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Registered pension plan (RPP)

Retirement income that works for you

Take advantage of tax benefits and employer contributions to save for your future.

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  • A tax-deductible way to save

    The money you contribute is tax-deductible, so you’ll save more of your income.

  • A tax-deferred way to invest

    You won’t pay tax on your investment earnings until you withdraw them.

  • Extra help from your employer

    Your employer or sponsor doesn’t just set up an RPP – they also contribute to it.

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What is a registered pension plan (RPP)?

An RPP is a plan your employer or plan sponsor sets up to provide you with retirement income. They’re required to contribute to it, and depending on your plan, you may be able to as well.

There are 2 different types of RPPs in Canada: defined contribution and defined benefit. Both types are registered with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to provide you with tax advantages on both the money you contribute and the money your investments earn.

How does it work?

Your employer:

  • Sets up an RPP and chooses which type of plan to offer
  • Chooses how much they’ll contribute
  • Decides whether you’re required to contribute and whether they’ll match your contributions, and facilitates payroll deductions


  • Can usually choose to contribute more, up to a limit
  • Depending on your plan, you may have input on how your money is invested

Have a savings plan through your employer?

Use your online account to check your balance, make additional contributions, manage your personal information and more. 

Sign in to your account  - Opens in a new window

What are the different types of RPPs?

There are 2 types of plans that you may have: defined contribution plans, and defined benefit plans. Canada Life offers only defined contribution plans. 

Defined contribution plans

  • Your retirement income will depend on how much you and your employer contribute and how well it performs in the market 
  • Usually a percentage of your current income 
  • You and your employer or sponsor may both contribute
Learn more about defined contribution plans

Defined benefit plans

  • Guarantees you a specific income at retirement 
  • Your retirement income is determined by a formula 
  • You and your employer or sponsor may both contribute
Learn more about defined benefit plans
How is an RPP different from other group retirement savings plans?

Registered pension plan (RPP)

Registered retirement savings plan (RRSP)

Tax-free savings account (TFSA)

What is it for?

Retirement savings

Retirement savings or other long-term expenses


Who contributes?

Employer is required to contribute

Employee can choose to contribute

Employer can choose to contribute

Employee contributions can be voluntary or required

Only the employee can choose to contribute
How do taxes work?

Contributions are tax-deductible

Employer contributions are exempt from payroll taxes

Money is sheltered from taxes until payout

Employer contributions are treated as taxable income
Money isn’t subject to taxes going in or coming out

What if you leave the company?

You keep all contributions, depending on your province's legislation

You keep all contributions

You keep all your contributions, and employer contributions aren't usually a factor

When can you withdraw your money?

Depending on your plan, you might be able to withdraw from the amount you’ve voluntarily contributed, but not from your required contributions

Employer might have restrictions in place


Learn more about RRSPs

Learn more about TFSAs