Temporary part-time work arrangement (Fraser decision)

In late 2020, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in Fraser v. Canada (Attorney General) that members of a federal government pension plan were eligible to buy back full-time pension credit for periods of employment when they temporarily reduced their working hours. OPB is taking proactive steps to ensure that the PSPP complies with the law following this decision.

What does this mean for you?

Starting on August 1, 2021, active, deferred, and retired PSPP members will have the option to buy back eligible full-time pension credit for a period of active PSPP membership during which the member temporarily reduced their working hours (e.g., from full-time to part-time) under an arrangement agreed with the employer.

Full-time credit can be bought back for a temporary part-time work arrangement only if the following criteria are met:

  • The part-time working arrangement is temporary.
  • The employer and member have agreed to the terms of the temporary part-time work arrangement, including its duration, in advance.
  • The conditions in the federal Income Tax Act are met. These include:
    • 36-month minimum service rule: A member may only accrue full-time credit for a period of reduced pay if the member has been employed with the employer (or a predecessor employer) for at least 36 months at the start of the period. Please note that the 36-month rule has been suspended for periods in 2020 and 2021.
    • Five-year limit cumulative limit on eligible periods of temporary absence and/or reduced pay: The maximum amount of post-1990 credited service that a member can accrue for unpaid leaves of absence and periods of reduced pay is five years (plus an additional three years for child rearing). Any credit that is bought back as a temporary part-time work arrangement (i.e., the difference between the part-time hours worked and the hours prior to that arrangement) is included in this maximum limit.

If you are currently working in an eligible part-time work arrangement, then you will have the option to apply to buy back the full amount of credit after the end of your period of temporary part-time work. If you apply within 24 months of the end of that period, your contributions will be matched by your employer.

Important: Buybacks outside this 24-month window will be at actuarial cost, which is likely to be more expensive.

If you are an active member who participated in an eligible temporary part-time work arrangement in the past, a new buyback window of 24 months has been established to give you the option of buying back full-time credit for that period with employer-matched contributions. This window will open on August 1, 2021.

Important: To benefit from employer-matching contributions for this period of service, you must apply to buy back this credit by July 31, 2023. Buybacks outside this 24-month window will be at actuarial cost, which is likely to be more expensive.

If you were a member who participated in an eligible temporary part-time work arrangement in the past, a new buyback window of 24 months has been established to give you the option of purchasing full-time credit for that period with employer-matched contributions. This window opens on August 1, 2021 and closes on July 31, 2023.  

During this window you have the option to purchase some or all of any eligible past service, and you must pay in a single instalment. Once you recieve your costing quote, you will have access to a Client Service Advisor to help you decide if this is worthwhile. If you proceed with the buyback, your deferred pension will be recalculated, and you will be provided with an updated entitlement. If you are in the process of terminating your PSPP membership, your termination will be placed on hold until the buyback is complete. This is the only type of service deferred members can apply to purchase.

Important: You must apply to buy back this credit by July 31, 2023. Buyback applications will not be accepted after that date.

If you were a member who participated in an eligible temporary part-time work arrangement in the past, a new buyback window of 24 months has been established to give you the option of purchasing full-time credit for that period with employer-matched contributions. This window opens on August 1, 2021 and closes on July 31, 2023.

During this window you have the option to purchase some or all of any eligible past service, and you must pay in a single instalment. Once you recieve your costing quote, you will have access to a Client Service Advisor to help you decide if this is worthwhile. If you proceed with the buyback, your pension will be recalculated, and you will be provided with an updated entitlement. This is the only type of service retired members can apply to purchase.

Important: You must apply to buy back this credit by July 31, 2023. Buyback applications will not be accepted after that date.

How do I apply?

  1. Obtain a copy of the Temporary Part-Time Work Arrangement Application to Purchase Pension Credit (OPB1151) on our Forms page.
  2. Complete the Client Information sections of the form, then submit to the employer with whom you participated in a temporary part-time work arrangement for completion of the Employer Information sections.
  3. The employer will submit the form to OPB, and your costing quote will be generated and sent directly to you.

Note: If you do not have any eligible periods of temporary part-time work, you do not have to take any action.

Stay informed

We will update this page as more information becomes available. We will also send more information by OPB e-alert as important dates approach. If you haven’t signed up for e-alerts, this is the most effective and efficient method for OPB to send you updates. If you haven’t yet, create an e-services account or sign up for e-alerts.

If you have any questions or need e-services assistance for registering or signing up for e-alerts, please contact our Client Care Centre toll-free at 1-800-668-6203 or 416-364-5035 or email us at clientservice@opb.ca. Our Client Care Centre is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.