Employees in the health and social services system are covered by the Government and Public Employees Retirement Plan (RREGOP). This is a defined benefits pension plan, meaning that the amount of your pension is determined in advance based on a specific formula. The RREGOP gives you a lifetime pension of up to 80% of your average pensionable earnings for your five highest-paid years of service.
What should I know about my pension plan?
The pension to which you will be entitled is a life annuity, meaning that it will be paid until your death.
The rate at which you contribute varies from one year to the next. For 2021, the rate is 10.33% of your pensionable earnings. Because your RREGOP pension is coordinated with Québec Pension Plan (QPP) benefits, your contribution is based only on the portion of your pensionable earnings that exceeds the exempted amount associated with the QPP. In 2021, the exempted amount is $15,400.
The percentage used to calculate your pension benefits is based on your years of service for pension calculation purposes. Each full year of service equals 2% of your average earnings in your five best years of earnings. (Keep in mind that service for calculation purposes is based on time worked rather than the period during which you worked). For instance, if your service for calculation purposes is 32 years, your pension will be equal to 64% of the average earnings in your five best years.
The social security sector can help you estimate your pension according to various scenarios chosen by you. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I know the amount of the pension I will receive?
When will I be eligible for retirement?
You are eligible for a pension with a reduction at age 55, unless you have 35 years of service for eligibility purposes before turning 55. To get a pension that is not reduced, you must meet one of the three following eligibility criteria: have 35 years of service for eligibility purposes; be 61 years old; or be at least 60 and have at least 30 years of service for eligibility purposes (i.e., the age/service eligibility factor).
How is the pension reduction calculated if I take early retirement?
If you decide to retire before you meet any of the three eligibility criteria, an early retirement reduction will be applied to your pension. The reduction is 6% for each year, or 0.5% for each month, between your effective retirement date and the date on which you would have met one of the three criteria if you had not retired.
Once I’ve decided when I’m going to retire, what steps should I take to get my pension?
First, you have to fill out Form 079A, “Application for a Retirement Pension Under a Public-Sector Pension Plan,” and send it to Retraite Québec. The form is available on the Retraite Québec website.
Retraite Québec will then send you a reply form explaining your options with regard to your future pension. You have to fill out this form and return it.
Don’t forget to advise your employer’s human resources department, as well as your manager, at least two weeks before your effective retirement date.
While you’re in the process of applying for your pension, you should also be shopping around for insurance. Since you will no longer be an employee in the health and social services system, you will no longer be eligible for group insurance plans.
Retraite Québec benefits are paid on the 15th of the month, or on the previous working day.
I’ve chosen my retirement date. When should I apply for my pension?
It’s best to send in your application at least 90 days before the first day of the month in which you will retire. Retraite Québec usually takes 90 days to process an application.
When can I start to take gradual retirement?
You can ask for gradual retirement up to 5 years before your chosen retirement date. You must be eligible for pension benefits, with or without reduction, at the end of your phased retirement agreement. This agreement must cover a period of 1 to 5 years.
What happens to my pension plan if I stop working because of a disability?
When you stop working because of a disability, you’re not required to contribute to the RREGOP. This means you don’t pay into the plan, but you keep on accumulating years of service as if you were working. The RREGOP exemption applies for a maximum of 36 months. It applies to all types of disability, whatever the cause, and includes disabilities giving rise to compensation from the CNESST, the SAAQ or IVAC.
What happens to my pension plan while I’m on protective leave or maternity leave?
During your maternity leave, and during protective leave (for pregnant or breastfeeding workers), you are not required to contribute to the RREGOP. This means that you don’t pay into the plan, but you keep on accumulating years of service as if you were working. After 21 weeks of maternity leave provided for in the collective agreement, you are entitled to take parental leave for a maximum of 2 years. In order for this period to be included in your years of service for benefits calculation purposes and in some cases, your years of service for eligibility purposes, you must buy it back. If your buyback is carried out more than 6 months after you return from your leave, you will have to pay interest on your contribution.
What kind of insurance will be available to me once I retire?
It’s important to know that once you retire, you are no longer eligible for APTS group insurance with the SSQ. If you’re under 65 and have access to prescription drug insurance through your spouse or professional order, you are required to participate in that insurance plan. If you have no other way of getting drug insurance, you can sign up for coverage with the RAMQ. When you turn 65, you can choose between keeping your group insurance plan, if you have one, or participating in the RAMQ plan.
For health insurance unrelated to prescription drugs, and for long-term care and dental care insurance, the SSQ offers you “SSQ Privilege” individual coverage. If you sign up for this plan within 90 days of your effective retirement date, you will be eligible for it without any medical examination.
You can also participate in a group life insurance plan for retirees. If you sign up for this plan within 31 days of retiring, you will be eligible for it without any medical examination.
If you have any questions, please contact SSQ Privilege at 1-866-777-9788 or email@example.com.
 This 90-day period is subject to change without notice on the part of the SSQ, but it cannot be less than 31 days.
Are there training programs to help me prepare for my retirement?
Retraite Québec has developed a program called the Retirement Planning Information Session [RPIS] which covers every aspect of retirement as a major life change. (The program is offered in French only). Retraite Québec also provides information sessions in the workplace, at the employer’s request. See the Retraite Québec website for more information.
The APTS nonetheless offers virtual information sessions covering various questions that can affect your retirement income: pension contributions and the option to buy back years of service, parental leave, eligibility criteria, calculating your pension, and more. To sign up for these info-sessions, check the Fil@pts for upcoming webinar dates or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
You can also consult our brochure: Making Sense of the RREGOP.
The APTS team is always there to help you with your research and to support you in making decisions about the RREGOP for your retirement plans.