3 types of unions are recognized under the
RREGOP and the PPMP:
- Civil union
- De facto union
The spouse of a member or beneficiary of a public-sector pension plan could be entitled, depending on the type of union, to:
- The partition of the family patrimony after a divorce, legal separation, annulment of marriage or dissolution of a civil union
- The partition of benefits accrued under the pension plan when de facto spouses
stop living together
- A surviving spouse's benefit in the event of
Marriage is the lawful union between two people under the conditions provided for by law for the purpose of living together.
There are 2 different types of marriages:
Marriage approved and celebrated in accordance with the religious beliefs recognized by a country or the State. In Québec, religious marriage refers to a civil marriage, which meets certain requirements under the
Civil Code of Québec. It is celebrated during a religious ceremony.
Nonreligious marriage approved and celebrated by a civil authority. The vast majority of marriages celebrated in Québec are recognized everywhere.
The recognition of a marriage is immediate. This type of union gives entitlement to partition of the family patrimony, particularly in the event of divorce or legal separation, as well as a survivors' benefit in the event of death.
A civil union is a legitimate union between two people who decide to officially live together without entering into a civil or religious marriage. Once the civil union has been celebrated, the Directeur de l'état civil issues an act of civil union, which is the official document attesting to the union. When it came into force on 24 June 2002, the
Act instituting civil unions allowed the union of two persons of the same sex or different sex.
Civil unions are only recognised in Québec. Since the federal government does not recognize civil unions, persons must qualify as de facto spouses (or common-law partners) within the meaning of the
Income Tax Act (Canada) and meet at least one of the following conditions. They must:
- have been living together in a conjugal relationship for at least 12 continuous months
- be parents of a child by birth or adoption
- have custody and control of his or her spouse's child (or had custody and control immediately before the child turned 19 years of age); the child must be wholly dependent on him or her for support.
If the persons qualify as spouses, they are covered by the provisions of the
RREGOP and the
PPMP relating to partition of the family patrimony and survivors' benefits
De facto union
A de facto (common-law) union is when two persons have been living together for a certain time and are united by particular emotional and economic ties. When this type of union is recognized, it gives entitlement to the partition of benefits accrued under a public-sector pension plan in the event the union breaks down. De facto union also gives entitlement to surviving spouse's benefits in the event of death.
To be considered valid, the de facto (common-law) union must respect the conditions relating to:
- the legal definition of spouse
- the spouses' civil status
- the existence of a conjugal relationship
- the length of the conjugal relationship
To be considered de facto spouses under
RREGOP or the
PPMP, the spouses must present themselves publicly as spouses and live in a conjugal relationship, i.e. they and must prove they were in a conjugal relationship for:
- at least 3 years preceding the date on which they stopped living together or the death of the member or beneficiary
- The year preceding the date on which they stopped living together or the death of the member or beneficiary if, during the union:
- a child has been or is to be born of the union;
- the spouse has adopted the other spouse's child;
- the spouses adopted a child together.
For more information
Whether they are married, or in a civil or de facto (common-law) union, it is important for those affected to know how a breakdown of their
death could affect their benefits under a public-sector pension plan.