On October 1, 2021, Bill 8, The Pension Benefits Amendment Act came into force.

The changes affect:

  • Locked-In Retirement Accounts (LIRAs)
  • Life Income Funds (LIFs)
  • Prescribed Registered Retirement Income Funds (PRIFs)
  • Pension plans 

Here are the key changes:

  • A member who transfers their pension benefit to a LIRA or LIF can now:
    • Unlock the whole amount, after reaching age 65
    • Unlock all or part of the amount on grounds of financial hardship, at any age
  • A one-time transfer of up to 50% of the amount under a LIRA by an individual aged 55 or older is now allowed.
  • The Office of the Superintendent – Pension Commission (OSPC) no longer needs to approve requests for a one-time 50% unlocking of an individual’s locked-in pension funds.
  • Regular filing to the OSPC is required for the statement of investment policies and procedures.
  • More flexibility to divide pension assets after a relationship breakdown.
  • A separated spouse or common-law partner can now be named as a beneficiary for the purpose of survivor benefits.
  • If allowed under the pension plan, a member who's still employed after reaching the normal retirement age can remove their account balance without having first terminated employment.
  • It includes rules to address a vacancy on a pension committee.

What does this mean to you?

There may be changes to processes and plans. We’re reviewing these amendments to identify any action needed. If there are impacts to plans or processes, we’ll send further communications with next steps.


Please contact your Sun Life Group Retirement Services representative.