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Getting ready for retirement

Retirement is one of life's major milestones. 
You'll need to plan and consider a variety of options – some may support your personal vision of retirement better than others.

n addition to your own retirement goals, you'll have to consider when retirement might be achievable for you and the type of retirement income you'd like to set up.

It's important to learn about your options so you can make decisions appropriate for your situation. A great first step is to make a written retirement plan. 
We recommend that you start early so that you can make adjustments if you need to.  

Not sure where to start? Our experienced, professional
staff are here to help. Please contact us.


When can I retire?

Retirement age

  • The CSS Pension Plan's normal retirement age is 60.

  • You may qualify for early retirement when you reach age 50 or earlier if your age plus years of continuous service with one or more participating employers equals a factor of 75. Your early retirement date is indicated on your annual statement.

  • ​Your age plus years of continuous service can equal 75 before age 50 if you started working for a participating employer before age 25.


Working past age 60

If you decide to work past age 60, you and your employer will continue contributing to the Plan either until your employment terminates or until December of the year you turn age 71 – whichever comes first.

You must convert your CSS account balance into retirement income before the end of the year you turn 71.


Your pension account

In a defined contribution (DC) pension plan like CSS Pension Plan, your contributions, employer's contributions and investment earnings make up your pension account balance.

The size of your balance at retirement will be an important factor when determining how much your monthly retirement income will be.

Whether you decide to retire at age 50, 60 or 71 (or somewhere in between) – it's up to you.

Generally your account balance grows over time. So delaying retirement tends to increase your retirement income for two reasons – your account balance is likely to be higher, and the length of time that you'll need a retirement income is likely to be shorter.

If you retire at age 50, for example, your expected monthly pension payments will be lower than if you retire at age 60.


To check your account balance​, sign up or log in to myCSSPEN.​​

Retirement income options

Once you retire, the pension funds you've accumulated over the years will become your retirement income.

You'll have various retirement income options to consider, so it's important that you take some time to figure out the best course of action.

Keep in mind that your options will vary depending on the pension laws​ for your province.

You can set up retirement income payments either with the CSS Pension Plan or your financial institution.

Benefits of remaining in the CSS Pension Plan include:

  • Continued access to the Plan's investment funds
  • Continued personalized assistance from the Plan's Retirement and Pension Advisors
  • Substantially lower investment and administrative costs
  • No commissions or trailer fees
  • A continued voice in the Plan through delegates

Reasons why you might consider leaving the Plan are:

  • Access to a broader array of investment options
  • Consolidating your pension funds with other assets
  • Moving your funds to a provider or advisor located closer to you

Options with the CSS Pension Plan​

Options outside the Plan


Spousal rights

If you have a spouse (married or common-law), you must select a specific monthly pension that will provide a lifetime monthly payment to your spouse should you die first (unless your spouse waives this entitlement).

Your spouse must consent in writing before you can start VB payments, transfer any funds from the Plan into a LIF or PRRIF, or formalize any of the retirement income options listed on this page.

If you have a spouse, he/she must consent before you can exercise any right to unlock pension funds.

Making the decision

Your retirement choices will depend on several factors, including your objectives, personal situation and the market/economic environment.

How you choose to use your CSS funds is a complex decision. Our Retirement and Pension Advisors are here to help if you wish. Contact us​ if you need assistance.

Some factors to consider when making the decision are:

  • Do you want a fixed retirement income, or are you willing to accept a variable income?
  • Will you be comfortable managing investments after retirement?
  • If you have a spouse, does he/she have his/her own source(s) of retirement income?
  • What other savings and assets might be available for retirement?
  • Is it more important to maximize your retirement income or make sure that unspent funds remain with your family or estate?
  • What public benefits (CPP/OAS/GIS) do you expect to receive?

Accessing your funds

Before you can draw retirement inc​ome, you have a little paperwork to do.