Guide for plan members
Municipal Pension Plan is committed to helping you make the most of your pension. This guide is a provincial requirement. Please use the links at right to explore the topics most relevant to you.
When you can retire
The age at which you apply for your pension will affect your monthly lifetime pension payment.
As required by the Income Tax Act, you must begin receiving your pension no later than the end of the year in which you turn 71, even if you are still working.
Your normal retirement age and earliest retirement age depend on whether you work in public safety. If you work in public safety as a police officer or firefighter, your normal retirement age is 60 and your earliest retirement age is 50.
For all other members of BC's Municipal Pension Plan, your normal retirement age is 65 and your earliest retirement age is 55.
If you are an inactive member, you may apply to begin receiving your pension as early as:
- Age 50 for police officer or firefighters in member group 2 or 5
- Age 55 for all other members of the plan
Qualifying for an unreduced pension
If you retire before your normal retirement age, your age at retirement and years of contributory service will determine if you are eligible for an unreduced pension.
If you do not apply to start your unreduced pension when you are eligible, you will not be entitled to have your pension backdated to a previous date. You are responsible for choosing the date your pension will start and you must apply to start your pension.
You will receive an unreduced pension if, at the date of your retirement, you are:
Group 1 members (all members except police and firefighters)
- 55 years old and your age plus years of contributory service equals 90 or more (this only applies to service before January 1, 2022)
- 60 years old with two or more years of contributory service
- 65 years old
Group 2 or 5 members
- 50 years old and your age plus years of contributory service equals 80 or more
- 55 years old with two or more years of contributory service
- 60 years old
Qualifying for a reduced pension
You will receive a reduced pension if, at the date of your retirement the following apply.
Group 1 members (all members except police and firefighters)
For service before January 1, 2022:
- You are at least 55 years old and your age plus years of contributory service is less than 90
For service on and after January 1, 2022:
- You are at least 55 years old but under 60 with any amount of contributory service
- You are at least 60 years old but under 65 with less than two years of contributory service
Group 2 or 5 members
- You are at least 50 years old but less than 60 and your age plus years of contributory service is less than 80
- You are at least 55 years old but less than 60 with less than two years of contributory service
To learn more about how the changes may affect your pension, sign in to My Account and use the personalized Pension Estimator to find out what your monthly pension might be based on your salary and years of service.
You may want to talk to an independent financial advisor about which start date is best for you and your situation.
How we calculate your pension
Pension formulas for the plan’s different member groups may change over time, as determined by the Municipal Pension Board of Trustees.
Calculating your reduced pension
If you decide to retire early and you do not meet the criteria for an unreduced pension, your pension will be reduced. The bridge benefit (if applicable) is also proportionately reduced.
The amount of your pension will be reduced based on a combination of:
- The member group you are in
- When you earned your service
- Your contributory service
- Your age when you start receiving your pension
- Your age when you end your employment
If you do not work in public safety as a police officer or firefighter, you are a member of group 1.
Reduction rates by member group and service earned
|For service earned
|Before January 1, 2022
If you have at least two years of contributory service: 3% or 5%* per year before age 60, or your age plus years of contributory service is less than 90 (the “rule of 90”)—whichever results in the lowest reduction
If you have less than two years of contributory service: 3% per year before age 65
|As of January 1, 2022
If you have at least two years of contributory service: 6.2% for each year your age is less than 60
If you have less than two years of contributory service: 5.2% for each year your age is less than 65
|Group 2 or 5
If you have at least two years of contributory service: 3% or 5%* for each year before age 55 or your age plus years of contributory service is less than 80 (the “rule of 80”)—whichever results in the lowest reduction
If you have less than two years of contributory service: 3% per year before age 60
*The 3% reduction rate applies when you end employment if you meet the minimum age requirement:
If you do not meet the minimum age requirement, your pension will be reduced by five per cent per year.
Reductions are prorated by month for partial years.
If you left your employer before September 30, 2015, please contact the plan as different rules may apply.
Your pension is a secure, lifetime income source after you retire. In addition to the financial security it provides you, your pension can also provide financial care for your beneficiaries after your death. Your beneficiaries can be family members, friends, charities or organizations that are important to you.
If you die before you retire, the plan will pay a pre-retirement survivor (death) benefit to your beneficiary(ies).
If you die after you retire, the plan may pay pension benefits to your beneficiary(ies) based on the pension option you chose when you retired.
Your pre-retirement beneficiaries are entitled to a portion of your pension should you die before retirement, but not after. You may name them again or another beneficiary(ies) when you apply for your pension.
It’s a good idea to talk with an estate planner, lawyer or other adviser to determine the best choice for you when it comes to naming beneficiaries.
There are two default beneficiaries: your spouse or your estate.
Your spouse is automatically your beneficiary when you die. Your spouse is either the person you are married to or in a common-law relationship with for more than two years.
However, your spouse can choose to give up their right to the pre-retirement survivor (death) benefit or pension benefit they would normally receive when you die. They do this by signing a waiver.
If you do not have a spouse or if your spouse has given up their right to a pre-retirement survivor benefit or pension benefit, you can name other people, charities or organizations as your beneficiaries.
You may also name a trust for a beneficiary. This is helpful in cases where a beneficiary is a minor at the time of your death or if you have a beneficiary who is not able to manage their own finances.
You can name one or more alternate beneficiaries for each beneficiary. This means that if a beneficiary dies before you, the alternate beneficiary(ies) will receive the pension benefit when you die.
Your estate is automatically your beneficiary when you die if you do not have a spouse and have not named a beneficiary. Your executor will be responsible for distributing the pension benefit. If you do not have a legal will, an administrator will be appointed.
You can also name your estate as your beneficiary. If you do, the pension benefit will be paid to your estate and distributed according to the instructions in your will.
Sign in to My Account to view your current beneficiary information.
Preparing for retirement
When it’s time to apply for your pension, you have some important decisions to make. These decisions will affect the financial future of you and your loved ones. Take time to review the available resources and gather the documents you’ll need.
Looking for more information? Visit the links in the Related Content box for more details on the topics in the checklist.
One year before you retire
□ Get a pension estimate. Use the Personalized Pension Estimator in My Account to explore your pension options instantly.
□ Take a webinar or online course. Approaching retirement is offered as a 75-minute instructor-led webinar or 45-minute online course.
□ Consider your beneficiaries. Think about who you will name as your primary beneficiary and alternate beneficiaries. Your spouse is automatically your primary beneficiary.
□ Learn about retirement health coverage. You can access extended health care and dental coverage through the plan when you apply for your pension.
□ Maximize your pension. You may be able to transfer prior service from another plan or buy back service for an approved leave. There are deadlines to apply.
□ Confirm your age and identity. Submit verification documents to the plan in My Account. Go to Personal Information in your My Account profile.
- If you changed your name, submit documents to show proof of your new legal name.
□ Tell us if you have or had a spouse. We need to know if you have a current or former spouse. Go to the Spouse Information section in your My Account profile.
□ Tell us how to divide your pension. This is necessary only if you are separated from a spouse and they have a claim to a portion of your pension. Upload your separation agreement or court order in your My Account profile.
□ Contact Service Canada. You may be eligible for the Canada Pension Plan and/or old age security pension. These may provide other sources of retirement income. Find out if you’re eligible and how to apply.
□ Book a one-on-one appointment with us. Ask a trained representative questions you have about your individual situation.
□ Talk with an independent financial advisor. They can help determine which pension option is best for your financial situation.
□ Inform your employer. Contact your employer(s) in writing to arrange your last day of paid employment. You must fully terminate all employment in the Municipal Pension Plan in order to collect your pension.
90 days before your pension effective date
You can begin your pension application 90 days before you’d like your pension to begin. Make sure you apply at least 30 days before your pension effective date (the date you’d like to retire).
Apply for your pension online in My Account. Or request a paper application package. Visit Applying for your pension, under Pension Basics for next steps.
Guide for plan members: links to additional information