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Getting ready to retire?

What does retirement mean to you? Golf? Travel? Time with the grandchildren?

When must I decide?

At SPP, retirement means living your dreams no matter what age you are. You can start receiving benefits from the plan any time after the age of 55, even if you are still employed, or you can wait until the end of the year of your 71st birthday. CRA requires your funds to be converted into retirement income no later than December of the year you turn 71.

To start receiving your benefits, contact our office at 1-800-667-7153. We will talk with you about your options and send you the forms needed to get the process started.

What are my options?

  1. Choose an annuity from SPP and receive a guaranteed pension for the rest of your life.
  2. Transfer your funds to a locked-in account at a financial institution.
  3. Combine the annuity with the transfer option.

The choice is yours!

Annuity Options

Annuities are for life! They are contracts that provide a guaranteed monthly payment for your lifetime in exchange for a lump sum of money. The payment takes your account balance, interest rates and the date the annuity is purchased, the type of annuity selected, and life expectancy of the member and the member's spouse, if applicable, to determine what your monthly pension amount will be. SPP offers three types of annuities.

Life only annuity

This option provides you with the largest possible monthly pension guaranteed for your lifetime. Payments stop when you die. There is no death benefit payable to a beneficiary.

Refund life annuity

This annuity type provides the assurance of a death benefit to your beneficiary in the event you do not receive your account balance at retirement in pension payments. If you name your spouse as beneficiary of your account, CRA allows death benefits to be transferred, tax-deferred, directly to his or her SPP non-retired account or to an RRSP, RRIF or guaranteed Life Annuity. Tax-deferred transfer options are also available if the beneficiary is a financially dependent child or grandchild. You may change your beneficiary any time before your death. Please contact SPP or CRA for further information.

Joint survivor annuity

This annuity type is payable for your life and your spouse's. Benefits are based on your age and the age of your spouse. In the month following your death, payments continue to your surviving spouse for the remainder of his or her lifetime. Continuing benefits are selected at the time of retirement as 60%, 75% or 100% of annuity payments. If your spouse predeceases you, the payments stop with your death.

Transfer Options

Between the ages of 55 and 71, you have the option to transfer your SPP account to a Locked-in Retirement Account (LIRA), Prescribed Registered Retirement Income Fund (PRRIF) or life annuity at another financial institution. The following is a brief summary of each option. These options are subject to a transfer fee.


A LIRA is an account to hold pension money and is basically what your active SPP account provides you except you cannot make further contributions. If you do not need income, a LIRA allows you to manage your money personally until you choose a retirement option. Funds remains tax sheltered until transferred to a life annuity or PRRIF. The LIRA is only available until the end of the year in which you turn 71.

This option is subject to a transfer fee.

Prescribed RRIF

A PRRIF is a retirement option that will provide you with annual income. Your maintain control of the investments and investment earnings continue to accumulate on a tax-sheltered basis. CRA determines the minimum amount an individual must take as income each year but there is no maximum. Funds withdrawn are taxable income in the year received.

Life annuity from another financial institution

This type of annuity is purchased from another financial institution. Payments must be guaranteed for life by the issuer and cannot be paid out in a lump sum.

Retirement review


  • Members cannot outlive money
  • Provides guaranteed, stable income for your lifetime
  • SPP manages the investment decisions
  • No additional fees


  • Ongoing investment decision required
  • Tax sheltered
  • No contributions or withdrawals
  • Holder assumes market risks and your account balance can increase or decrease depending on investments, choices and market volatility.
  • May be subject to commissions, investment or management fees.


  • Ongoing investment decisions required
  • Funds are tax sheltered until received as income
  • Flexibility in annual income
  • May outlive your money
  • Holder assumes market risks and your account balance can increase or decrease depending on investments, choices and market volatility.
  • May be subject to commissions, investment or management fees.

Combination option

This option allows you to use a portion of your balance to ensure a guaranteed monthly payment for your lifetime by purchasing one of the annuities offered at SPP and still have the flexibility of managing your investment and income by transferring the remaining funds to a LIRA or PRRIF.

Lump Sum

If your account balance is small, you may be able to have your account paid to you in a lump sum instead of receiving monthly payments.

The small pension payout is available to retiring members whose monthly pension is less than $23.04.

If you qualify under this option you can choose to have the funds paid directly to you, less withholding tax, or it can be transferred to an RRSP or RRIF at another financial institution. The small pension amount may change on January 1 each year.

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