Did you know that you can start collecting your Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits early? Even if you are still working? While there are drawbacks, changes introduced in 2012 make it easier than ever to do so.

Please note that the CPP covers all of Canada, except for the province of Quebec, which has the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP).

Reductions to CPP When You Collect Early

Prior to the changes started in 2012, your CPP pension income reduced by one-half percent for each month prior to age 65 for which you received your pension, or 30 percent less if you began your pension at age 60.

In 2016 this amount increased to 36 percent. For example, if you expect your annual CPP pension amount to be $15,000 at age 65 and you choose to receive your CPP pension benefits at age 60, your annual amount changes to $9,600.

As the CPP pension is based on individual contributions, your amount may vary. Every month after age 60 that you postpone receiving your CPP pension adds 0.7 percent back into your pension amount, (8.4% per year) which can add up to a maximum increase of 42% if you start taking your benefits at age 70 (or later). These percentages will be adjusted over time based on the cost of living measured by the Consumer Price Index.

Other Changes Affecting Early Pensions

You can collect your pension early while continuing to work, starting at age 60.

While you are under age 65, you and your employer continue to contribute to the CPP, and these funds increase your pension amount through the new Post-Retirement Benefit, or PRB, effective at the start of the year following your contributions, creating gradual increases to your pension income.

Between the ages of 65 and 70, CPP contributions are voluntary. Your employer must match your contributions if you opt in, and the PRB works as it does prior to age 65.

How to Apply for the CPP

Finding Your CPP Contributions

You can access your CPP contributions through the Service Canada website, or by contacting Service Canada directly for an official statement of contributions. Checking your contributions online requires that you have a My Service Canada Account setup.

Your statement of contributions lists your contributions and pensionable earnings for each year since you turned 18 years old. Note that not all years will be used when calculating your pension.

References & Resources