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Survivor benefits

Valuable survivor benefits include a lifetime pension for a surviving spouse that includes inflation protection, a minimum guarantee of payments should you and your spouse both die early in retirement, and pre-retirement death benefits.

Survivor benefits after retirement

If you have an eligible spouse at the time of your death in retirement, they will receive a survivor pension for life equal to 60% (or 75% if you choose that option when you retire) of the CAAT pension you were receiving.

The survivor pension receives the same conditional inflation protection increases as member pensions.

Under the provisions of the 60-month minimum guarantee, your beneficiary could receive a payment if you and your eligible spouse die early in retirement.

If you have no eligible spouse, but you have an eligible child, a children’s pension may be payable until the child turns18.

Post-retirement spouse
If you do not have an eligible spouse when you retire, or that spouse pre-deceases you, and you have a subsequent spouse at the time of your death, that person would be your eligible spouse, provided they qualify under applicable pension legislation.

Your eligible spouse is as defined under the applicable legislation.

Different provinces may have different minimum requirements, based on their pension legislation. The CAAT Plan provisions outlined on this site are based on the Ontario Pension Benefits Act. If you report to work in a province other than Ontario, check below to see what benefits may be impacted by different legislation.

Definition of spouse, by province

Definition of Spouse

For the applicable definition of spouse, please refer to the description under the province of your employment.

Alberta

  1. the person who, at the relevant time, was married to the member and has not been living separate and apart from the member for three or more consecutive years; or
  2. if there is no person to whom (1) applies, the person who immediately preceding the relevant time, had lived with that other person in a conjugal relationship
    1. for a continuous period of at least three years or,
    2. of some permanence, if there is a child of the relationship by birth or adoption.

British Columbia

  1. a person who is married to the member, and who was not living separate and apart from the member for more than two years immediately prior to the relevant time; or
  2. if (1) does not apply, a person who, at the relevant time, was living and cohabiting with the member in a marriage-like relationship for a period of at least two years immediately preceding the relevant time.

Manitoba

  1. a person who is married to the member; or
  2. with the member, registered a common-law relationship under the Vital Statistics Act; or has been cohabiting with him or her in a conjugal relationship:
    1. for a period of at least three years, if either of them is married; or
    2. for a period of at least one year, if neither of them is married.

Nova Scotia

The person who

  1. is married to the member or
  2. is married to the member by a marriage that is voidable and has not been annulled by a declaration of nullity; or
  3. in good faith, has gone through a form of marriage with the member that is void and who is cohabiting or, if they have ceased to cohabit, has cohabited with you within the 12-month period immediately preceding the date of entitlement; or
  4. is a domestic partner within the meaning of Section 52 of the Vital Statistics Act; or
  5. is not  married to the member, but cohabiting with him or her in a conjugal relationship for:
    1. a period of at least three years, if either of them is married; or
    2. a period of at least one year, if neither of them is married.

Ontario

  1. a person who is married to you and is not living separate and apart from you; or
  2. a person who is not married to you and is living with you in a conjugal relationship:
    1. continuously for a period of not less than three years; or
    2. in a relationship of some permanence, if you are both the parents of a Child as set out in the Children’s Law Reform Act.

Quebec

  1. a person who is married to or in a civil union with you;
  2. if you are not married or in a civil union, a person and who has been living in a conjugal relationship with you, for a period of not less than three years, or for a period of not less than one year if:
    1. at least one child is born, or to be born, of your union;
    2. you have adopted, jointly, at least one child while living together in a conjugal relationship; or

The birth or adoption of a child during a marriage, civil union or conjugal relationship prior to the current period of conjugal relationship may qualify the person as a spouse.

Saskatchewan

  1. a person who is married to you; or
  2. if you are not married, a person with whom you are cohabiting as spouses and who has been cohabiting continuously with you as your spouse for at least one year.

If you die before retirement

All Plan members are entitled to survivor benefits, including members who die while working for a participating employer, and those who are on an approved leave of absence or disability leave.

If you have an eligible spouse: Your eligible spouse, as defined above, is the sole recipient of the pre-retirement death benefit. No other survivor benefits are paid. Your spouse can choose between a lump sum payment, an immediate monthly pension, or a deferred monthly pension payable at the age of 65.

If you don’t have an eligible spouse: Your designated beneficiaries (or estate if you did not name any designated beneficiaries) will receive a payment equal to the commuted value of your pension. If you are employed in Ontario or Nova Scotia, your eligible children may be entitled to a children’s pension paid until they reach age 18. Your designated beneficiaries (or estate if you did not name any designated beneficiaries) could also receive a payment.

If you have no eligible spouse and the children’s pension does not apply: Your designated beneficiaries (or estate if you did not name any designated beneficiaries) will receive a payment equal to the commuted value of your pension.

Separation or divorce after retirement

If you and your eligible spouse separate after retirement, the spouse at retirement is your eligible spouse, and retains the right to a survivor pension, provided you met the definition of spouse under applicable pension legislation.

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