Survivor Income

When an eligible worker dies, federal and provincial governments programs have income protection for families through the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), the Québec Pension Plan (QPP) and Worker's Compensation. These are referred to as survivor benefits. Details of these programs are discussed in the sections that follow.

Canada and Québec Pension Plans

To receive death and survivor benefits, the executor or spouse/partner must complete an application form and send it to the nearest CPP/QPP office. Ensure applications contain all necessary supporting documents such as:

  • Death certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Children’s birth certificates

Benefits will be payable to the estate or to an eligible spouse and children. All benefits will be taxable to the recipient.

When the deceased has been a regular contributor to CPP/QPP, one or more types of payout may be available. These are:

  • Lump sum death benefit of $2,500
  • Monthly survivor benefit: ongoing monthly payment for the life of the spouse/partner
    • CPP Children’s benefit: ongoing monthly payment for children under age 18 or up to age 25, if in school full time:
      • Paid to the parent or supporting adult
      • Paid to the child after age 18
    • QPP Orphan’s benefit: ongoing monthly payment for children under age 18:
      • Paid to the parent or supporting adult

The amount a surviving spouse or common-law partner will receive depends on whether they are younger or older than 65, and on how much, and for how long, the deceased contributor has paid into the plan. The earliest the benefit can begin for the survivor is the month after the deceased contributors' death. Once a recipient commences their personal CPP/QPP, the two will be combined and limited up to the recipient’s personal maximum retirement pension.

Workers’ Compensation

If an on-the-job death results from an industrial accident, Workers’ Compensation will pay a death benefit to the employee’s estate. Depending on family circumstances, dependants may also receive a pension for a period of time.