What types of service you can buy

Learn about the types of service you can buy to potentially increase your future pension.

Buying service for a leave of absence

During your career, you might take a leave from work – such as a maternity, parental, education or general leave.

A leave of absence   will affect your pension. During an unpaid or partially paid leave, you are not making your regular contributions to the pension plan nor are you accumulating your regular service.

We calculate your pension using a formula based on the average of your five highest years of salary and your years of pensionable service. The more years of pensionable service you have, the greater your pension will be when you retire.

Leave of absence with partial pay

During a leave with partial pay, your pension contributions and pensionable service   are adjusted to your salary. So if you receive half your regular pay during a leave, you will be making half your regular pension contributions and accumulating half your regular pensionable service. You may be eligible to buy the difference between your partial leave and your normal assignment.

Unpaid leave of absence

During an unpaid leave, you do not contribute to the pension plan and you do not accumulate any pensionable or contributory service.    

However, you may be able to buy service for the time you took off work on an approved leave.

You can buy service for an approved leave if:

  • You were an active plan member   when you took the leave
  • You buy the entire leave period, unless the purchase makes your service exceed 35 years in total or 12 months in a calendar year
  • You apply to buy the leave within 30 days of the date your employment with the employer with whom the leave occurred ends or within five years of the end of your leave, whichever is earlier

Will my employer share the costs of buying service?

For general leaves you pay the full cost to buy your service.

There are only a few types of leaves where your employer will share the costs of buying back service, with your employer paying their portion and you paying your portion. These leaves are most commonly maternity, parental and compassionate care.

Lifetime maximums

The Income Tax Act rules allow you to buy a lifetime maximum of:

  • Five cumulative years of general leaves
  • Three cumulative years of maternity, parental or adoption leaves

If you decide not to return to work after a leave and want to buy the service, you must apply while still on leave. We will calculate the cost for you to buy this service once your employer confirms your last day of work. The deadline for this is five years from when you return from your leave or within 30 days of ending your employment.