Your Spouse or Partner
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Beginning March 1, 2019, common-law partners will be permitted to submit property division orders or agreements for division of a pension benefit. For more information, please contact 1-877-809-SFPP (7377).
SFPP not only provides benefits for you, the member, but may also provide benefits for your partner, provided they fit the criteria of a pension partner.
Your pension partner has special rights regarding your pension. Depending on your individual circumstances, your pension partner may be eligible to receive part of your benefit in the event your relationship ends. SFPP also provides your pension partner with the possibility of a lifetime pension in the event of your death, a right which differentiates your pension partner from your beneficiaries.
Pension Partner Rights Upon Divorce or Separation
If you divorce or separate, your pension partner may be entitled to a portion of your SFPP pension benefit.
Under provincial law, an SFPP pension is considered matrimonial property that can be divided. However, it can only be divided with a pension partner to whom you are legally married. Not all pension partners fit that criteria. For example, those in common-law-type relationships are not eligible for a division and distribution of pension benefits.
For more on how divorce or separation may impact your pension:
Active members: check out Relationship Breakdowns
Pensioners: check out Relationship Changes During Retirement
Before You Retire
Your pension partner receives special protection by law. If you pass away, your pension partner is automatically first in line for any SFPP benefits, including an option to receive lifetime payments. However, they can complete a waiver giving up their right to any benefits. In that case, your beneficiaries may be entitled to survivor benefits.
After You Retire
You're required by law to choose a pension option that will pay a lifetime pension to your pension partner if you pass away before they do. Your pension partner can complete a waiver giving up that right, which will allow you to select a single lifetime pension option and name other beneficiaries as recipients of your pension benefit.
Given the role a pension partner plays in SFPP, it’s important to keep that information up-to-date. To ensure your pension partner status and information is still accurate, or to make changes, contact us.