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Death as An Employee

Under the provisions of the Civil Service Superannuation Act, pension benefits following the death of a member who has not yet retired are payable to a spouse or common-law partner unless they were not cohabiting at the date of death or that person has waived his or her rights to the entitlement. If there is no eligible spouse or partner, death benefits would be paid to the member’s estate unless the member had made a beneficiary designation in compliance with The Beneficiary Designation Act.

If survived by a married spouse we would require:

  • Copy of marriage certificate,
  • Copy of proof of death,
  • Marital Common-Law Relationship Status form,
  • Copy of member’s proof of age, and
  • Copy of spouse’s proof of age.

Proof of age can be a photocopy of either a birth certificate, a valid Canadian passport, a valid drivers license, a Canadian Citizenship card or a permanent resident card.

If survived by a common-law partner:

“Common-Law Partner” of a member or former member means

  • a) a person who, with the member or former member, registered a common-law relationship under Section 13.1 of The Vital Statistics Act, or
  • b) a person who, not being married to the member or former member, cohabited with him or her in a conjugal relationship
  • i) for a period of at least three years, if either of them is married, or
  • ii) for a period of at least one year, if neither of them is married.

The Civil Service Superannuation Board would first need to determine if a common-law partner is eligible for survivor benefits. It must first be established whether the requirements for a common-law relationship have been met.

The Board would require documentation as supporting evidence of co-habitation. If the relationship was registered with Vital Statistics, the Board would require a copy of the Vital Statistics registration certificate or, if not registered, the Board has indicated that they will typically accept one or two documents from the following list along with the two affidavits (provided by the Board) which can be completed by family or friends:

  • Record of joint bank accounts
  • Joint mortgage agreement
  • Joint rental agreement
  • Joint credit card statements
  • Joint income tax returns
  • Joint health coverage

We will also require:

  • A declaration (provided by the Board) stating the duration of co-habitation, that the parties were co-habiting at the time of death and whether either party was married
  • Copy of proof of death
  • Copy of member’s proof of age
  • Copy of spouse’s proof of age
  • Marital Common-Law Relationship Status form.
  • Determination of Eligible Survivors form

Designating a Beneficiary

Although it is not necessary to do so, The Beneficiary Designation Act provides that a member of a pension plan may designate a beneficiary to receive benefits under that plan. The designation can be made in any of the following ways: by an instrument signed by the participant; by an instrument signed by another on the participant’s behalf or by a Will.

The Civil Service Superannuation Board has developed a form that members can use if they wish to designate a pension beneficiary for pre-retirement death benefits.  A copy of the Pre-Retirement  Beneficiary Designation Form is available.

Where the Board has been provided with a beneficiary designation, pension benefits payable on the death of a member prior to retirement may be paid to one or more designated beneficiaries rather than to the member’s estate.

IMPORTANT: A beneficiary designation in any format does not over-ride the rights of an eligible spouse or common-law partner to receive pension benefits payable on the death of a member prior to retirement if that spouse or partner has not waived those rights.

For further information, please contact the Civil Service Superannuation Board or email