Pension transfer in—Estimates
Why is an estimate important?
The estimate stage is critical because it provides you with information to assist in making the decision whether to proceed with a pension transfer. The existence of an agreement between employers does not necessarily mean that a transfer of your pension credits will be advantageous to you. Therefore, along with your pension transfer estimate, Government of Canada Pension Centre will provide you with an estimate of your Public Service Superannuation Act (PSSA) pension based on various scenarios. You should contact your former employer for information regarding your pension benefits under their plan.
How do I request an estimate?
Contact the Pension Centre in order to obtain the Appendix A/A1—Request for transfer estimate - depending on the terms of the agreement.
When you receive the appropriate appendix, complete and sign the required part of the form and send it to your former employer. If your former plan administrator was the "Commission administrative des régimes de retraite et d'assurances" (CARRA) or "l'Université du Québec", complete and sign the personal information data in the middle section of the appendix and send the original copy to your former plan administrator and a copy to the Pension Centre. This "Employee's authorization" will give the employer permission to provide the Government of Canada Pension Centre with the information required to calculate your pension transfer estimate. The form must be received by your former employer within one year from the date you were notified in writing of your contributory status under the PSSA or within one year from the date a PTA is signed, whichever is later. Your former employer will complete Part III and return the form to the Government of Canada Pension Centre. It is recommended that you keep a photocopy of the appendix for your records.
Based upon the information received from your former employer, the Government of Canada Pension Centre will prepare and send you the Appendix B/B1—Request for transfer of service credits - along with a letter, which will provide additional information. This appendix represents your pension transfer estimate and is to be considered an estimate only.
The purpose of a pension transfer estimate is to provide individuals with a sense of what monies are required and are available as of a certain point in time and how much service those funds will purchase under the PSSA. However, these are only estimates. Should you choose to continue with the transfer, you must complete the relevant portions of the Appendix B/B1 and return it to the Pension Centre prior to the deadline indicated at the bottom of the form. Doing so constitutes your formal request for transfer. Once a formal request for transfer is made, the provisions of the PTA stipulate that the pension value must be recalculated as of the date of receipt of the formal request for transfer, that is, the Appendix B/B1. In most cases, if not all, it is expected that the final amounts will change as time passes because the calculation of the pension valuation takes into account, among other factors, the actual age of the employee and interest.
Pension transfer amounts are determined on an actuarial basis. The amount to be transferred will be the lesser of:
- the amount of pension funds available for transfer as calculated by the former employer (employer transfer amount)
- the amount required to establish the accrued period(s) of pensionable service with the former employer as pensionable service under the Public Service Pension Plan. (federal transfer amount - defined benefit or defined contribution)
The amount available for transfer from your former employer (employer transfer amount) is compared to the federal transfer amount required and the equivalent ratio is applied to your pensionable service credits with your former employer. In other words, if the employer transfer amount is two thirds of the federal transfer amount, the transfer process will purchase 2/3 of your pensionable service credits. For more detailed information on the contents of the estimate, refer to How the transfer amounts are determined.
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