Youtube facebook twitter PinterestLinkedin Instagram

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.

Read more

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 will receive the Family Allowance annual notice by the end of July 2020. The notice will give you the amounts that you will 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 is not yet available when we send your annual notice, Retraite Québec will pay you a temporary amount for a maximum of 3 months, that is, 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 by 1 June 2020 at the latest.

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 outbreak, we have implemented 2 temporary easing measures to assist administrators of supplemental pension plans. Once parliamentary proceedings resume, the measures may be subject to specific legislative provisions.

The measures covering supplemental pension plans are:

  • the extension of deadlines for certain regulatory and legal obligations
  • an update to the degree of solvency that must be taken into account for payments (transfers and refunds) under defined benefit pension plans.

For additional information, consult the questions and answers on the two 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.

In 2020, you can accrue employment earnings up to $16 651 without any consequence on your disability benefit under the Québec Pension Plan.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit amounts a person receives are not considered employment earnings. Therefore, the benefit has no impact on the maximum employment earnings that you can receive without affecting your entitlement to your disability benefit under the Québec Pension Plan.

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 $16 651 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.

Temporary easing measures regarding the administration of supplemental pension plans

Extension of deadlines for providing certain documents to Retraite Québec or members

In general, several deadlines for providing documents to Retraite Québec or members have been extended by three months. See the following table for further details.

The extension applies to all the deadlines that had not expired by 12 March 2020, but which would have expired in 2020.

Impacts on a plan whose fiscal year ended on 31 December 2019

Supplemental pension plan (SPP)Current deadlineExtended deadline
Annual statement for members and beneficiaries30 September 202031 December 2020
Triennial or annual actuarial valuation, actuarial valuation for an amendment to the plan or for the use of excess assets30 September 202031 December 2020
Actuarial valuation for a purchase of annuitiesWithin 4 months of the date of purchaseCurrent deadline +3 months
Actuarial valuation required by Retraite QuébecWithin 60 days of the date of the valuationCurrent deadline +3 months
Notice regarding the plan's financial situation30 September 202031 December 2020
Actuarial valuation for a negotiated contribution plan30 June 202030 September 2020
Recovery plan for negotiated contribution plansWithin 18 months of the valuation dateCurrent deadline +3 months
Application for registration of amendments provided for in the recovery planWithin 24 months of the valuation dateCurrent deadline +3 months
Annual information return (AIR) and financial report30 June 202030 September 2020
Notice of annual meeting30 September 202031 December 2020
Termination reportWithin 90 days of receiving the termination reportCurrent deadline +3 months
Termination or employer withdrawal report (if the employer is insolvent)Within 120 days of the date of the termination or withdrawalCurrent deadline +3 months

Yes, the deadline in that case has also been extended.

We do not expect to extend the deadlines for statements of cessation of membership to members, given that upon the loss of employment, former employees may need their funds. Although retirement savings are generally locked‑in, some exceptions apply. It is therefore important to not to extend the deadlines so that employee can access those funds.

Yes.

Yes.

Update to the degree of solvency that must be taken into account for payments under pension plans

The declining financial markets have resulted in a significantly decreasing degree of solvency over the last few months. Without this temporary measure, the pension fund is at risk of paying out more than the current financial situation can allow for.

The measure is designed to:

  • protect members and beneficiaries who remain in the plan, by halting payment of transfer values that are too high
  • maintaining the possibility for members to have their benefits transferred out of the plan, thus providing any needed access to liquidity through Life Income Fund (LIF) withdrawals.

The measure applies to all payments between 17 April 2020 and 31 December 2020.

Yes.

The actuary must take into account, in particular, the real rate of return of the pension fund, changes in interest rates on a solvency basis and contributions that were made since the plan's last complete actuarial valuation.

Furthermore, it is not necessary to provide the estimate unless Retraite Québec requests it.

End date of active membershipDate at which the degree of solvency must be estimated
21 February 2020 31 March 2020
13 March 2020 31 March 2020
24 April 2020 31 March 2020
10 July 2020 30 June 2020
13 November 2020 30 October 2020

The pension committee must contact those members to explain that the rules regarding payments have changed. A member in that situation should then confirm with the pension committee whether he or she still wishes to have the transfer made in light of the fact that the degree of solvency used for the payment has changed.

Should the 60-day deadline granted to the pension committee for the transfer have already expired, the deadline can be extended.

Yes. It will allow Retraite Québec to continue monitoring the financial situation of pension plans as at 31 December 2019.

Until the most recent degree of solvency has been sent to Retraite Québec through an actuarial valuation or statement covering the plan's financial situation, the most recent estimated degree of solvency in 2020 must be used for paying benefits to members and beneficiaries.

It is compulsory.

Residual benefits are amounts (including interest) to which members or beneficiaries are entitled but which could not be paid to him or her when the initial payment was made.

Example:

The value of a member's benefits at the end of his or her active membership, on 5 April 2020, is $10 000. The pension committee informs the member that, in conformity with the last paragraph under section 66 of the Supplemental Pension Plans Act, his or her benefits will be refunded. On 15 April 2020, the last notice, referred to in section 119.1 of the Act and sent to Retraite Québec, indicated a degree of solvency of 80%. However, the degree of solvency as at 31 March 2020 was 70%.

The member will receive an initial payment of $7000. The residual benefits total $3000, and, once paid into the fund, they will be refunded to the member. (To make this example simpler, we have not included any interest.)

The provision applicable to initial payments is the most advantageous.

However, if the plan text so provides, a member or beneficiary can receive all or part of the payment of the balance of the value of the benefits that was not paid to him or her in the initial payment (residual benefits). In such a case, the residual benefits must first be paid into the pension fund.

Example:

The plan provides that a member is entitled to the highest amount between the amount he or she will receive under the temporary measure or under the permanent measure. If the permanent measure is applied, the degree of solvency is 80%. If the temporary measure is applied, it is 70%. The value of the member's benefits is $100 000.

During the initial payment, the member will receive $70 000. The residual benefits are $10 000, and once that amount has been paid into the pension fund, the residual benefits can then be paid to the member. (To make this example simpler, we did not include any interest.)

No. The Regulation respecting supplemental pension plans was amended in this respect in 2018. Since 1 April 2018, the entire amount owed to him or her must be paid to the spouse, with interest, regardless of the plan's degree of solvency. The temporary measure does not change the rule.

No.

No.

It is the date we must use to calculate the value of the benefits, that is, most often, the date on which a person ended his or her active membership in a plan, the date of the transfer request for the value of the benefits or the date on which the person dies.

Example:

A member's active plan membership ends on 1 May 2020. A statement of cessation of membership on which the value of his or her benefits as at 1 May 2020 is indicated must be provided to him or her.

The plan provides that the member can request the transfer of the value of his or her benefits at any time.

  • The member requests the transfer of the value of his or her benefits within 90 days after receiving his or her statement of cessation of membership, more specifically on 10 August 2020. The transfer will be carried out based on the value of his or her benefits on 1 May 2020 and the degree of solvency as at 30 April 2020 (the last working day of the month preceding 1 May 2020).
  • The member requests the transfer of the value of his or her benefits more than 90 days after receiving his or her statement of cessation of membership, more specifically on 20 October 2020. The transfer will be carried out based on the value of his or her benefits on 20 October 2020 and the degree of solvency as at 30 September 2020 (the last working day of the month preceding 20 October 2020).

Please note that section 143 of the Supplemental Pension Plans Act was amended on 22 February 2018. Since then, we must use the date on which the value of the member's benefits was determined to obtain the applicable degree of solvency.

When the real rate of return of the pension fund cannot be determined, it must be estimated based on the best information available.

Temporary easing measure regarding Life Income Funds

Easing of the rules regarding the withdrawal of locked-in amounts

No. The measure is temporary and will only apply in 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 persons between the ages of 54 and 64 on 31 December 2019.

However, when a temporary income is paid, the life income is adjusted to take it into account, regardless of the LIF holder's age. The adjustment depends on the amount of the temporary income that is withdrawn, the account balance and the holder's age.

Yes. However, the holder must transfer his or her LIRA into an LIF that offers temporary income.

Yes. The rules are the same for persons aged 54 to 64. An amount of $23 480 is therefore the maximum a member can draw as temporary income combining all his or her LIFs, if applicable. 

Persons under age 54 and between ages 65 and 69 should use the schedules for persons aged 54 to 64, that is, Schedules 0.4, 0.8 and 0.9 of the Regulation respecting supplemental pension plans, adapted as needed, particularly regarding the question on age.

For persons under age 54 on 31 December 2019

The measure makes it possible to increase the amount of temporary income because income from other sources, such as employment 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 and they may have more than one LIF.

See Example 1 for more details.

For persons aged 55 to 64 on 31 December 2019

There are no changes for LIF holders aged 55 to 64.

For persons aged 65 to 69 on 31 December 2019

Without the specific measure, LIF holders 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. The temporary measure allows them to obtain income, which can reach 40% of the maximum pensionable earnings, that is, $23 480 for 2020.

See Example 2 for more details.

Examples

Important

For LIF holders who wish to draw temporary income and life income for 2020, an adjusted life income must be calculated.

Adjusted life income = Max {0; ((Account balance × LIF withdrawal factor) µ (Requested temporary income ÷ Factor D))}

whereAccount balance=Account balance as at 1 January 2020
  LIF withdrawal factor=Factor shown in Schedule 0.6 of the Regulation respecting supplemental pension plans
 Factor D=Factor shown in Schedule 0.7 of the Regulation respecting supplemental pension plans

Factor D where an LIF holder is receiving temporary income and is aged 65 or over

AgeFactor D
6510.753
6610.638
67 10.526
6810.417
6910.204

Example 1

Victor is 50 years of age on 31 December  019.

At the start of 2020, he draws $6100 in life income. That amount is the balance of his LIF as at 1 January 2020 ($100 000) multiplied by the applicable LIF withdrawal factor (6.1%).

He did not request temporary income because he expected to earn more than 40% of the MPE in 2020.

With the easing measure, he would like to withdraw temporary income for 2020 in a lump sum.

Before he can receive his temporary income in accordance with the easing measures, it is necessary to calculate the life income to which he is entitled.

Adjusted life income:
= Max {0; (($100 000 x 6.1%) – ($23 480 ÷ 1))}
= $0

Therefore, the total amount available for 2020 in accordance with the easing measure is the adjusted life income plus 40% of the MPE

Total retirement possible for 2020:
= $0 + 40% x $58 700
= $23 480.

Given that Victor has already received $6100 since the beginning of the year, he can draw $17 380 ($23 480 - $6100).


Example 2

Emma is 69 years of age on 31 December 2019.

At the beginning of 2020, she drew $30 800 in life income. That amount is the balance of her LIF as at 1 January 2020 ($400 000) multiplied by the applicable LIF withdrawal factor (7.7%).

She did not draw any temporary income because she was not entitled to do so under the regular rules.

With the easing measure, she would like to withdraw temporary income for 2020 in a lump sum.

Before she can receive the temporary income in accordance with the easing measures, it is necessary to calculate the life income to which she is entitled.

Adjusted life income:
= Max {0; (($400 000 x 7.7%) – ($23 480 ÷ 10.204))}
= Max {0; (($30 800) – ($2301))}
= Max {0; (($28 499))}

Therefore, the total amount available for 2020 is the adjusted life income plus 40% of the MPE.

Total retirement possible for 2020:
= $28 499 + 40% x $58 700
= $51 979.

Given that Emma has already received $30 800 since the beginning of the year, she can draw $21 179 ($51 979 - $30 800).

Other useful link

  • Top of page