COVID-19: Retraite Québec remains close to its clients

 

Message from Mr. Després, President and Chief Executive Officer, Retraite Québec

Dear clients,

In this period of uncertainty and upheaval in our daily lives, I wish to assure you that Retraite Québec has implemented all the measures necessary to ensure we maintain a fundamental element of our mission: that you receive all the payments to which you are.

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Frequently asked questions

Due to the exceptional situation resulting from COVID-19, and in order to contribute to limiting the spread of the virus, we have instated preventive measures to ensure your security and that of our employees. The measures may have repercussions on steps you have already taken with our agency. Therefore, we ask that you consult the questions and answers that we have prepared for you. 

Available services

In order to limit the spreading of COVID-19, Retraite Québec suggests that you use our online services or that you contact us by telephone or email instead of coming to our offices in person. 

We wish to remind you that you can send your forms or documents via our Sending a document online service, which is complementary to our online services and available at all times.

You can reach us by:   

Should you at any time require more information on our different services, follow us on social media, such as Facebook This link will open in a new window. and LinkedIn This link will open in a new window..

Given the exceptional circumstances that COVID-19 engenders, Retraite Québec recommends you contact us via our online services, or by telephone or email.

At our points of service, we must ensure that your state of health does not pose a threat to other clients or employees. Therefore, our employees will clean the counter space after responding to each client. If you decide to come to one of our offices in person, please read the government instructions and hygienic measures posted at the entrance.

We will also ensure that the service you request is an essential service.

You must respect the isolation period recommended by public health officials. To ensure the security and health of our clients and employees, you cannot show up at one of our points of service until your isolation period has ended.

Yes, waiting times may be longer given that our employees are also subject to government directives and certain employees may be affected by school and daycare closings or required to work remotely. Rest assured that we are taking the necessary steps to continue offering you the high-quality service you expect.

Pensions and benefits

Despite the current situation, Retraite Québec wishes to confirm that payment of benefits will be maintained according to scheduled payment dates. There is no need to worry about the matter.

If you receive your benefits by cheque, why not sign up for direct deposit?

Rest assured that despite the current situation, Retraite Québec can confirm that it will ensure that the electronic payment of benefits is made on the scheduled payment dates.

However, if you receive your payment by cheque, it may not be delivered to you or it may arrive late, depending on your country of residence. Consult the list This link will open in a new window. of areas where mail delivery has been suspended or delayed.

Important! During the COVID-19 pandemic, sign up for direct deposit to receive your pension securely and on time.

Despite the current situation, the administrator of your supplemental pension plan must take the necessary steps to maintain your pension payments according to scheduled payment dates. If you have any questions regarding the matter, please contact the Direction des régimes complémentaires de retraite by telephone ou email.

In the context of the COVID-19 outbreak, temporary easing measures have been implemented to assist administrators of supplemental pension plans. Once parliamentary proceedings resume, the measures may be subject to specific legislative provisions.

With regard to supplemental pension plans administered by Retraite Québec following the bankruptcy of your employer or an order or judgment rendered under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, we wish to confirm that the payment of pensions will be made according to scheduled payment dates

Despite the current situation, Retraite Québec wishes to confirm that payments for Family Allowance, the Supplement for Handicapped Children and the Supplement for Handicapped Children Requiring Exceptional Care will be made according to scheduled payment dates. You do not have to worry about the matter.

If you receive your benefits by cheque, why not sign up for direct deposit?

Retraite Québec suggests that you file any new application for a pension or benefits online. If you require assistance, you can call us, and a member of our staff will assist you.

Easing measures

If you are receiving the financial assistance, you received a Family Allowance annual notice. The notice gives you the amounts that you should receive from July 2020 to June 2021. The Family Allowance amounts indicated on the notice are based on certain criteria, in particular, your family income as entered on line 275 of your 2019 Québec income tax return.

If your family income was not yet available when we sent you your annual notice, Retraite Québec will pay you a temporary amount until September 2020. The calculation of the temporary income is based on the most recent data Revenu Québec has on your family income, which is the combined income of both spouses, and your family's current composition.

Once Revenu Québec has sent us the information regarding your family income for 2019, we will calculate and pay you the amounts to which you are entitled. If your family income for 2019 is different from that used to calculate your temporary payment, you could receive an additional amount or you may have to repay us an amount. If applicable, you will receive a new notice providing you with the information. Therefore, you and your spouse must produce your income tax return if you have not yet done so.

Following a change in your family situation (union, a change in or end of custody, etc.), you received a notice informing you of a change in your allowance, which can affect the amount to which you are entitled. Should you receive any overpayments, you will be required to repay them.

We understand that making repayments during the COVID-19 pandemic may be difficult. In order to ease the burden on your financial situation, note that you can contact Retraite Québec at any time to determine a repayment method and make an arrangement for repaying your debt.

Contact us by telephone from Monday to Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  • Québec region: 418 643 3381
  • Montréal region: 514 864 3873
  • Toll-free : 1 800 667 9625

We understand that making repayments during the COVID 19 pandemic may be difficult. In order to ease the burden on your financial situation, note that you can contact Retraite Québec at any time to determine a repayment method and make an arrangement for repaying your debt.

Contact us by telephone from Monday to Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  • Québec region: 418 643 3381
  • Montréal region: 514 864 3873
  • Toll-free: 1 800 667 9625

No, the deadline will not be extended. However, the rules have been temporarily eased with regard to applications for buy-backs.

Within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, persons who are unable to obtain help from their employer to complete the Application for buy-back This link will open in a new window.  (form 727A) can complete it themselves and send it directly to Retraite Québec, regardless of whether it is incomplete. In addition, the Attestation de période de rachat This link will open in a new window. (form 728; French only), that must be completed by the employer concerned and normally enclosed with each application for a buy-back, is not required either.

Retraite Québec will contact the employers concerned once it is possible to do so in order to obtain all the information required to process the applications for buy-backs.

The date on which Retraite Québec receives the application for a buy-back form is the date on which the application begins being processed, and will be used to calculate the cost of the requested buy-back. The current situation will not result in any increase in the cost of a buy-back.

Please note that the easing described above is temporary. It applies only during the confinement period prescribed by the government.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, temporary easing measures have been implemented to assist administrators of SPPs.

The measures covering SPPs are:

  • extending deadlines for certain regulatory and legal obligations
  • updating the degree of solvency that must be taken into account for payments (transfers and refunds) under defined benefit pension plans
  • maintaining the status of active members of a plan if there is a temporary suspension of the accrual of benefits or payment of contributions
  • removing the requirement to produce an actuarial valuation as at 31 December 2020 for defined benefit pension plans in the private sector whose funding level as at 31 December 2019 is less than 90%.

For additional information, consult the questions and answers on the temporary easing measures regarding SPPs.

Given the exceptional context of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have implemented a temporary measure to allow for the easing of the rules for Life Income Fund (LIF) withdrawals in 2020. Once parliamentary proceedings resume, the measure may be subject to specific legislative provisions.

Therefore, for 2020, any persons holding an LIF who were under age 70 on 31 December 2019 may obtain temporary income subject to the same conditions than the persons between the ages of 54 amd 64 on 31 December 2019. 

For persons holing an LIF who were under age 54 on 31 December 2019, these are the main changes:

  • income from other sources, such as employement earnings, are no longer taken into account;
  • withdrawals may be completed in a lump sum or in several payments during 2020, in conformity with the provisions of the contract;
  • they may have more than one LIF.

Persons holding an LIF who were at least age 65, but under age 70 on 31 December 2019, are not entitled to temporary income in conformity with normal rules. Therefore, the temporary measure allows them to obtain the income, which can reach 40% of the maximum pensionable earnings (MPE), that is, $23 480 for 2020.

At any age, when a temporary income is paid, the life income is adjusted to take it into account. The adjustment depends on the amount of the temporary income that is withdrawn, the account balance and the age of the person that holds the LIF.

For additional information, consult the questions and answers on the temporary easing measure regarding LIFs.

If you are unable to find the answer to any of your questions, please contact the Direction des régimes complémentaires de retraite by telephone or by email at rcr@retraitequebec.gouv.qc.ca.

In the context of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have implemented a temporary measure regarding voluntary retirement savings plans (VRSPs). Once parliamentary proceedings resume, the measure may be subject to specific legislative provisions.

The measure provides for a 3‑month extension of the deadlines granted to VRSP administrators to:

  • have financial reports prepared;
  • submit annual information returns (AIR) and the required documents to Retraite Québec.

Therefore, the deadline for VRSP administrators to submit the AIR as at 31 December 2019 to Retraite Québec has been extended to 30 September 2020.

For additional information, contact the Direction des régimes complémentaires de retraite by telephone or by email at rcr@retraitequebec.gouv.qc.ca

Disability pension under the Québec Pension Plan

Yes.

Retraite Québec has taken all steps necessary to ensure applications are processed in due time. However, delays may be greater in cases where employees responsible for processing files are unable to make it to work. The time required for Retraite Québec to obtain additional medical documents from professionals in the health sector may also increase. The documents come from hospitals, medical clinics and other government agencies that are also facing the same challenges as Retraite Québec regarding the repercussions of COVID-19.

If the person processing your file is not isolated from work due to COVID-19, you can contact him or her. Should that person be absent, you will be informed via a message on his or her voicemail.

Retraite Québec suggests that you complete the form available on our website and mail it to us. Although our points of service have remained open, we recommend you use the postal service when filing applications; we also recommend you use the telephone or our website should you require any information. If you are required to respect the isolation period suggested by public health authorities, we ask that you do not go to one of our points of service to ensure the security of other clients and our employees.

No. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit is not considered an employment earning. Therefore, receiving the benefit does not affect the amount of or your entitlement to a disability pension or the additional amount for disability under the Québec Pension Plan.

If you are receiving a disability pension or an additional amount for disability under the Québec Pension Plan and you would like more information on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, please contact the federal government.

No. The Incentive Program to Retain Essential Workers benefits are not considered employment earnings. Therefore, receiving benefits does not affect the amount of or your entitlement to a disability pension or the additional amount for disability under the Québec Pension Plan.

If you are receiving a disability pension or an additional amount for disability under the Québec Pension Plan and you would like more information on the Incentive Program to Retain Essential Workers, please contact Revenu Québec This link will open in a new window.

Normally, payment of the disability pension ends when your total employment earnings for three consecutive months exceed the maximum allowable amount for that period ($4162 in 2020).

An administrative relief in place for the pandemic to be taken into account allows a beneficiary to earn employment earnings up $16 650 for 2020, regardless of the months during which those employment earnings were earned. This measure offers greater flexibility for workers who wish to take the opportunity to temporarily increase their employment earnings.

Therefore, in 2020, you can accrue employment earnings up to $16 650 without any consequence on your disability benefit under the Québec Pension Plan.

The administrative relief in place for the pandemic to be taken into account allows a beneficiary to earn employment earnings up $16 650 for 2020, regardless of the months during which those employment earnings were earned.

However, if your employment earnings for 2020 exceed $16 650, that relief will not apply, and the usual rules will be observed. According to the usual rules, payment of the disability pension ends when your total employment earnings of three consecutive months exceed the amount allowed for that period ($4162 in 2020). Payment of the pension therefore ends in the last month of that period.

Example: The beneficiary of a disability pension earns $1000 per month from January to March and $1600 per month as of April 2020. Therefore, the first period of three consecutive months that exceeds $4162 is March, April and May ($4200 of employment earnings for those three months). Since that person earned more than $16 650 in 2020 ($17 400), the relief does not apply, and the last month for which the pension is payable will be May 2020. The amounts paid after that date will therefore have to be repaid.

If you are certain that your 2020 employment earnings will not exceed the annual allowable amount of $16 650 through the administrative relief, you do not have to notify Retraite Québec.

To avoid having to repay an amount to which you are not entitled, you must notify Retraite Québec if you believe that your 2020 employment earnings will exceed $16 650. Retraite Québec will have to be notified as soon as you expect that your employment earnings for three consecutive months exceed the allowable amount of $4162 (which corresponds to an average of $1387 per month).

You can file a new application for disability benefits. In addition, if less than 24 months after payment of your disability pension has ended, you can use the abridged form to file your new application. We will process your application on a priority basis and check whether we can quickly reinstate your pension payments.

Given the exceptional circumstances, we have eased the rules in effect regarding the maximum employment earnings for beneficiaries of a disability pension or the additional amount for disability. Therefore, in 2020, you can accrue employment earnings up to $16 650 without any consequence on your disability benefit under the Québec Pension Plan.

Medical assessment

Should your appointment be cancelled, a Retraite Québec employee will notify you.

In order to have your appointment with a specialist cancelled, contact the person who sent you the letter informing you of your medical assessment. Do not call your physician directly to cancel your appointment. If you no longer have the name of the person who sent you the letter, please call an agent who will transfer you to the correct person.

Yes, it may be postponed. If so, an agent from Retraite Québec will contact you.

Retraite Québec may be required to cancel certain medical assessments. Should your assessment be cancelled, we will take all necessary action to rectify the situation and ensure that we can continue processing your application.

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