Online Guide to Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS)

I’ve been writing about CPP and OAS for a long time now.  In fact, my most popular articles in terms of traffic and views are my articles on CPP and OAS.

Here’s a guide to CPP and OAS because of all the attention these programs are getting as a result of pension reform in Canada.

  • Current CPP rates – CPP figures change quarterly so some of the figures you may see in some of the articles may not be current.  This link gives you the most current figures for CPP.
  • Will Canada Pension Plan (CPP) be there when you retire? – Many people I meet have a glass half full perspective about the future stability of CPP.  This article outlines my perspectives on this issue.
  • How much will you get from Canada Pension Plan in Retirement? – Although you can visit the Service Canada website and find out how much the maximum CPP amounts are, it is important to know that everyone’s benefit is different.  This article explains in detail how the calculation works
  • New proposed changes for CPP – On May 25, 2009, Federal, provincial and territorial Ministers of Finance recommended changes to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).  Here’s all the details of the changes.
  • Should you take CPP early?  By far, the most popular question I get on CPP is whether it makes sense to take it early.  I’ve written about this a few times because it’s such a popular question:
  • The new math on taking CPP early (coming soon)
  • Should we expand CPP?  With all of the government efforts on dealing with pension reform, one of the topics that comes up regularly is the idea of expanding the CPP program.  Here’s my thoughts on the topic
  • Retirement Income Planning: Where Will Your Retirement Income Come From? I wrote this article for Canadian Finance Blog. This article is a great place to get an idea of how CPP and OAS fit into the bigger picture of retirement income planning.
  • The Four Most Common Questions about Canada Pension Plan (CPP) – In this article (also on Canadian Finance Blog) I summarize the four most common questions on CPP including how much, CPP splitting, taking it early and whether there are clawbacks on CPP.
  • Child Rearing Drop Out – Parents can get more out of CPP – CPP helps those parents that did not contribute as much to CPP because they took time off to raise children under the age of 7.  This article explains how that works.
  • CPP Investment Board – The CPP investment board was formed in 1997 and operates at non-arms length to the government.  They oversee the investment of the multi billion dollar fund.
  • CPP Government information site – For all the government information on CPP, visit the Service Canada Website
  • Minimizing Old Age Security Clawback – Probably the most common concern people have about Old Age Security is whether clawback will affect them and by how much.  You might be surprised at the rules.
  • Does Old Age Security need change? – Again, pension reform is bringing attention to Old Age Security and there are lots of rumours swirling around if and what might change.
  • The History of Old Age Security (coming soon)
  • OAS Payment Rates – OAS figures change quarterly so some of the figures you may see in some of the articles may not be current.  This link gives you the most current figures for OAS.
  • OAS Government information site – For all the government information on OAS, visit the Service Canada Website

Written by Jim Yih

Jim Yih is a Fee Only Advisor, Best Selling Author, and Financial Speaker on wealth, retirement and personal finance. Currently, Jim specializes in putting Financial Education programs into the workplace. For more information you can follow him on Twitter @JimYih or visit his other websites Group Benefits Online and Advisor Think Box.

112 Responses to Online Guide to Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS)

  1. Can you tell me where I can find the forms for receiving CPP while working. I am unable to locate them on the Revenue Canada web site.
    Thank you.

  2. Does it make sense for a business owner to continue to contribute to CPP? If only dividends are received as income there is no requirement to contribute to CPP. Inflation went up 2% last year yet CPP contributions for 2012 increased by 4% tO $4,613 for the self employed. The tax rate on the first $500,000 of active business income is only 15.5%. Instead of conrtibuting to CPP the money could be invested within a corporate structure in tax efficient investments. During retirement income could consist partly of dividends and other sources of income that would not be fully taxable. RSSP/RRIF income and CPP would be fully taxable. Any thoughts on this approach?

    P.S. I am not a big fan of RRSPs for business owners and professionals.

  3. How true?? that if you leave Canada and reside abroad for 1 day less 6 months that you have to come back to Canada and stay 6 months in order to continue receiving your CPP retirement benefits? if it is true, Is there penalties if you exceeds 6 months stay abroad?? Please comment.

    • Ed
      There is absolutely no connection between where you live and your eligibility for any of the CPP benefits. I think you’re getting confused between CPP and OAS (Old Age Security).
      For OAS, there are restrictions on where you reside, IF you have less than 20 years of residence in Canada, after age 18. Even then though, it’s not as simple as 1 day less than 6 months of absence. It is true that your OAS benefit will be suspended (if you have less than 20 years of residence in Canada as described above) if you leave Canada for more than 6 months. Ongoing eligibility however, depends on where you actually reside, rather than any specific amount of presence in Canada. Residence is defined as where you “make your home and are ordinarily present”.
      Even if you have more than 20 years of residence in Canada as described, eligibility for the GIS (Guaranteed Income Supplement) is suspended if you are absent for more than 6 months, but ongoing eligibility for GIS also depends more on where you reside than simple presence in Canada.
      So, it’s not as simple as you suggest. But CPP is NOT affected by whether you are either present or resident in Canada, so rest easy on that point!

      • So if I should move to Costa Rica, for instance, my OAS and GIS that I currently receive, will stop after 6 months? I have lived in Canada for 73 years, I collect part of my husband’s CPP since his death, collect under $500 of my own CPP from working, and am hoping that the $1100 OAS/GIS I receive currently would be transferable to Costa Rica. If not, then with the withholding tax at 25% I guess I would not be able to live there.

        • Gail – Since you have resided in Canada for more than 20 years after age 18, you will be eligible for OAS wherever you live. GIS is payable only if you reside in Canada, so it will stop 6 months after you leave Canada.

  4. Hello,
    we are 50 Years old and will become permanent residents in Canada next year. We have private Pension plans in Austria but we also want to have a pension plan in Canada. What are the best options for us?


    • Wolfgang
      Welcome to Canada!
      The two public pension plans in Canada are the Old Age Security (OAS) and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).
      OAS is earned at the rate of 1/40th of the full basic amount (approx. $550/month) for every year of residence in Canada after age 18. Since you’re arriving here at age 50, that means that you’ll be eligible for 15/40ths (or approx. $206.25/month) at age 65.
      CPP is a contributory plan, based on your employment income. The retirement pension payout is based on your average lifetime earnings in Canada. The current maximum CPP pension is approx. $1,000/month at age 65, but that requires at least 40 years of contributions at the maximum level (currently based on earnings of approx. $50,000/year). If you work and contribute to CPP after your arrival, you could again be eligible for approx. 15/40ths of the max CPP (approx. $375/month).
      I hope this helps a bit?

  5. Dear Doug.

    Thanks a lot for your infos, that is very helpful. I have another question.
    My wife and me will arrive together, so that will apply to both of us then?
    I will be self employed when I come, can I then pay into the CPP for the next 15 years and do you know how much that contribution per month will be?
    Furthermore, I am eligible for a European Pension which I will claim once I reach 65 and I also have a private Pension but I still would like to pay into any other Canadian Pension plan. Do you have any good suggestion in this respect, any good product in Canada that you would suggest? Maybe I would want to take the money from the private insurance out and pay it into the Canadian plan, if there is a good option.
    Appreciate your input.

    Cheers Wolfgang

    • Wolfgang
      Yes, both your wife and yourself could qualify for both the OAS and the CPP.
      If you’re self-employed, you must pay CPP contributions of 9.9% of your net earnings up to $51,100.
      Aside from that, you are allowed to save up to 18% of your earned income into what is known as an RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan). This is basically a tax-deferral opportunity, allowing you to set this money aside and invest it with no taxes payable until you withdraw it in your retirement years, presumably when your income and subsequent tax bracket are lower.

  6. Dear Dough.

    I have one last question, thats very important to know.
    If I am self employed I must pay 9.9% into the CPP of my net earnings up to $ 51,100
    Does that mean that the $ 51,100 would be the maximum that one can pay per year into the CPP? If one would pay so much into the CPP for instance in my case from age 50 to age 65, how much would I get then per month once I retire? Well, I definitely will not be able to pay such a high amount but it would be interesting to know.
    I think I would probably be able to pay in maybe $ 1000 per month, how much would I get out then? Or is the maximum that one can get always $ 1000 regardless of how much you pay in?

    • Wolfgang
      I’m sorry that I’ve confused you a bit. It’s not that you pay up to $51,100 in contributions, it’s that you only contribute on earnings up to $51,100.
      That means that the maximum CPP contribution for a self-employed person is about $4,700 (9.9% of $51,100).

  7. Dear Dough.

    Thanks a lot, that explains everything.

    Thank you once again for all your infos and have
    A nice weekend.


  8. I receive my company pension and also work parttime. CPP is only deducted from my lower parttime salary. I will be working 5 years parttime and apply for CPP at 60. Will paying lower CPP contributions these last five years affect the amount I receive? If so am I best to top up CPP on my combined income on my yearly taxes?

    • Pauline

      What Dave says below, about not being able to “top up” your part-time earnings to maximize your CPP is entirely accurate. Now whether or not (and by how much) these 5 years of low earnings will reduce your CPP depends on your entire CPP contributory record.

      I could do some calculations for you (for a fee), if you email me at

  9. Deae Sir,
    I have less than 20 years of risidence in CANADA, after age 18. If I leave Canada and live in another country more than 6 months without contacting with CANADA service.
    What will happen to my benefit when I return CANADA ?
    Thank you,

  10. Long Ngo

    Advise Service Canada that you’re leaving! Your OAS will be suspended after 6 months, and will be reinstated when you resume residence in Canada.

  11. Hi, guys – I have worked 27 years at my current job, and have always earned enough to pay the maximum CPP contribution. In the late 1980’s, the bookkeeper here made a mistake and for two or three years instead of deducting the maximum CPP, she deducted a few pennies less, so my CPP statement does not have “M” beside those years. I phoned the CPP people at the time to ask if this would affect my eventual CPP payment and they said no, but now that I’m at retirement age, and reading your helpful information, it appears to me that I will be detrimentally affected by this mistake. Is there any way of fixing this since I basically did pay the maximum CPP in those years? Many thanks ..

    • Hi, guys – Since writing my question, I’ve looked further at my CPP statement and your website, and I see that for the two years concerned, 1990 and 1991, my CPP statement states the Year’s Maximum Pensionable Earnings as $28,895 and $30,496, respectively, whereas your chart shows the figures as $28,900 and $30,500 – just a few dollars more. The CPP I paid (that was deducted by my employer) those years was $574.08 and $632.40 – not sure if those were the maximums, and if not, how far off they are. If only a few dollars short, can I “top up” the amounts now to get my “M” for those years?
      Thanks again.

      • Pat

        The maximum CPP contribution was $754.20 for 1990 and $632.50 for 1991, so it appears that your bookkeeper did under-contribute for you in those years. You would have to file amended tax returns for those years in order to raise those contributions to maximum, and I think you’re well beyond the time limit for doing that through Revenue Canada.

        The good news is that there will be a very minimal impact on your CPP amount anyway. I calculate that even if those 2 years have to count, the impact if you were age 65 this year would be a reduction of $0.01 monthly.

        • Hello !..I have lived in Canada for more then 40 years , but if I decide to live abroad for more then 6 months , will my CPP and OAS pensions be affected ?.. Is there some deduction ?…I am confused with this !.. Thank you !… Regards !. FERNANDO

          • Fernando

            CPP is never affected by leaving Canada and OAS is affected only if you have resided in Canada for less than 20 years after reaching age 18.

            If you have lived here for 40 years, the only thing you would need to be concerned about is GIS, which stops if you leave Canada for more than 6 months.

          • Hi there !… I have lived and worked in Canada for over 40 years . If I decide to get CPP and OAS payments overseas will I be affected ,will there be any deductions on my pensions ?…Thank you in advance for your information !…Best regards !… Fernando

  12. I was reading some of the question and answers,quite helpful.I have question .I am a 59 turning 60 in January 2015.In the past I had three times myocardio and twice angioplasty.I have eyesight problem plus foot problem, cannot go to work regurly due to health issues.Worked 22 years in Canada.Due to health issues I had to go on early retirement.I have my RRSP and Investment with Sunlife.I like to withdraw my RRSP and Investment as I am going through financial hardship,Please suggest or advise how I can withdraw my fund.

  13. I have been a full time homemaker on and off for most of my married life. The years I did work (some full time, some part time) have resulted in an estimated CPP of about $2200 a year when I reach 65. Using the child drop out provision may increase that a little.
    I stopped working altogether when I reached 55 and have no intention of returning to the workforce.
    As my husband’s income is such that I don’t really need the small payout that an early CPP would give me, is it better for me to wait until 65 to collect or should I still apply at 60?

    • Dorothy

      Depending on how many children you had and what your earnings were while they were under age 7, the child-rearing provision (CRP) may increase your CPP by more than you think.

      If you want to base your decision on actual numbers, I could do some calculations for you (for a fee) at ages 60, 65 and 70.

      If you’re interested in this, email me at

  14. HELP – Not sure where to go or what to do? I am a single senior – 66 years old. I had RRSP’s and have used up about $60,000 in the past 5 years. I have had to use them for about $800 per month to bring income up somewhat and new roof – some major repairs over the years – always taking out about $10,00 net per year. Delemma – Just looked online and OAP – has cut me back to $446.97 per month – and CPP $521.85 per month. Now, I don’t think anyone can live on $968.82 per month – I still run a car, insurance for house, car etc. which means I take even more out of my RRSP’s. That brings my income up and again OAP penalizes me because of my gross income. I have hardly any RRSP’s left and want to use these for emergencies – how and where do I go for help. Appreciate any assistance. There are so many single seniors without pension plans that have no means or backup. Where do we go. Because of the RRSP’s I take out – I don’t qualify for GIS or SAFER? Where do we go?

  15. How long have you lived in Canada? I ask because if you have 40 years or more you are entitled to max OAS of about $551 per month. If your entitlement is the max and if some is being clawed back that tells me you have income of more than 71000 per year which puts you in the top 5 % of Canadian seniors. And based on what has been clawed back I bet you had income of about 81,000 last year. Am I right?

    Your right its very difficult to live on 968.00 per month.

    What was your total income last year?
    How much do you have in RRSP’s?
    How many years in Canada?
    At what age did you start your CPP?

  16. I am 60 years this month. My son was under 7 years of age in 1980, I have however made contributions “Self” in 1980 and 1981. Do I get a break for child rearing.?

  17. Hello there !..I have lived and worked in Canada for over 40 years , but if I decide to get CPP AND OAS payments abroad , will I be affected , or there will any deductions on my pensions ?..Thank you !…Regards !… Fernando Santos

  18. Hi Doug !..I am a Canadian citizen but if I spend more then 6 months overseas do I have to let the government know for pensions purposes ?..Am I allowed to stay out of the country for more then 6 months ?… Thank you !…Best Regards

    • Fernando

      It depends on what government pension(s) you’re receiving.

      CPP benefits are payable regardless where you live.

      OAS benefits are payable outside of Canada IF you have resided in Canada for at least 20 years after age 18. If not, OAS is payable only if you reside in Canada but temporary absences for up to six months are allowed.

      GIS is only paid if you reside in Canada, but again temporary absences up to six months are allowed.

  19. Do CIC , border services retain travel records entry and departure information prior to the year 2000 ?
    I have requested travel information from 1998 and 2002. But have read on another blog that border services do not retain records prior to 2000 is that true?

  20. Hi confused about the OAS, my husband will have been here 17 years and has worked for 16 1/2 years. We are retiring in Mexico next year. Will he still be able to collect the OAS in Mexico? Thanks

  21. I was in the military for 22 years and receive a pension through the CFSA. When I turn 65, the government will claw back from my military pension, the amount equal to what my CPP payment would be. Would it be of any benefit to take my CPP at age 60 or would it make matters worse than waiting until 65?

    • Mark

      In my opinion, the decision as to when to take your CPP should ignore the “clawback” from your military pension that occurs at age 65. Make sure that you know what your CPP choices really are at age 60 and 65 (and other ages), and decide accordingly.

  22. Also to be clear, the amount of the dropoff at age 65 is only based on your 22 years of service and earnings, not your entire contributions to CPP from age 18 to 65. So if you have a good record of contributions from when you retired to age 65 you may still get a pretty good CPP pension at 65.

    Additionally, for information, your not alone, most other government workers have the same pension integration with CPP.

    In my own case I have nearly 30 years in a provincial pension plan but about 37 years (after 17% dropout) of contributions to CPP so I expect my age 65 CPP will be about 175.00 more per month than what I will lose from the integrated provincial pension at age 65.

    If I had decided to start my CPP at 60 then my CPP at 65 would be about 120.00 less than what I would lose from my Provincial Pension…. but of course I would have received 5 years of the lower payments.

  23. Hello,

    I have worked in both USA and Canada. The USA is offering me a pension based on my USA/Canada credits. I live in Québec, and the QPP does not use foreign credits except for getting into the system. I believe that I would be eligible for more under the CPP.

    This seems patently unfair.

    I turn 65 in July, and could easily move to the USA before. I have contributed to the CPP when I worked for Ottawa.

    Would it help to move?

    • Daniel

      I can’t imagine what the USA might be offering you, as the CPP also only uses foreign credits for eligibility (getting into the system) and not entitlement (how much).

      In any case, if you’ve paid into both CPP and QPP, you’re subject to the rules of where you live when you apply or if you apply from outside Canada you’re subject to where you last lived in Canada. If you want to be subject to the CPP rules, you’d have to move from Quebec to another province before you move to the USA.

  24. Hi Doug !,.. I wonder if it is ilegal for me to stay longer then 6 months out of Canada and having my pensions going directly to a Canadian bank .Do i have to let the Gorverment know every time i Spend more than 6 months abroad ?….i must point out that I lived and worked way more than 20 years in Canada. I will apreciate very much your response!… Best regards!… Fernando

  25. Fernando

    If you are receiving OAS only and have more than 20 years of residence in Canada after age 18, your OAS would remain payable even if you left Canada permanently. There is therefore no reason that you have to let Service Canada know of any temporary absences, even if they extend beyond 6 months.

    If you are also receiving GIS however, it will cease to be payable if your absence exceeds 6 months so you do have to report this to Service Canada.

  26. The information given in your answers is very helpful, I have a question; what is the best option to apply for OAS, together or separately (if the spouse is less than 65 or separated)

  27. Thanks a lot for your quick answer, what I meant by “together” is “at the same time” actually my wife is 63 and I am 64-6 (sixty four and six months)I heard that I might receive some allowance for my wife. Thanks for your guidance

    • Terry

      The “allowance” that you’ve heard about is part of the GIS program. If your combined 2014 income was less than $41,088 you could be eligible for GIS and if your combined 2014 income was less than $31,680 your wife could be eligible for the allowance.

      If your combined 2014 income exceeds these amounts but one or both of you has since retired or had a reduction in pension income since 2014, you could be eligible if your current income will be under those levels (excluding the OAS).

  28. I am a permanent resident aged 64yrs. I immigrated to canada in 2008. would my absences(outside canada) delay my OAS pension? how long can I stay outside canada without any effect on my OAS? thanks

    • Rupinder

      In order to be eligible for OAS, you need to have resided in Canada for 10 years unless you also have sufficient residence or contributions in another country with which Canada has a social security agreement.

      Once you have 20 years of residence in Canada, you can leave Canada permanently. Until then, you can have temporary absences of up to 6 months each.

  29. Hi Doug !… I have heard that if decide to move overseas permanently , my pensions will be deducted 15% , is that true ?… I have been living in Canada for over 40 years . I was also told that this deduction will only take place , if I require to receive the pensions abroad . Thanks for your response !… Best regards !…Fernando Santos

    • Fernando

      There’s nothing in the CPP or OAS legislation that would require a 15% deduction, so if that’s true it would be an income tax issue. Sorry, but I’m not an expert on income tax.


    • Robert – If you’ve been living together in a common-law arrangement for at least one year, you will have already established eligibility for survivor’s benefits under the CPP. If you want to confirm that by telephone, call Service Canada at 1-800-277-9914.

      • Hi Doug.

        My sister-in-law has been in a common-law relationship for more than 35 years but I believe he is still married to his first wife and I don’t think any separation agreement is in place.

        They’ve both might have been reporting common-law for the last 35 years on their Itax, but I ‘m not sure.

        Who would get the survivor benefit?

        • Dave

          A separated legal spouse is only eligible for the CPP survivor’s pension if there is no valid common-law spouse at the time of death.

          A valid common-law relationship requires only that they have lived together continuously for a period of at least one year immediately prior to death.

          So, if your sister-in-law stays together with her common-law partner, she will be eligible for the CPP survivor’s pension and the legal spouse will be out of luck. If however she was separated during the final year of her common-law partner’s life, the separated legal spouse would be eligible for the survivor’s pension.

  31. Taxation of CPP – Death Benefit.

    The CPP death benefit is taxable income which must be reported by the beneficiary(s). It cannot be reported on the deceased’s final income tax return.

    The death benefit may also be reported on a separate T3.
    If the beneficiary receives GIS (Guaranteed income supplement) then I strongly suggest reporting the death benefit on a T3 rather than on the beneficiaries personal tax return.

    As an example, if a spouse (beneficiary) is in receipt of GIS and claims the $2500 (or whatever amount is received)their future GIS amount will be reduced by .50 for every dollar of the death benefit. So they could potentially have a loss of $1250 in future GIS payments.

    If however the taxable death benefit is reported on a T3 then the tax payable will likely be substantially less than $1250. In fact if the death benefit is the only income reported on the T3 then the tax will be 15% (Federal) plus the lowest rate of the particular Province. In BC the lowest rate is 5.06 %. Therefore the beneficiary would only pay 20.06 % of 2500 or $501.50 in tax rather than losing $1250 of future GIS payments.

    The T3 is simple to do and is available on line.

  32. Dear Dave.

    I have the following question and hope you can help. I am 52 years old and have immigrated to Canada as a PR in November last year and I need to continue my work as a technician in China for a while. I am fulfilling my physical presence in Canada because I am only half the time in China. The rest of the year I am at home in Canada. I must pay the Income Tax in China and Canada, both countries have an agreement and they recognize each others income tax. Now the question is this: I also would like to pay into the Canadian Pension plan. But I am, as described, employed in China. ( by a german company) Is this possible at all and if so, how can I do this?
    I have never paid into the Canadian Pension plan, only into the Austrian plan, I am a native of Austria. The Austrians informed me that once I reach 65, the Austrian pension I am entitled to will be paid out in Canada because they have an agreement. But I would still like to a also pay into the Canadian plan if workable.

    Looking forward to your info.

    with best regards,

    • Wolfgang

      The Canada Revenue Agency is responsible for determining whether you can make CPP contributions on employment earnings from outside Canada, but from what you’ve described I think their clear answer will be “No”.

      This option normally applies only if you’re working outside Canada for a Canadian company, and even then only under very limited circumstances.

  33. What is the name of the pension plan for a 65 year old person? How do I get the necessary paperwork(what URL)? What is a contact phone number?

  34. Kudos to service canada.
    My sister in law died in June and in August my brother received written notice regarding his new cpp amount which will include her survivours benefit to him. His August payment was correct and he also received retroactive pmt fot July.

    Following Dougs directions i was able to double check Service Canadas calculations

  35. I was recently in a car accident (6 years ago) was placed on O.D.S.P. (2 years ago) I turned 61 this September, and was told I should apply for C.P.P. but I am concerned that this could affect my O.D.S.P. benefits, as I am struggling to survive as it is.

    • John

      I can’t comment on how your ODSP benefits would be affected, but from a CPP perspective you would be much better off if you applied for a CPP disability pension rather than a CPP retirement pension.

  36. Jim,

    Where online can I confirm that the CPP and OAS are both lifetime benefits? I am a loan officer in Arizona, USA, and I have a client that receives both and I need to provide continuity of income for my borrower. Can you help? (p.s., it’s urgent. :))

    • Jake

      Sorry if this reply is a little late. The CPP retirement pension is definitely a lifetime benefit, but the OAS pension may be linked to continuing residence in Canada if the person has resided in Canada for less than 20 years after age 18.

  37. My father in law (85 years old) stays in Korea each year for about 7 months (he has resided in Canada for more than 20 years after age 18)
    He receives OAS and GIS but after coming back from Korea after 7 months will he not receive GIS for one month?

    • Jane

      For OAS/GIS purposes, residing in Canada is defined as “making his home in Canada and ordinarily living in Canada”.

      If your father-in-law spends about 7 months in Korea each year, I would conclude that he doesn’t ordinarily live in Canada and that he therefore no longer resides in Canada.

      If Service Canada reaches the same conclusion, your father-in-law will not be eligible for GIS until such time as he resumes residing in Canada.

  38. Doug, first let me thank you for the invaluable service that you are offering. We really appreciate your dedication and your time!
    I have a rather complex international CPP question for you. We are presently retired full time in sunny Mexico. We are in the process of applying for CPP for my wife as she will be 60 this summer.
    She was born in the former USSR and worked there and Lithuania as well, then immigrated to Canada and worked here too.
    We have been told that the years she worked in Russia are lost, as Canada has no treaty with Russia? Is this correct?
    As for the Lithuanian part of the equation, we do have a treaty with them, however, she only worked there for 9 years and they require 15 to award a pension.
    However, I believe there is a provision that even if she does not qualify for a Lithuanian pension Canada could recognize the years she did work there and factor them into to her Canadian CPP. Is this possible?
    We are also stuck in Form Hell, as there appears to be 2 ways to apply to CPP for foreign benefits. The main CPP application has a section for foreign pensions and there is another form: HRDC ISP5013 (2005-08-002) E which is an application to Lithuania through the International Office in Ottawa who would then forward it to Lithuania. But the form clearly states that you must be residing in Canada to apply. We asked an agent about this and he was lost, so he has sent an email to the International Office and they have 10 days to answer.
    Is there any hope that my wife’s meagre CPP could be augmented by her years of foreign work?

    • John

      Read this article to learn more about the way that these agreements work:

      To answer your questions:
      1) It’s true that Canada doesn’t have a social security agreement with Russia.
      2) As you’ll see from the above link, the agreement between Canada and Lithuania won’t increase the amount of your wife’s CPP, but it could make her eligible for benefits from Lithuania.
      3) I’m sorry, but I don’t know how you apply for benefits from Lithuania.

  39. hi Doug,
    You said to be eligible for OAS, the applicant must lived in Canada for 20 years I am a bit confussed as I understand 10 years of stay in Canada is the minimum, instead of 20 years.
    By the way, if I return and leave Canada very frequently every yea, then I just state the period of more than 6 months at a time out side of Canada? Or shall I also state the period in Canada?
    Dan Chan

    • Dan

      The 20-year requirement is in order to receive OAS if you don’t reside in Canada.

      If you leave and return to Canada frequently every year, Service Canada will determine whether you are resident in Canada (ie, that you “make your home in Canada and ordinarily live here”). If it is determined that you reside in Canada and visit elsewhere, both your periods of presence and absence will count as residence for OAS purposes. However, if it determined that you reside elsewhere and visit Canada, neither the periods of presence nor absence will count as residence for OAS purposes.

  40. Hi Doug,
    Service Canada doesn’t provide CPP contributions for 2016 and its CPP amount at 65 is based on 2015 and previous years. Where to find how much will I get at 65 after 2016 contributions (until June). Thank you

  41. I wonder if you could clarify something for me? My brother and sister-in-law moved to Australia for about three years when they were in their thirties. They were not residents of Canada — so is their CPP contributory period reduced by the number of months they were abroad? Would all their calculations be based on 44 years instead of 47 years? Or would those years just have to fall under their 17% dropout? Also, my sister-in-law could use CRDO for those 3 years, but it looks like she doesn’t qualify to drop them out because they were abroad and not receiving Family Allowance from Canada. Could you provide some guidance for their situation as to how to calculate their CPP retirement pensions? THANKS

    • Anne – Any time spent out of Canada is still included in their contributory period, so those 3 years would be considered as part of their 17% dropout. As you suggested, your sister-in-law can’t claim the CRDO for those years if she wasn’t eligible for the FA or CTB while away from Canada.

  42. 2016-06-11

    Hi Doug,

    I can’t find the blog comment I was searching for but it was from a long time CPPD recipient who stated he was getting max CPPD as a result of a Ontario work place injury about 20 years ago and now approaching 65 he was going to receive less than max of a normal age 65 CPP. As I recall you explained this was because of the way CPPD was indexed which is the indexing a CPP recipient receives versus the way the YMPE is indexed and is the basis of the normal age 65 calc. (Hope I understood this correctly)

    Would it be possible for the disabled worker to cancel his CPPD in advance of age 65 and then have his normal age 65 calculated to his benefit using the YMPE. So in essence it would not be a CPPD conversion just a normal age 65 calculation with the disabled years excluded from his contributory period.

    • Dave

      The legislation that governs this method of escalation applies to any disability pension that is paid beyond age 60, so you would have to give up 5 years of disability benefits in order to receive the larger retirement pension at age 65.

  43. Hi Jim,

    Maybe you can answer this for me since no one seems to be able to…

    I am moving to the USA from Canada for marriage. I will be severing all my ties and holdings in Canada once I have moved.

    What will happen to my CPP? Will I get it with my final tax return from CRA? Or do I have to apply for it at the age of 65 from the US? OR do I completely lose my contributions?



  44. Hi Jim….Great info., but I am not sure where I stand ?
    I have been self employed for about 34 years and I only contributed into the system for 6-7 years when I worked for my father. Other than that I have nothing. No private insurance. No RSP’s. What can I possibly get if I retire at 64 ? I am 59 yrs old.

    Thank you.

    • Joseph – Why aren’t you contributing to CPP if you’re self-employed? In any event, you will be eligible for a small CPP pension based on whatever contributions you did make, and you should also be eligible for OAS and possibly GIS.

  45. We retired @ 60 years old and receiving our CPP. How long can we stay outside Canada in order to retain our Alberta Health Card Insurance Plan?

  46. Hi Doug,

    I am 34 years old and have lived in Canada for 10 years now as a permanent resident, but I hold citizenship in the Netherlands. I have always worked full time in Canada.
    If I decide to move back to the Netherlands permanently in the next year:
    1. Would I still be able to apply for CPP after age 65 for the years I have worked in Canada?
    2. Would I still be able to apply for OAS after age 65 because Canada has a social security agreement with the Netherlands?
    3. Would there be any financial benefit for me at retirement age if I would wait to move back to the Netherlands and get dual citizenship first and then move back to the Netherlands? Would it make a difference for how much CPP or OAS I would receive later?

  47. Hi Doug.
    My partner and I are retiring to Mexico. Right now we both receive CPP. I am receiving Disability Cpp and have been for 12 years. I realize when I turn 65, it will be regular CPP. My question is, we will be moving to Mexico before we turn 65, will we still be eligible for both CPP and OAS.
    We are applying for Permanent Residency not Permanent Citizenship. We understand that Permanent Residency allows us to keep our Canadian Passport, but still live in Mexico full time and also purchase property.

    • Edward – Your CPP is definitely payable regardless where you live. OAS is payable outside Canada only if you have resided in Canada for at least 20 years after turning age 18.

  48. Thanks for your response. It is hard finding all the answers.But each day we are getting more and more information and it is mostly from sites such as this.
    Thanks again

  49. I lived worked and paid contribution to CPP for 4 years.
    Other periods I lived in China and India, besides 7 years in USA.
    Do I qualify for OAS? My question is because does canada cover period of stay in China and India for calculation of 20 years eligibility period?

  50. hi doug im 72 been in canada since oct 1978 i count im in canada 38 yrs and 2 months i arrived in canada when i was 34 yrs old. i get oas plus gis plus cpp for a total of 1100 month. will i loose any income if i move to phils permantly?

  51. Hi Doug,

    I will be eligible for OAS and CPP within 1 year, but am un-clear about one issue.
    If I were to apply at the age of 65, I will have lived in Canada for 39 and a half years. If I defer my application until the age of 66 or later, will I then be able to claim the full amount of 40 years? Or would they calculate my rate at 39.5 years regardless of the application date? I realize this may seem simple – but there isn’t any information anywhere on this.
    I appreciate your help and thank you in advance.

    You have a great site.

    • Read this article:
      If you delay beyond the time when you have accumulated 40 years of qualified residence in Canada, you will get the better of:
      a) 39/40ths of the full basic OAS plus a voluntary deferral increase of 0.6% for every month of delay past age 65, or
      b) 40/40ths of the full basic OAS plus a voluntary deferral increase of 0.6% for every month of delay past the month when you reached the 40 years of residence in Canada

  52. I was born in Canada and have lived here all my life. I recently travelled to Australia to assist a relative with a serious family problem. I was in Australia for only four months, then returned to Canada. I may have to return to Australia to further assist this relative. I know I still have two months of visa elegibility, but what happens if my relative requires further help? Do I automatically lose my GIS? I maintain a permanent residence in Canada and must pay rent every month. Is there any special circumstance under Canadian law/regulations that would allow me to extend my stay without losing benefits or benefit status? Australia has provisions for extending a stay and a “caregiver’s” visa provision (haven’t investigated fully yet), but I am most concerned about being able to maintain my permanent residence in Canada while I help this relative. Any info you could provide would be appreciated.

    • Gayl – You should continue to be eligible for GIS as long as you maintain Canada as your permanent residence and provided that no individual absence exceeds 6 months in duration. If you are ever absent for a continuous period of more than 6 months, your GIS will be suspended until you return and reside again in Canada.

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