Retirement is an important step in an employee’s employment journey. The following is a road map to help CT group members plan for retirement, formally retire and provide post-retirement considerations. This guide is intended to be a repository of information for active members and retirees.

Planning for retirement

Whether you’re in the early stages of your career or a well-seasoned public service professional, it’s never too early or too late to gather the right tools that will help you prepare yourself for retirement. The first place to start is by reviewing the TBS basic guide to retirement along with the Basic Pension Calculator and video tutorials. The Pension Center Orientation Kit also covers common questions and answers that will guide your planning. Another option to considering in your planning is pre-retirement transition leave.  

Retirement planning courses

We suggest looking into retirement planning courses from the Retirement Planning Institute. These courses will help prepare you for retirement by limiting and ultimately removing the stresses associated with retiring.

It is recommended that these courses be taken in three phases:

  • within the first few years of joining the public service or while you’re in your early 40s;
  • 5 to 10 years later and
  • in the last year before your selected retirement date.

Keep in mind these are simply recommended dates and it is encouraged to take the training three times during your career.

Since the courses are not free and are also based on “operational requirements” we encourage you to speak to your manager/supervisor to approve the expenses.

You can sign up for training here.

In the case of a medical retirement you should also consult the Pay Center information booklet on disability pension benefits. For early retirement or lay-off, others consideration may apply, so please consult the following pension options guide. If you are faced with medical retirement or early retirement, we encourage you to contact our ACFO-ACAF Labour Relations team for assistance.

How to Formally Retire

Once you have chosen a retirement date, you should send the Pension Centre a copy of your resignation letter and your manager’s acceptance letter so it can be added to your pension file. The accepted resignation letter should also be sent to the Public Service Pay Centre or your departmental compensation services. For a step-by-step guide to retiring, see the following Pay Centre information bulletin. All Pension Plan forms are available here.

To continue your PSHCP coverage when you retire, you must authorize monthly PSHCP contributions to be deducted from your pension cheque. This authorization is provided when you complete a PSHCP Pensioner Application Form, which you can also obtain from Compensation or your pension office. More information on this is available on the PSHCP website.

Similarly, the Pensioner’s Dental Services Plan is voluntary, and arrangement must be made to opt into this benefit prior to retirement. For more information, consult the PDSP Booklet and Enrollment form.

Other pensioner benefits to consider are the Canadian Pension Plan or Quebec Pension Plan and the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

Post-retirement considerations

  • Common questions we get from retired member pertain to:
    • processing of pension benefits,
    • retroactive pay adjustment,
    • Phoenix errors that persist in the course of retirement and
    • re-employment in the federal public service.

Processing of pension benefits

Ordinarily, the Pension Centre issues a first superannuation benefit payment within 45 calendar days of the date of retirement (assuming all of the information and documentation is on file). If you have not received a first payment within this time frame, contact the Pension Centre.  

Impact of Retroactive Wage Adjustments

When retroactive wage increases are issued as a result of collective bargaining for a period where you were employed in the public service, this may have an impact on your pension benefits. This would occur if the retroactive salary adjustment related to the years of service impact the calculation of your average pensionable salary and Supplementary Death Benefit. In these cases, the Canada Pension Centre will recalculate the former employees’ pension and inform them in writing of any changes. Contact the Pension Centre if you retired and have questions concerning your pension benefits.

Phoenix Pay Errors

Phoenix pay issues affecting retired members vary from irregularities (overpaid, underpaid, not paid) on acting pay, regular pay, vacation pay and severance but also in retroactive pay, income tax, and expenses not being reimbursed while employed in the public service. If you have outstanding pay issues after retirement, have filed a Pay Action Request with no resolution in sight, contact our ACFO-ACAF Labour Relations team for assistance.

Re-employment in the federal public service

Retirees should carefully consider the ramifications of re-employment in the federal public service. For example, when a term position of less than six months is continued with no substantive break in service or when an assigned work week increases above 12 hours, the employee is required to contribute to the PSSA. Furthermore, entitlement to a PSSA annuity/allowance is suspended until subsequent termination of employment. For more information on the repercussions of re-employment consult this information bulletin.

More information and where to get help

If you wish to stay informed and involved with ACFO-ACAF, we are currently looking into starting an Associate Membership program. If this is something that would interest you, we encourage you to contact membership services.