The plan changed April 1, 2022, for correctional officers, probation officers and youth probation officers working for BC Corrections.

Summary of member questions

Starting retirement

What is the minimum number of years of service required before I can start collecting my pension?

There is no minimum amount of service required for active members. You are automatically vested* in the plan. “Being vested” means you are entitled to receive a pension benefit. For example, if you work for one year only and retire, you can collect a pension benefit based on that one year of service (although it wouldn’t be very much). The more you work, the more service you earn. The maximum pensionable service you can earn is 35 years.

*If you terminated employment before September 29, 2015, you were not vested if you were under age 60 with less than two years of contributory service.

Can you explain how the rule of 85 works?

The rule of 85 applies if you retire before age 55. In that case, your age plus contributory service must equal 85 or more to receive an unreduced pension. If your age plus contributory service is less than 85, your pension will be reduced.

If you want to see how different retirement ages affect your pension, use the personalized pension estimator in My Account to calculate different estimates.

Did correctional employees ever have the rule of 80?

No. The rule of 85 has been in place for correctional employees since the plan entered joint trusteeship in 2001.

The Municipal Pension Plan has a rule of 80 for public safety members who work as police or firefighters.

Is there a standard age for unreduced pension?

If you retire at age 55 or later, your pension will be unreduced. If you are under age 55 and you retire, your pension will be reduced unless your age plus years of service adds up to 85 (this is the rule of 85). The earliest you can retire as a correctional employee is age 50.

Does a reduced pension ever become unreduced after you retire?

No, once your pension is reduced it remains reduced for life.

I have a temporary market adjustment. Is it pensionable?

Yes, it is pensionable.

If I receive my Canada Pension Plan benefit early, can I still get the bridge benefit?

Yes. Canada Pension Plan, or CPP, is a federal program separate from PSPP. Your bridge benefit is not financially connected to CPP. You can apply for CPP at age 60 and get it for life. You can collect the bridge starting as early as age 50 and get it until age 65. Between the ages of 60 and 65, you can collect both.

Why does my pension decrease at age 65? Is this because I will be receiving CPP?

The bridge benefit is payable only from your date of retirement until age 65 or death, whichever comes first. Typically, most people start CPP at age 65, but the bridge and CPP are not financially connected.

What is a temporary annuity?

If you retire before age 65, you may choose a temporary annuity to “top up” your pension. A temporary annuity increases your monthly payment until you reach age 65 or your death, whichever comes first.

It’s important to understand a temporary annuity will reduce your lifetime pension to pay for its cost. The younger you are when you retire, the bigger the impact on your pension after age 65. A reduced lifetime pension may have a significant financial impact on your spouse or dependants.

You can use the personalized pension estimator in My Account to see how a temporary annuity would affect your basic lifetime pension. This will help you determine what your pension amount will be before and after age 65.


Benefits coverage

If I live in another country, will I still have health and dental coverage?

Green Shield Canada is the extended health care and dental coverage provider. It is national company and you’re covered anywhere in Canada. It does not include out-of-country coverage.

Green Shield Canada suggests buying separate travel insurance if you’ll be out of the country temporarily, and they offer travel insurance. You can also get travel insurance through the British Columbia Government Retired Employees’ Association if you join once you retire. You can read more on their website:


Contributing to a pension

If I am off work on workers’ compensation benefits, am I contributing to my pension?

If you’re receiving a workers’ compensation benefit directly from WorkSafeBC, you are considered as being on leave without pay and you are not contributing to your pension.

If WorkSafeBC pays your employer and your employer pays you, your pension may be affected if you are not being compensated at 100 per cent. If you are receiving reduced pay, your pension will be credited with the reduced amount only.

You may be able to purchase service for your leave. Please contact the plan to find out if you are eligible to purchase service. Note that there is a five-year window to purchase service.

When I first started, I was unaware you could buy back pensionable service. Why is there a five-year window?

The five-year window of opportunity is a plan rule that was introduced in 2002. It provides members with adequate time to collect funds for the purchase and provides Pension Corporation with a reasonable time frame to ensure the service history is correct and right funds are remitted. You can find more information about purchasing service in your annual Member’s Benefit Statement and under Taking time off work and buying service.


The accrual rate change

Why was the accrual rate raised to 2.25 per cent and not to 2.33 per cent, according to the public safety occupations section listed with Canada Revenue Agency?

In consultation with the BCGEU component 1 executive, the board determined the 2.25 per cent accrual rate based on the valuation surplus of the plan and the recommendations of the plan’s actuary. The 2.33 per cent is the maximum rate permitted by the Canada Revenue Agency, and the board has discretion to select a rate up to that amount. The valuation surplus was used for other plan improvements as well, such as the rate stabilization account.


The refund cheques

How do we calculate what our refund will be in October 2022?

Your refund will be 0.35 per cent of your pensionable salary earned between August 1, 2018 and March 31, 2022. Each member will have a different amount based on their individual salary. Pension Corporation will not be able to provide estimates until year-end employer reporting is complete at the end of May 2022. Pension Corporation will mail refund cheques by the end of October 2022.

Will the refund cheque be attached to a pay cheque, or will it be separate?

Pension Corporation will mail the refund cheque to you separately. The envelope will contain a cover letter, cheque and T4A.

Will the refund cheque be taxable?

Yes. The refund will be taxed as a lump-sum payment in accordance with the Income Tax Act. For information about taxes, visit the Canada Revenue Agency website or speak to a tax advisor.

Will the refund cheque be on the T4?

No. You will receive a T4A with your refund cheque.


Spouses and beneficiaries

What is the earliest a member should apply for insurance (pension option) to cover their spouse in case the member dies after retirement?

You choose a pension option for your spouse when you retire. Your choice determines the monthly pension amount paid to you each month, and the amount that will be paid to your spouse once you die.

See Choose your pension option for details. You can also take the Approaching Retirement online course or participate in an instructor-led webinar.

Does a common-law spouse have to lay claim to your pension or is it automatic?

The Pension Benefits Standards Act, Family Law Act, and Plan Rules define a common-law partner as a spouse. If you are married or in a common-law relationship of more than two years, your spouse is automatically your sole beneficiary. If you separate from your common-law spouse, they are no longer your beneficiary and you can then nominate a new beneficiary (your estate, a person or a charitable organization). Under the Family Law Act, a common-law spouse can submit a claim and/or secure their entitlement with a finalized separation agreement or registered court order to receive their share of your pension.

Can I add a secondary person as a beneficiary to my pension? For example, when I die, my wife receives my full pension. When she dies, can a secondary beneficiary (such as a daughter) receive my pension? If so, will she continue with the monthly benefit or will she receive a lump-sum payment, and how is that calculated?

In this example, it depends on when you pass away—before retirement or after retirement—and if you are retired what pension option you selected.

Generally, your spouse is automatically your beneficiary. You can name your child as an alternate beneficiary in case both you and your spouse die.

Learn more about naming beneficiaries by visiting Beneficiaries. You can also take the Approaching Retirement online course or participate in an instructor-led webinar.