The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is a government benefits plan available for many people who have worked in Canada.
Workers who pay into the Canada Pension Plan from their income are called CPP contributors. People who are self-employed can register and contribute to CPP. Employers also pay into the Canada Pension Plan on behalf of their employees.
Canada Pension Plan benefits include:
- Disability Benefits for CPP contributors who can no longer work regularly because of a disability,
- CPP Child of Disabled Contributor Benefits for the dependent children of a person receiving CPP Disability Benefits (child is dependent until age 18 or to age 25 if full-time student),
- Retirement and Early Retirement Pensions for CPP contributors,
- CPP Death Benefit, a one-time payment to a maximum of $2,500.00,
- CPP Survivor’s Pension for spouse or common-law partner of a deceased CPP contributor (this may also be available for a former spouse/common-law partner if there is no existing spouse/partner), and,
- CPP Child of Deceased Contributer Survivor benefits for dependent children of deceased CPP contributors (to age 18 or to age 25 if full-time student).
Eligibility for CPP benefits and the amount of CPP benefits will depend on the number of years you have worked and contributed to CPP, and the amount that you have contributed. CPP benefits, except the Death Benefit, are paid once a month.
If you are separated and your spouse or partner contributed to CPP, you may be able to apply to share their CPP contributions (see CLEO booklet link below).
CPP applications should be made as soon as possible. If you do not make your CPP application in time, you may lose your eligibility for the benefits or receive less benefits. The CPP rules are very complicated so it is important to get legal advice.
Most decisions about CPP can be appealed. If you do not agree with a CPP decision, you must appeal within 90 days. You should get legal advice about appealing a CPP decision (see Getting legal help below).
You can get more CPP information from the Government of Canada: toll-free telephone 1-800-277-9914, TTY toll-free 1-800-255-4786, www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/services/pensions/cpp/index.shtml.
Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) has booklets with information about CPP that are available on the CLEO website and in print:
- CPP Disability Benefits: www.cleo.on.ca/en/publications/cppdisability.
- Separation and Divorce or Death of a Spouse: Property Division includes information about division of CPP credits and CPP Survivor/Death benefits: www.cleo.on.ca/english/pub/onpub/PDF/family/propertydiv.pdf.
Getting legal help
The law about CPP is complicated, so if you have a question or problem, we recommend that you get legal advice about your situation:
- People living with HIV in Ontario can contact us for free legal advice.
- You can contact your local community legal clinic to find out about services in your community. You can find your local community legal clinic as well as specialty legal clinics using the Legal Aid Ontario website: https://www.legalaid.on.ca/services/legal-clinics/.