service. Depending on when you buy back service, different salary rates are used to calculate the cost.

If you complete, sign and forward a Service buyback form (PWGSC-TPSGC 3006-E) (This site is only accessible to federal government employees, and only to federal departments and agencies) within one year of the issuance of your Notification of Plan Membership (PWGSC-TPSGC 2018), your buyback is considered to be a "normal" buyback. In this situation, the salary used to calculate the cost of buying back service is your salary on the date you most recently became a plan member.

If you complete and sign a service buyback form after that one-year period, it is considered to be a "late" buyback. The salary rate used is the salary authorized to be paid on the date you signed the form. In many cases, this could cost you substantially more. For a "late" buyback, the form must be forwarded to the address indicated within one month of the date of signing.

Please note that you can use the same form to buy back more than one period of service. The costing may be different for each one depending on the factors indicated above and whether you previously had an opportunity to buyback the service in question under the public service pension plan.

Before buying back service you should obtain an Estimate of what your prior service will cost. You can use the Compensation Web Applications (CWA) (page available on Government of Canada network only)—Service buyback estimator or request an estimate from the Pension Centre. However, if your "normal" buyback expiry date is approaching you may want to consider buying back without an estimate.

The method used to determine the cost of a period of service is a contribution-based calculation. Contributions plus interest are calculated for the period of service based on the applicable salary rate.

Your contribution rate may be single or double. For example, pensionable employment outside the federal public service is one type of service calculated at a double rate of contributions.

The cash cost of service is the lump sum amount payable at the time you are making the buyback. The cash cost of a buyback includes 4% simple interest, calculated from the middle of each fiscal year when the service occurred to the first day of the month in which you sign the form.

If you choose to pay your past service through monthly installments, the monthly amount is based on the cash cost plus additional interest and mortality charges.

Tax implications

Past service pension adjustment certification

Under the Income Tax Act rules for Registered Pension Plans (RPP), a plan may not recognize periods of past service that occurred after December 31, 1989 for pension purposes unless officials of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) certify the PSPA calculated and reported in respect of that service. If your RRSP deduction limit (RRSP room) does not permit the certification of the PSPA, your prior service cannot be counted and any payments you may have made will be refunded to you.

Generally, this certification depends on whether the PSPA exceeds your unused RRSP room at the end of the previous year by more than $8,000. Your unused RRSP deduction limit for the previous year is indicated on your most recent "Notice of Assessment" issued by CRA.

If you have made maximum RRSP contributions over the years, your RRSP deduction limit may be insufficient to allow certification of the PSPA associated with your past service. In this situation, CRA will contact you and may allow up to a negative $8,000 RRSP deduction limit to certify a PSPA. In this case, you would be unable to make additional RRSP contributions until your RRSP deduction limit reaches a positive value. As an alternative, you may transfer RRSP funds directly to the Superannuation Sector. Another option is that CRA may allow you to designate a qualifying RRSP withdrawal to allow the PSPA to be certified.

Normally, a direct transfer of funds from your RRSP received prior to the PSPA calculation reduces the amount of the PSPA reported to CRA. If you feel you may not have sufficient RRSP room to allow certification of the PSPA, you may wish to consider paying part of your past service by completing a Direct transfer under subsection 146.3(14.1), 147.5(21), or 146(21), or paragraph 146(16)(a) or 146.3(2)(e) form for RRSP transfers.

Deductibility of registered pension plan contributions

Payments made through a direct transfer from registered vehicles, i.e. regular RRSP, locked-in RRSP, registered pension plans, deferred profit sharing plans (DPSP) and Locked-in retirement account (LIRA) are transferred on a tax sheltered basis. The Income Tax Act provides that the amount of such a transfer is not included in calculating an individual's income, nor can that individual claim any deduction for the amount of the transfer.

The tax deductibility of cash contributions (monthly installments or lump sum payment by cheque) paid to buy back service is as follows:

  • For contributions for service which occurred prior to January 1, 1990, and for which you contributed to an RPP, the tax deductibility is limited to $3,500 per year minus current contributions and other past service contributions.
  • For contributions for service which occurred prior to January 1, 1990, and for which you did not contribute to an RPP, the tax deductibility is limited to $3,500 per year, in addition to contributions made for your current service. The total overall tax limit for these contributions is determined as follows: $3,500 x the number of years or partial years of this type of service purchased.
  • Contributions for service which occurred after December 31, 1989 are fully tax deductible for the tax year in which they were paid. There is no limit to the tax deductibility of post-1989 contributions provided you have equal net taxable income for that year. You may consult Chapter 1 of CRA's guide entitled Registered retirement savings and other registered plans for retirement (T4040) for further information on the tax deductibility of registered pension plan contributions.

Deductibility of retirement compensation arrangement contributions

The Income Tax Act requires that any RCA portion of the cost of past service must be paid by a cash payment(s). Normally, RCA contributions are fully tax deductible in the year you make them.

You cannot pay for RCA contributions via a direct transfer of registered funds such as a regular RRSP, a locked-in RRSP, another Registered Pension Plan, a DPSP or a LIRA, for example.

For additional information regarding your tax situation please contact your local Canada Revenue Agency office.

Estimates

You may estimate the cost of buying back service by using the Compensation Web Applications (CWA)—Service buyback estimator (page available on Government of Canada network only); however, there are various limitations on estimates generated by this method. If you are unable to estimate the cost of your service because of these limitations, please contact the Pension Centre to obtain an estimate.

Before performing an estimate or contacting the Pension Centre, you should have the following information on hand:

Once you have reviewed the information on the website and decided to buy back service, you may consult the Pension Centre for any additional information.

Limitations

There are certain types of Service Buyback that cannot be estimated by the Service buyback estimator. For these types of service please contact the Pension Centre to obtain an estimate. The following are the limitations of the Service buyback estimator:

Medical examinations

With few exceptions, if you buy back prior service, you will have to undergo a medical examination.

If you buy back service within one year from the date of issuance of your written Notification of Plan Membership (PWGSC-TPSGC 2018) under the pension plan (also known as a "normal" election) and you fall into one of the following categories, you will not need to undergo a medical examination:

Or

For all other "normal" elections, a medical must be undergone to validate your election. Should you undergo but fail the examination, neither you nor your survivors would be entitled to pension benefits in respect of the service buyback unless you remain employed in the federal public service for five years from the date of the failed examination. If you do not remain employed in the federal public service for five years, then the payments for the elective service will be refunded. However, if you undergo and pass a subsequent medical examination within this five-year period and are still employed, then the buyback will be validated.

The following are circumstances under which you must pass a medical examination:

If you do not pass the medical examination, the service cannot be counted.

You must undergo the examination not more than 90 days before or six months after the date of signing the service buyback form. You should therefore contact your physician as soon as possible and advise the Pension Centre if you experience difficulty in obtaining an appointment within this timeframe. The medical examination is undergone at your own expense. It is your responsibility to undergo the medical examination and the Pension Centre will not issue any reminder of this requirement.

The following forms, which your physician must fill out, sign and forward, are required for your medical examination:

If you can't access this form, please contact the Pension Centre for a copy.

Complete the plan member's personal information section and have your physician complete the Medical Practitioner's section of the form. Keep a copy for your records and send the original completed by your physician to the Pension Centre.

The Evidence of medical examination (PWGSC-TPSGC 2081) (This site is only accessible to federal government employees, and only to federal departments and agencies) will confirm to the Pension Centre that you have undergone the medical within the prescribed time.

Completing the Occupational Health Assessment Report (HC-SC 3312)

The HC-SC 3312 is available on the Forms and documents (This site is only accessible to federal government employees, and only to federal departments and agencies) page of the Public service occupational health program website. (If you cannot access this form, please contact the Pension Centre for a copy.)

It is important that you read the instructions below before accessing and printing this form; otherwise, the form will not include the appropriate information.

  1. Once on the form, select Election as the Reason for evaluation and complete the following fields in Part A (boxes highlighted in red are mandatory):
    • Select English (EN) or French (FR);
    • Indicate your Personal Record Identifier (PRI) in the top right hand corner;
    • Complete remaining fields highlighted in red;
    • Select the mailing address where the form is to be mailed (use drop down menu on the form to select the Health Canada Medical Services Office for your region). The following list of regions will help you determine which Health Office address to select from the drop down menu.
      • British Columbia and Yukon = Vancouver office
      • Alberta and North West Territories = Edmonton office
      • Saskatchewan and Manitoba = Winnipeg office
      • Ontario and Nunavut = Toronto office
      • National Capital Region (including Gatineau) = NCR clinic (Ottawa office)
      • Quebec = Montreal office
      • Atlantic provinces = Halifax office
  2. Complete fields in Part D, sign, date and print the form;
  3. Have your physician complete Parts B, E and F of the form before sending it to Health Canada;
  4. Once completed by your physician, mail the form to the Health Canada Medical Services Office for your region as selected in Part A of the form.

Incomplete forms will be returned by Health Canada, causing delays that may require you to undergo another medical examination.

Please note that Health Canada has the authority to request a further medical examination if they are unable to make their determination based on the initial examination by the physician. If you do not undergo a further medical examination as requested by Health Canada, you are not considered to have met the medical requirements and the service cannot be counted. You should advise the Pension Centre if a further examination will delay receipt of the medical interpretation from Health Canada.

You may receive a conditional Service buyback notice (PWGSC-TPSGC 2097) which will confirm the cost and the amount of service to be credited before we receive the interpretation of the medical examination from Health Canada. This Service buyback notice does not mean that a medical examination is no longer required. Until we receive confirmation from Health Canada that the medical requirement has been met, the service purchased will not show to your credit on the Compensation Web Applications or your Pension and Insurance Benefits Statement, and a benefit cannot be paid in respect of this service.

Election form

All of the forms mentioned in this section are in PDF format. To obtain copies of these forms in a format designed to meet the needs of the visually impaired, please contact the Pension Centre.

In order to buy back service you must complete the following form, keep a copy for your records and send the original by registered mail to the address indicated on the form.

Service buyback form (PWGSC-TPSGC 3006-E) (This site is only accessible to federal government employees, and only to federal departments and agencies).

To complete the service buyback form, you must enter your name, Personal Record Identifier (PRI), date of birth, gender, home address, phone number, email address, the period(s) you wish to buy back, the method and required amount of payments. You must also sign and date the form.

If you are making a "normal" buyback, you must complete, sign and forward the form to the address indicated within one year of the date the Notification of Plan Membership (PWGSC-TPSGC 2018) was issued.

If you are making a "late" buyback, you must forward the completed form to the address indicated within one month of the date you signed the buyback form in order for it to be valid.

Please refer to Costing for information on how the cost of a service buyback is calculated.

If the service buyback is for the balance of service not purchased under a Pension transfer agreement (PTA), please clearly indicate this on the form. You must forward the completed form within six months of notification of the cost to purchase the service not credited by the transfer.

A buyback for the balance of PTA service made after this deadline must be forwarded within 30 days of signing. For further details refer to Service not credited by the pension transfer agreement.

In order to surrender your Canadian Forces or Royal Canadian Mounted Police pension, you must complete the following form, keep a copy for your records and send the original to the address indicated on the form.

Surrender of benefits PWGSC-TPSGC 2092

Please note that a different form is required if you wish to buy back prior federal public service for which you received a transfer value. You must complete the following form and forward it to the address indicated on the form.

Service buyback form for transfer value service PWGSC-TPSGC 2005

It is important to note that there is a limited period of time within which you must make your option to buy back this service and the cost and method of payment is different. Please consult the Pension Centre for more details.

A valid election to buy back additional pensionable service made under the terms of the public service pension plan is a legally binding agreement that can only be revoked under very exceptional circumstances. You will receive written notification in the form of a Service buyback notice (PWGSC-TPSGC 2097) once your request to buy back service has been approved.

Payments

Lump sum payments versus monthly installments

You may pay for your service buyback:

The installment method includes interest and mortality charges. In the event of your death, the election is considered paid in full, with the exception of any payments in default (missed payments) to that point in time. As the installment method is more costly than paying by a lump sum payment, you should compare the two costs before making a decision on how you wish to pay for the service buyback.

Cash lump sum payments

Cash lump sum payments received within 30-days of the date you signed your election will directly reduce the cash cost. If your lump sum payment is not received within that 30-day period, it is assumed that you wish to pay by monthly installments from your salary. Any lump sum amount received after the 30-day period will not be applied to directly reduce the cash cost but will be applied to the balance owing at the time the payment is made.

If the total period of service you chose to buy back is for post-1989 service, the entire amount of the cash payment is fully tax deductible and must be claimed in the tax year it was paid. However, if any or all of the lump sum cash payment is in respect of pre-1990 service, the tax deductibility is limited. Before making a large lump sum cash payment, ensure that you understand the tax deductibility limits applicable to cash payments. Refer to the Tax implications page for further information.

Cash (or money order) payments must be made payable to the Receiver General for Canada. If accompanying the election form, it must be sent directly to the address indicated on that form.

Payments not accompanying the election form must be forwarded directly to the Public Service Government of Canada Pension Centre.

Direct transfer from a registered retirement savings plan

You may pay for prior service by means of transferring RRSP contributions. In order to do so without having income tax deducted, you must complete a Direct transfer under subsection 146.3(14.1), 147.5(21), or 146(21), or paragraph 146(16)(a) or 146.3(2)(e) form for RRSP transfers. This form is also available from your financial institution or the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

If you transfer funds from an RRSP to buy back service, you must complete Area 1 of the direct transfer under subsection 146.3(14.1) or paragraph 146(16)(a) or 146.3(2)(e) form and forward it along with the Election form for elective pensionable service to the address indicated on that form. When completing the form, please provide your current address, the RRSP account identifier and where the form indicates "in cash" or "in kind", select "in cash".

If your cheque, money order or direct transfer under subsection 146.3(14.1) or paragraph 146(16)(a) or 146.3(2)(e) form is not received within 30 days from the date you sign the election form, the Pension Centre will assume you have opted to pay by monthly installments.

Direct transfer from your former pension plan

You may also pay for prior service through a direct transfer from your former pension plan. In order to do so without having income tax deducted, you must complete a Record of direct transfer of a single amount form (T2151). This form is available from the administrator of your former pension plan or CRA.

The T2151 should be forwarded along with the Election form for elective pensionable service to the address indicated on that form. Upon receipt of your election form, the Pension Centre will contact you concerning this payment option.

Registered funds transferred into the public service pension plan cannot be certified as "locked-in" in accordance with the federal or provincial pension benefits standards legislation. Transferred funds are locked-in according to the provisions of the public service pension plan and not that of other pension benefits standards legislation. For this reason, some pension plan administrators and financial institutions may be reluctant or unwilling to transfer your funds. Contact your former employer or pension plan administrator in order to obtain more information on their transfer requirements and the amount of funds available. The Pension Centre can provide details of the public service pension plan lock-in provisions. Please note that the amount available for transfer to buy back service may not be the same as the amount available for transfer under the terms of a Pension transfer agreements (PTA).

Monthly installments

As indicated, the monthly installment method is more costly than paying by lump sum because of added interest and mortality charges.

If you pay by monthly installments, deductions must be made by the end of the month in which your election form is received. The first deduction may be larger than the regular monthly amount if deductions are not started on time. Also, proof of age is required when monthly installments have been chosen as the payment method. If satisfactory proof of age is not on file when you sign your election form, the Pension Centre will request that you submit one. A letter will be sent to you outlining the requirements, the time limit for submitting the proof of age documents and the consequences of not supplying the required documents within the prescribed time.

When on leave without pay (LWOP), your payments should be sent directly to the Government of Canada Pension Centre using the Payment transmittal form (PWGSC-TPSGC 570). Interest will be charged on defaulted payments.

If you retire prior to paying the cost of your service buyback in full, the required installments will be deducted from your monthly pension benefit once your service buyback has been finalized. If your pension benefit is not payable immediately (within 30 days of termination of employment) you must remit your elective service payments directly to the Pension Centre; otherwise, interest will be charged on any defaulted payments. A default, which occurs over an extended period of time, will result in significantly higher minimum monthly payments.

After choosing monthly installments, you may decide later to amend your method of payment. You may make a lump sum payment at any time. It will be applied to shorten your repayment period or, at your request, reduce your monthly installment amount. You may also increase your monthly installment amount at any time which will shorten your repayment period. The payment methods are flexible and you may choose any one or a combination of these options. However, you normally cannot reduce your monthly payments below the minimum monthly installment amount nor can you extend the repayment period beyond the maximum permitted.

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