Can I still get my Canadian pension if I go overseas?

Moving overseas – will it affect how you access your Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and your Old Age Security (OAS)?


Fact checked

Spending time outside of Canada, whether living overseas or travelling extensively for a long period of time, may change the way you receive your Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and your Old Age Security (OAS). Find out more in our guide.

What is the Canada Pension Plan (CPP)?

The Canada Pension Plan is a monthly payment paid out to Canadians who contributed to the CPP during their working years. All employed Canadians over the age of 18 must contribute a portion of their income, which currently sits around 4%, to their Canada Pension Plan. Depending on your employer, this is usually deducted automatically from your paycheque each month.

The benefit of contributing to your CPP is that you’ll receive a monthly retirement pension. As of July 2018, the current CPP payout is equal to 25% of your average earnings on which CPP contributions were made from the age of 18 to 65. As stated by the Government of Canada: “The earnings upon which contributions are made are subject to an annual limit, which, in 2018, is $55,900.”

In 2018, the average monthly CPP benefits in Canada were sitting around $550.

The Canada Pension Plan forms one of the two major components that make up the retirement income system in Canada. The other is Old Age Security (OAS).

What is Old Age Security (OAS)?

Old Age Security (OAS) is a taxable monthly payment that is available to most Canadians over the age of 65. However, those who earn more than $74,788 (current as of July 2018), must pay back a portion of their OAS at a rate of 15% of their net income. Those who have an individual income over $122,843 do not receive OAS.

Access to your CPP and OAS overseas

If you have lived and worked in both Canada and another country, you may be eligible for pensions and benefits from Canada and/or from the other country, depending if Canada and the other nation have a social security agreement.

What is a social security agreement?

A social security agreement is an agreement between Canada and another country that allows coordination of two pension plans, one from each country the person has lived in. Canada has social security agreements with a number of nations worldwide. You should check to see if the other country you have lived or worked in has an agreement with Canada.

Factors to keep in mind:

  • Usually 20 years of living in Canada is required to receive OAS.
  • If less than 20 years, partial OAS can be received if Canada has a social security agreement with the other country of residence. The amount of OAS received will depend on the number of years spent living in Canada.
  • You can sometimes combine pension plan contributions from other countries that Canada has a social security agreement with in order to meet minimum requirements.
  • If you leave the country for more than six months, you are considered a non-resident for that tax year.

Transferring your pension overseas

Receiving your Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS) payments in the local currency can save you money since you will get a more competitive exchange rate and you may pay lower banking fees. You can receive your payments directly into your local bank account if you live in a country that offers the service of direct deposit.

If you don’t or can’t choose to have the money directly deposited, there are other ways to move your CPP and OAS overseas from a Canadian bank account. Your options include:

  • Banks. Some Canadian banks have partner branches in other countries around the world, which can save you plenty of money on fees if you work with the two banks. If not, banks tend to charge high transfer fees and give poor exchange rates.
  • Specialist money transfer services. Focusing on sending money overseas only, these companies give customers competitive exchange rates and charge low transfer fees.

Read more about specialist money transfer services here.

Who should you tell if you’re travelling or moving overseas?

You should inform the Government of Canada if you’re going to be relocating overseas. This will ensure you receive information regarding how to access your Canada Pension Plan and your Old Age Security. You should tell the department if you:

  • Decide to move and live overseas.
  • You take an absence from Canada for more than six months of the year.
  • Are covered by an international social security agreement.

Transferring your pension back to Canada

Even if you decide to move back to Canada and want to transfer your pension back, you can easily do so by sending the funds using a money transfer service. If you directly receive your payments into your overseas bank account, you can have them directly sent into your Canadian bank account. Any additional funds in your overseas account can be transferred using the services of a specialist money transfer company.

As mentioned above, banks generally offer poor exchange rates and charge high fees, while specialist money transfer services tend to offer more competitive exchange rates, lower transfer fees and faster transfer speeds. Furthermore, if you decide not to move all of your money at once, you can arrange bi-weekly or monthly regularly scheduled payments to your account.

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Services Description Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received
XE International Money Transfers
Same day
Online, Phone, Bank Account to Bank Account
Send money in more than 60 currencies. Fee-free international money transfers with a global brand.
OFX International Money Transfers
USD 150
1 day
Online, Phone, Agent
Exclusive offer: Discounted exchange rates for your first and ongoing transactions. $0 transfer fee.
A higher exchange rate applies to non-finder customers. Send money in 45 currencies.
Global Reach International Money Transfers
GBP 3,000
1 day
Online, Phone, Bank Account to Bank Account
Global Reach will match any competitor's exchange rates. Conditions apply.

Get no fees for both business and personal transfers when you send your money overseas with Global Reach.
Remitly International Money Transfers
1 - 2 days
Online, Bank Account to Bank Account, Cash Transfer
Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Quick, affordable transfers around the world with both express and economy options.
WorldRemit International Money Transfers
Within an hour
Online, Bank Account to Bank Account, Cash Transfer
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.
An online money transfer service with cash pick-up, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available.
TransferWise International Money Transfers
1 - 2 days
Make online transfers with transparent exchange rates, low fees and low minimum amounts.
CurrencyTransfer International Money Transfers
GBP 5,000
1 - 2 days
Online, Phone, Bank Account to Bank Account, International Money Order
Aimed at larger transfers, CurrencyTransfer is an online marketplace that lets you shop around for the best exchange rate.
The ‘Rate’ and ‘Amount Received’ displayed are indicative rates that have been supplied by each brand or gathered by Finder.

Exchange rates are volatile and change often. As a result, the exchange rate listed on Finder may vary to the actual exchange rate quoted for the brand. Please confirm the actual exchange rate and mention “Finder” before you commit to a brand.

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