Updated: December 2009
Alberta Locked-in Accounts
If you work for an industry that is not federally regulated, and you work in Alberta
on your last day of employment for a company that set up a pension plan, then
the funds that result from that pension plan are subject to the Employment
Pension Plans Act (the Act).
Alberta public sector plans (the Public Service, Teachers, Management
Employees, Local Authorities, Special Forces, Provincial Court Judges and MLA
Pension Plans) are not subject to the Act, but they do require that any money
transferred from them must be locked-in under the rules of the Act.
Federally regulated industries include banking, telecommunications, airlines,
shipping, and other inter-provincial forms of transportation. In addition, federal
civil servants, the military and the RCMP follow the federal rules. If you earned
your pension while working in one of these industries, then Alberta‘s legislation
does not apply to your locked-in account. Instead, your locked-in funds are
regulated by the Government of Canada and are subject to the Pension Benefits
Standards Act, 1985.
What Happens When I Leave my Employer?
When you resign or retire, you may be given the option to transfer your funds
from the pension plan into a Locked-in Retirement Account (LIRA—also
sometimes called a locked-in Registered Retirement Savings Plan). The LIRA
is an account in your name, held by a financial institution.
The transfer of the money from the pension plan into a LIRA does not change
the fact that your pension plan was established to provide you with income for
the remainder of your life after retirement. Therefore, in the spirit and intent of
the original pension plan, any funds transferred into a LIRA must ultimately be
used to provide you with life-long retirement income.
If you have a LIRA and are at least 50 year