Combined Pensionable Service (CPS)

A distinctive feature that PSPP shares with two other pension plans is combined pensionable service (CPS). Having CPS allows you to become vested more quickly, retire with an unreduced pension sooner, and use salary information from one plan to calculate your pension in another.

A CPS relationship is established if you move between PSPP and the Management Employees Pension Plan (MEPP) or the Universities Academic Pension Plan (UAPP):

It is important to note that if you have CPS you will receive two separate pensions, one from PSPP and one from either MEPP or UAPP. However, once you have CPS between PSPP and MEPP or UAPP, service and salary information under both related plans will be used in key elements of the calculation of both pensions.

Vesting

Your total pensionable service from both plans will be used to determine if you are vested for a pension under each plan.

For example, if you have two years of pensionable service in PSPP then move to MEPP with the same employer and have no break in service, the CPS relationship allows you to accumulate only three more years of service to reach five years of service and be vested in MEPP.

Unreduced Early Retirement

Your total pensionable service from both plans will be used to determine if you are entitled to an unreduced pension from each plan. If your pension will be reduced, CPS also affects how much that reduction will be.

As a PSPP member with CPS, you can retire with an unreduced pension when you reach age 65 or when:

  • you are at least 55 years of age, and
  • your total years of pensionable service in both plans plus your age equals 85 or more.

You can read more about retirement eligibility at: When Can I Retire?

Highest Average Salary

The pensionable salaries from both plans will be considered when determining the highest average salary for both pensions. This means that your PSPP pension may be calculated using the salaries you earned in UAPP or MEPP.

35-Year Service Limit

Your pensionable service from both plans will be added up together to determine when you will reach the 35-year maximum service limit.

 More on CPS 

You cannot receive any benefit if you are currently active in either plan.

Once a CPS relationship has been established, it will continue if you leave your current employer and later re-join PSPP, UAPP or MEPP with another employer. When we calculate your PSPP pension, any service and salary earned with your new employer will count towards your CPS relationship. Your new employer does not need to participate in both PSPP and MEPP or UAPP. Since the UAPP side of your CPS may treat this future service differently, you should contact them directly with any questions.

Retiring With CPS

You are not required to start both of your pensions at the same time. If you decide to start your pension from one plan earlier than the other plan, the CPS relationship will be considered in calculating both pension benefits.

You also cannot begin collecting a pension from either plan unless you are no longer active in both of them. 

Please note that CPS is not a transfer of benefits or service. At retirement you will receive two separately calculated pensions, based on the pensionable service you earned in each plan. You can read more about how your PSPP pension is calculated at How Your Pension is Calculated. Once you have started to receive a pension from either PSPP or MEPP (or the Closed Plan (PSMPP)), you are no longer able to contribute to PSPP or MEPP.

Transferring With CPS

If you decide to transfer your pension benefit out of one plan through a transfer agreement, but leave your pension benefit behind in the other plan, the CPS relationship will be considered in calculating the transfer value from the first plan. The CPS relationship will also be considered in calculating the pension or termination payout that you eventually take from the second plan.

Please note that you cannot transfer service between PSPP and MEPP if there is a CPS relationship.

Termination Payouts and CPS

If your employment or pension plan membership ends before you are 55 and you choose to remove your funds from one plan and not the other, the CPS relationship will no longer exist. The pension benefit from the first plan from which you are taking a payout will be calculated with the CPS relationship intact.

CPS will not apply to the later pension or payout, which may result in the second pension benefit:

  • no longer being treated as being vested, or
  • being calculated using a smaller highest average salary.

Buybacks, Leaves and CPS

If you are considering buying a leave of absence or prior service when a CPS relationship is established, this movement between plans will not impact the timelines for applying or electing to purchase a leave of absence or period of prior service.

If you were already making payments toward a buyback with MEPP immediately before moving to PSPP (or vice versa), you can continue to do so after moving to the second plan with the same employer.

In both PSPP and MEPP, your employer is liable for paying their share of contributions towards the first year of leave of absence you purchase with each plan. This is true even where a CPS relationship has been established.

For questions about buybacks and leaves involving UAPP CPS, contact UAPP directly.