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Defined benefit pension plans

Collecting your defined benefit pension at retirement Add to ...

Most plans set retirement at age 65, but you can retire earlier and still receive a pension.

The retirement age for most defined benefit (DB) plans is 65. That means you can retire and receive your pension at that age or later. Many plans also let you retire early, typically from age 55, but your pension may be reduced because you are receiving a pension earlier and collecting it longer.

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Some plans let you receive your full pension before age 65 if you have reached certain milestones, for example:

  • age 60 with 10 years of service,
  • age 55 with 30 years of service, or
  • “factor 90” (if your age plus your years of service with your employer equal 90 or more).

Tip: Check your plan’s age and service milestones carefully before you make a decision to retire early. You could avoid a reduction to your pension if you wait until key milestones are met.

Pension for your spouse

If you have a spouse at the time of your retirement, your spouse will continue to receive 60% of your pension if you die first. This is called a “survivor pension” and is a mandatory requirement of most plans. However, you and your spouse may waive your spouse’s right to the survivor pension. You may also have the option of increasing it to a higher percentage.  

Content in this section is provided in partnership with Investor Education Fund, a non-profit organization founded and supported by the Ontario Securities Commission that provides unbiased and independent financial tools to help Canadians make better money decisions. To find out more, go to: GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca

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