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Perspectives on Labour and Income - August 2007

Public pensions and work

Ted Wannell

  • The vast majority of workers take up Canada and Quebec Pension Plan (C/QPP) benefits before the age of 65, and an increasing proportion start them at age 60.
  • Among those with employer pension benefits and no employment earnings, nearly 4 in 5 started C/QPP benefits at age 60. For those combining work and employer pension benefits at age 59, the take-up rate was 3 in 5. Take-up rates at age 60 were only 26% for workers without employer pension coverage and 17% for those with coverage.
  • In 1996, 39% of new C/QPP beneficiaries did some work for pay. By 2004, the proportion had jumped to 48%. Post-retirement work was more common among men and highest among persons not covered by an employer pension in their pre-retirement job.
  • Between 1996 and 2004, the proportion of C/QPP pensioners earning $5,000 or less declined. This decline was more than offset by strong growth among those earning between $5,000 and $20,000, and even more among those earning over $20,000.

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Ted Wannell is with the Labour and Household Surveys Analysis Division. He can be reached at 613-951-3546 or

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