Separation and the CPP

Question: When a couple separates, the man at age 62 is drawing from his CPP plan. The wife never paid in and raised a family. Is she entitled to any of the pension he is getting now? — Garth

Gordon’s answer: Indeed she is. The official website of the Canada Pension Plan states as follows:

“The Canada Pension Plan recognizes that in a legal marriage or common-law relationship, both spouses or common-law partners share in the building of their assets and entitlements. Among these are Canada Pension Plan pension credits.

“When a relationship ends, the Canada Pension Plan pension credits which the couple built up during the time they lived together can be divided equally between them. This division is called ‘credit splitting’. Credits can be split even if one spouse or common-law partner did not pay into the Canada Pension Plan.”

The site explains credit splitting in this way:

“Generally, the credits of one person, the lower earner, are increased and the credits of the other, the higher earner, are reduced by the same amount. The longer you and your former spouse or common-law partner were together, and the bigger the difference between yo earnings while you were together, the greater the exchange of credits will be.”

For more details, go to

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