Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Eligibility Requirements Explained

Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to receive the CPP for the remainder of your life, you must be at least 60 years old and have made at least one contribution to the plan.

Those contributions can either have been made by you while working in Canada, or can be in the form of credits received from a former spouse or common-law partner after your relationship has ended.

How old you were when you started your pension, the amount and length of time you’ve contributed to your CPP and your average earnings during your working life will all affect the value of your pension.

Pension payment amounts can vary quite a bit from person to person, however in 2021, the maximum monthly amount was $1,203.75, and the average monthly CPP payment among retirees was $619.44. 

For more details on CPP payments, click here.

Did You Know?

The most accurate way of finding out how much CPP you’ll get is by accessing your My Service Canada Account (MSCA) or contacting the CPP office.

On your My Service Canada Account, you can access all the documents you need to get an estimate of your CPP. You can either pull up your CPP Statement of Contributions and calculate your estimated CPP earnings yourself using this calculator, or request an estimate based on their calculations.

Eligibility For Those Who Have Lived in Multiple Countries

If you’ve lived or worked in Canada and another country outside of Canada, then you could still be eligible for CPP.

The only condition is that this country must have a social security agreement with Canada – in other words, an agreement that ties together the pension programs of both countries for the individuals that have lived or worked in both countries.

That way, your periods of contribution in the foreign country could be counted as contribution periods in Canada for the purposes of increasing your CPP payments.

For the list of countries that have a social security agreement with Canada, click here.

If you’re living outside of Canada by the time you want to receive your CPP payments, you can do so just as you would if you were living in Canada.

As a non-resident, you will only be charged a withholding tax on your CPP.

Senior couple eligible for CPP on the beach

Working While on CPP

So long as you’re under the age of 70 years old, you can continue to contribute to your CPP if you’re still working.

Every contribution you make while still working will be added to your CPP post-retirement benefit and paid the following year, increasing the overall value of your CPP.

Also, if you are over the age of 65 and are still contributing to your CPP, any higher earnings you get will replace periods of lower earnings from your past.

This will help increase your pension amount further.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I get CPP if I never worked?
  • How much is CPP at 60?

Tara Al-Khudairi is a freelance personal finance writer who has worked in the financial services industry since 2017. She graduated from McMaster University with a degree in Finance and is pursuing her CFA.

She has worked at a major Canadian financial institution in various client-facing advisory roles, starting as a bank teller and working up to a Client Services Associate within the Asset Management division. She specializes in simplifying concepts of personal finance for people of various financial backgrounds.

When she’s not examining the markets looking for the next SHOP.TO, she’s either practicing yoga, planning her next vacation, or has her nose buried deep in a book.