This subsection describes what happens when a member dies before retirement and who may receive the death benefits.
Pre-retirement death benefits
This section describes who may receive the PSPP survivor benefits, It includes these topics:
- Survivor benefit eligibility
- Pre-retirement death of an active or deferred member, and
- Survivor benefits.
Survivor benefit eligibility
When a member dies before retirement, the survivor benefits may be payable to the member's
- Eligible Spouse, or
- Eligible Child(ren), including any Disabled Dependant Child(ren), or
- Designated Beneficiaries, or
- failing these, the Estate.
Note: Definitions of the above list of eligible beneficiaries may be found in our glossary
Pre-retirement death of an active or deferred member
This describes the possible survivor benefits when a member dies before retirement
- while still employed, or
- during the deferral period when the member has
- terminated membership
- elected a deferred pension, and
- not received any pension payment.
If the member's pension benefit includes pension credit before 1987, the benefit payable is split between what they earned prior to January 1, 1987 and after December 31, 1986 because the pension legislation on survivor benefits was amended at that time.
Survivor benefits will be paid as follows:
|For benefits based on pension credit accrued before January 1, 1987:||For benefits based on pension credit accrued since December 31, 1986:|
Important: Members who have less than 10 years of PSPP membership/pension credit, should contact OPB for additional information regarding their pension benefits.
Pre-Retirement death notification
This subsection describes the forms and documentation required by OPB upon the death of a member or deferred member and includes these topics:
Forms and documentation
These are the forms and documents required for different situations upon the death of a member before retirement.
|Pre-retirement death of an active member||
|When the forms and documents are not already on file||We will request the surviving spouse provide:
What OPB does
When OPB receives the required documentation, OPB
- calculates the death benefit and
- communicates the details of any benefit payments and/or additional required documentation to the surviving spouse or estate representative.
Pre-retirement death of a deferred member
OPB communicates directly with the surviving spouse or estate representative, as required, at the time of death.
For the Employer
No forms or documents are required from the Employer.
In the event that the employer receives notification of death and/or inquiries for survivor or death benefits, the employer should
- notify OPB directly, or
- request the surviving spouse or estate representative to contact OPB.
Waiver of pre-retirement death benefits
This section describes the situations where a spouse may agree to waive rights to pre-retirement death benefits in favour of another party. It includes these topics:
- Situations where a waiver may be used
- Death benefit eligible for waiver
- Process for waiving the death benefit
- Cancellation of waiver before death, and
- Member's shortened life expectancy.
Situations where a waiver may be used
A member who has a spouse may want a person or persons other than the spouse to receive the spouse's pre-retirement death benefit.
Death benefit eligible for waiver
The pre-retirement death benefit may be waived based on the accrual period as summarized below.
|Accrual Period||Death Benefit...|
|Before January 1, 1987||may not be waived by the spouse.|
|After December 31, 1986||May be waived by the spouse in favour of another party or the member's Estate, as indicated in the member's beneficiary designations on file.|
Process for waiving the death benefit
A spouse may waive entitlement to a pre-retirement death benefit under the PSPP.
In order to waive rights to this death benefit, the spouse must
- complete, sign and date the FSCO Form 4 - Waiver of Pre-Retirement Death Benefit(opens in a new tab)
- have the form witnessed on the same date, and
- submit the form to OPB.
Once the waiver has been completed and submitted to OPB, the member must designate new beneficiaries online.
Cancellation of waiver before death
A spouse may cancel a waiver at any time before the member's death.
To reinstate eligibility for the spousal survivor benefit, the spouse must
- cancel the waiver in writing, and
- submit the cancellation directly to OPB
Changes to PBA
At one time, both the member and spouse had to
- waive the spouse's rights jointly, and
- rescind the waiver jointly.
Effective March 3, 2000, the Pension Benefits Act (PBA) was amended to
- allow the spouse who submits or had submitted a waiver to cancel it without the member's signature, and
- apply such cancellation retroactively to waivers jointly signed by the member and spouse that previously required the signatures of both member and spouse.
Member's shortened life expectancy
When the life expectancy of a member is less than 24 months, the member may apply to
- terminate membership in the PSPP, and
- receive the Commuted Value of the pension prior to retirement,.
In this case, the member's Eligible Spouse or Designated Beneficiary(ies) must submit a Beneficiary Waiver of Pre-Retirement Death Benefit Form (OPB 1047)
Important: This does not constitute the full process and documentation required for member's termination due to shortened life expectancy.