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Canada Pension Plan

Most people over age 18, who are employed, pay into the federal Canada Pension Plan (CPP). CPP provides three kinds of benefits:

  • disability benefits (including benefits for dependant children of disabled contributors)
  • survivor benefits (including a death benefit, survivor’s pension and a children’s benefit)
  • retirement pension

How much is received upon retirement?

The amount of any retirement pension will depend on the length of time the person has worked and the amount they have contributed to the plan.

Can pension benefits be shared?

Pension credits earned under the plan by either spouse during their marriage, or by either common-law partner during the time they lived together, may be divided equally between them upon divorce or separation. In this way, a spouse or common-law partner who has worked in the home throughout the relationship, and therefore could not contribute to the plan, will receive some pension benefits upon retirement of the other spouse or partner.

Who qualifies as common-law partners?

To qualify as common-law partners, a couple must have lived together in a conjugal relationship for at least one year and they must have separated on or after January 1, 1987.

Can pension benefit credits be shared after a separation or divorce?

A separated common-law partner may apply for a split of CPP credits after they have been separated at least 12 consecutive months. Separated common-law partners must also apply within four years from the date of separation.

Spouses who separated or divorced on or after January 1, 1987, and lived together for at least 12 consecutive months during the marriage, can obtain a share of the other spouse’s credits.

A separated spouse may apply for a credit split at any time after their separation, but the federal government will not process their request and divide credits until they have been separated for at least 12 consecutive months. If one of the spouses dies, the application must be made within three years of the death. Divorced spouses can ask for a division at any time after the divorce.

The provisions of a spousal or common-law partner agreement signed before June 4, 1986, may prevent a division of CPP credits. If a couple’s family property is governed by Manitoba law and they signed an agreement on or after June 4, 1986 to opt out of credit splitting, they are not bound by that agreement. They still have the right to a division of the credits.

Where can I get more information?

For further information on the division of Canada Pension Plan credits, contact Service Canada:




1-800-277-9914 toll-free (English)
1-800-277-9915 toll-free (French)
1-800-255-4786 toll-free (TTY)


Service Canada Income Security Programs
P.O. Box 818 Stn. Main Street
Winnipeg MB R3C 2N4

In person

Locate the nearest Service Canada office in Manitoba at the following website: Service Canada office locations in Manitoba