Characteristics of a locked-in retirement account (LIRA)

A locked-in retirement account (LIRA) is a special type of registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) into which a person can transfer the amounts that are in a supplemental pension plan, a voluntary retirement savings plan (VRSP) locked-in account or a life income fund (LIF).

Unlike a regular RRSP, the amounts in a LIRA are locked-in and can only be used for retirement income. Amounts cannot be withdrawn from an LIRA, except under certain circumstances in which a refund is allowed.

A person can hold an LIRA until 31 December of the year in which he or she reaches age 71.

What to do to receive a retirement income

An LIRA cannot be used to provide an income, since it is intended to accumulate retirement savings.

To receive a retirement income, the holder must transfer the LIRA into an LIF or use those amounts to purchase a life annuity from an insurer. There is no minimum age to make this type of transfer. However, the transfer could be delayed if the investments have not yet reached maturity. The holder must make the transfer before the end of the year in which he or she reaches age 71, regardless of the maturity date of the investments.


It is possible to contact a financial institution that offers LIRAs or LIFs. The contact information may be included in the documents (e.g., investments summary) sent to the holder of the LIRA. If necessary, consult the list of Financial Institutions Offering LIRAs or LIFs This link will open in a new window..

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