Learn about beneficiary coverage, including who you can appoint, what happens in the event of a divorce, and whether you can change your beneficiary
If you are an actively employed member and die before collecting your pension, the Plan provides a pre-retirement death benefit payable to your spouse. If you do not have a spouse or if your spouse has waived his/her right to a pre-retirement death benefit, the benefit is paid to your designated beneficiary or estate.
Per the BC Pension Benefits Standards Act, the pre-retirement death benefit is 100% of the monthly pension you have earned up to your death and payable at age 65 plus a refund of your employee contributions with interest.
When you first joined the Plan, you should have been asked to appoint a beneficiary in the event of your death before retirement.
You may change your pre-retirement beneficiary at any time. However, if you have a spouse and wish to appoint someone else as beneficiary, your spouse must sign a form agreeing to waive their right to a death benefit from the Plan.
If you have not yet appointed a beneficiary, or you wish to change your pre-retirement beneficiary, you may do so by submitting the Pre-Retirement Beneficiary Designation form to the Plan Administrators.
If you fail to designate a beneficiary and you have no surviving spouse at the time of your death, a pre-retirement death benefit may go to your estate.
Death benefits after retirement are determined by the pension option you choose.
At retirement, depending on the pension option you select, you will be asked to appoint a beneficiary to your pension entitlement in the event of your death after retirement.
Once again, if you have a spouse at retirement and you wish to select another person as beneficiary, your spouse must agree by signing a waiver giving up their right to a post-retirement death benefit from the Plan.
After starting your pension, you may not change your retirement option, even if you divorce or separate from your spouse.
If you divorce or separate from your spouse, contact the Plan Administrator and be prepared to provide your court order or separation agreement. Your former spouse may be entitled to a portion of the pension you earned under the Plan during your (common-law) marriage, as determined by Part 6 of the Family Law Act. The provisions of your court order or written separation agreement will determine how your pension will be shared. Your former or separated spouse may also be required to sign a waiver. Contact the Plan administrator for more information.