Mortality Rates of Canada Pension Plan Beneficiaries Have Fallen: Office of the Chief Actuary of Canada

OTTAWA – June 11, 2015 – According to an actuarial study by the Office of the Chief Actuary (OCA), the mortality rates of Canada Pension Plan (CPP) retirement, survivor, and disability beneficiaries have fallen over the past two decades, leading to gains in life expectancy and with further gains expected in the future.

The Canada Pension Plan Retirement, Survivor and Disability Beneficiaries Mortality Study: Actuarial Study No. 16 provides a detailed historical analysis of the mortality of CPP beneficiaries over the period 1990 to 2013.

Although mortality differs by beneficiary type, all groups have experienced longevity improvements. For retirement beneficiaries, life expectancy at age 65 over the last two decades increased by 2.5 years, reaching 20.5 years in 2013. In general, those with higher pensions experience lower mortality compared to those with lower pensions. However, longevity improvements have occurred at all levels of pension. For both sexes, the differences in life expectancy at age 65 between those with maximum pensions and those with the lowest pensions have remained relatively stable at around 2 years for males and 1.5 years for females.

The mortality of survivor beneficiaries is higher than that of the general population, possibly attributable to the stress incurred upon losing one’s spouse. Survivor beneficiaries have nonetheless experienced mortality improvements over the past two decades. In 2013, the life expectancy of a 65-year-old survivor beneficiary was 19.5 years, or about one year less than that of a retirement beneficiary of the same age.

Disability beneficiaries experience a significantly higher level of mortality compared to the population, attributable to the conditions to receive the benefit. Mortality rates of disabilities beneficiaries aged 50 to 64 in 2011 are on average six times higher than those of the general population. Disability beneficiaries have experienced reductions in mortality, but at levels lower than the general population. 

The Office of the Chief Actuary operates independently within the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) and provides actuarial services for key government plans and programs such as the CPP, Old Age Security, Canada Student Loans, Employment Insurance, and pension and benefit plans that cover public servants, members of Parliament, and the Canadian Forces, among other groups.

Media Contact:
Annik Faucher
OSFI - Public Affairs