The Canada Pension Plan (CCP) was established in the 1924 to provide retirement, disability, and survivor benefits. Eligible Canadians must apply for the CCP in order to begin receiving benefits, which involves a few steps.

Key Takeaways

  • Eligible Canadians applying for the CCP need to submit their Social Insurance Number and banking information.
  • Applications can be completed online or printed out and mailed.
  • The typical age to receive retirement benefits is 65, but reduced benefits are available at 60.

Let's take a look at the plan's benefits, who is eligible, and how to apply.

Plan Benefits

The CPP provides monthly benefits to contributors and their beneficiaries upon the contributor's retirement, disability, or death. Benefits can include pension sharing, disability benefits, and credit splitting for divorced or separated couples.  


Working Canadians over the age of 18 are required to contribute a portion of their monthly incomes to the CPP. Almost everyone who works in Canada and contributes to the CCP is eligible to apply.

Those eligible for the CPP include individuals who work in Canada, with the exception of Quebec, which has the Quebec Pension Plan providing similar benefits.

Applicants must have made at least one valid contribution to the CPP to qualify for benefits. The standard age to start getting CPP retirement benefits is 65, but applicants may receive decreased benefits as early as age 60. Alternatively, increased benefits are awarded if the contributor delays applying until age 70 or later.

How to Apply

Before applying, you need to have your Social Insurance Number (SIN) and banking information close at hand. If you wish to take advantage of pension sharing, you must have your spouse or common-law partner's SIN as well.

You must also provide your children's SINs and proofs of birth if you are planning to request the child-rearing provision on your application.

Don't apply until you're ready to begin receiving benefits soon. The maximum time you can apply before the pension starts is 12 months.

To apply for the Canada Pension Plan, you can complete the application online, unless you fall into one of the categories that require you to fill out a paper application and either mail it in or bring it to the Service Canada office closest to you, with various other documents, as specified by the application information.

If you do fill it out online you need to have or create a My Service Canada Account (MSCA). After you submit your application, notice of assessment will be received in the mail between 7 and 14 days.