Unlocking pension funds
The information and documents included below are intended to help Albertans understand their pension plan or locked-in account and the law that applies to it.
When you cease membership in a registered pension plan, you are given the option of transferring your funds from the pension plan into a Locked-in Retirement Account (LIRA).
The Employment Pension Plans Act (EPPA) and Regulation prescribe 5 unlocking provisions that can provide owners with access to these funds, from a LIRA or Life Income Fund (LIF):
- Access due to considerably shortened life
- Access by becoming a non-resident of Canada
- Access to small amounts
- Access by 50% unlocking
- Financial hardship unlocking
Accessing Pension Funds brochure
For detailed information about the 5 different provisions for unlocking pension funds, see:
- Accessing Pension Funds (updated January 1, 2023)
Financial Hardship Unlocking program
Effective September 1, 2014, the Financial Hardship Unlocking (FHU) program was changed, and the Government of Alberta no longer administers this program.
Any Application to Unlock Alberta Funds Due to Financial Hardship must be submitted to the financial institution that holds your locked-in account.
Your financial institution will review your application, based on the rules established by the Employment Pension Plans Act (EPPA) and Regulation.
PDF form issues
Fillable PDF forms do not open properly on some mobile devices and web browsers. To fill in and save the form:
- Save the PDF form to your computer – click or right-click the link and download the form.
- Open the PDF form with Adobe Reader. Fill it in and save it.
If you are still having problems opening the form, contact PDF form technical support.
- Financial Hardship Unlocking Program documents:
- Summary (September 1, 2014)
- General program and process (updated January 1, 2023)
- Reasons to unlock (updated January 1, 2023)
- Application to Unlock Alberta Funds Due to Financial Hardship (Form 23) (PDF, 236 KB) (fillable version, effective January 1, 2023)
- If you have trouble opening this form, see the instructions above. Alternatively, you may use the non-fillable version (PDF, 169 KB), which you may print and complete by hand.
Note: once completed, send this form to the Financial Institution that holds your Locked-in Retirement Account (LIRA) or Life Income Fund (LIF). This form is NOT sent to the Alberta Superintendent of Pensions.
If you believe that you have lost money because of an error, disagreement or the possible misconduct of your representative or financial company, you may be interested in the following guide, produced by the Joint Forum of Financial Market Regulators:
Publications and forms
- For forms for individuals, see the Pension forms page
- List of Financial Institutions offering Locked-in Pension Products
- List of Pension Plans Registered in Alberta
Public sector pension plan joint governance
As some public sector pension plans transitioned to registering under the Employment Pension Plans Act (EPPA), certain exemptions were provided in order to ensure preservation of plan design during the transition. These exemptions are included in the Employment Pension Plans Regulation and Exemption (Public Sector Pension) Regulation, and are not detailed on this page (please refer to the EPPA; and Regulations).
Learn more about joint governance of public sector pension plans.
Private sector plans (current and former members)
- Federal - Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI)
- British Columbia Financial Services Authority (BCFSA)
- Manitoba Pension Commission
- New Brunswick Financial and Consumer Services Commission
- Newfoundland and Labrador Pensions Division
- Nova Scotia Pension Regulation Division
- Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO)
- Retrait Québec
- Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority of Saskatchewan
Disclaimer: Links to other websites are provided solely for your convenience. The Government of Alberta does not control, endorse, or guarantee the accuracy, completeness, efficacy and timeliness of other websites, and is not responsible for the privacy practices of other websites. Read our complete disclaimer.
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Pension plans registered under the Employment Pension Plans Act (EPPA)
Connect with the Office of the Alberta Superintendent of Pensions:
Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: [email protected]
Alberta Superintendent of Pensions
Alberta Treasury Board and Finance
Financial Sector Regulation and Policy
402 Terrace Building
9515 107 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2C3
Public sector pensions
Contact the following for information on:
- Alberta Teachers’ Pension Plans: Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund Board
- Local Authorities Pension Plan: LAPP Contact
- Public Service Pension Plan: PSPP Contact
- Special Forces Pension Plan: SFPP Contact
- Universities Academic Pension Plan: UAPP Contact
- All other Alberta Public Sector Pension Plans: Alberta Pensions Services Corporation
- Federal pension plans: Canada Pension Plan or Old Age Security
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