Pre-retirement death


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

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.

Survivor benefits

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:
  • A member's eligible spouse will receive survivor pension equal to 50% of their pension or a lump sum payment equal to the member's contributions, adjusted for interest.
  • If the member did not have an eligible spouse, their eligible children will receive the above survivor pension or lump sum payment (divided among them equally). If the member's children are under 18, the benefit will be paid "in trust" and/or to the courts, until they turn 18.
  • If the member did not have any eligible children, their designated beneficiary(ies) will receive a lump-sum payment equal to the member's pre-1987 contributions, with interest. The designated beneficiary(ies) is the person or persons the member named to receive any refund of contributions.
  • If the member did not have a designated beneficiary(ies), the above lump-sum payment will go to their estate.

Important: Members who have less than 10 years of PSPP membership/pension credit, should contact OPB for additional information regarding their pension benefits.

  • An eligible spouse can choose between
    • receiving an immediate PSPP pension; or
    • a lump-sum payment equal to the commuted value of the pension; or
    • a deferred PSPP pension.
  • If the member doesn't have an eligible spouse, their eligible child(ren) will receive a survivor pension equal to 50% of the member’s lifetime pension related to their post-1986 pension credit until the child(ren) ceases to be eligible.
  • If the member does not have an eligible child(ren), their designated beneficiary will receive a lump-sum payment equal to the Commuted Value (CV) of their post-1986 accrued pension.
  • If the member does not have a designated beneficiary, their estate will receive the above lump-sum payment.
  • Excess contributions, if any, will be paid to the member's estate.

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.

Situation Required Notification
Pre-retirement death of an active member
  • The employer must submit a termination/retirement transaction through the portal
  • Once notified, we will ask the deceased member's spouse, or the estate executor/executrix must submit
    • Affidavit of Spousal Relationship on Death of Member/Pensioner (OPB 1054), if applicable
    • A certified true copy of the member's Death Certificate or Funeral Director's Statement
    • Either
      • a certified true copy of the member's Will, or
      • a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee (where there is no Will)
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

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

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.