When you work in Canada, the government keeps track of how much you contribute to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). When you retire or become disabled, you can apply to the government to start receiving your Canada Pension. The amount you get is based on how many credits you built up while you were working.
If you are married or divorced, you can apply to split the Canada Pension Plan credits any time after living separate and apart for 12 months. The federal government will combine the credits that you and your spouse built up while you were living together and divide the credits equally between the two of you. Basically, the government will look at how many credits you earned during that time, how many your spouse earned during that time, add them up, and divide them evenly.
You will notice a paragraph on the Divorce Order that discusses CPP credits:
Canada Pension Plan
5 This divorce order, and a corollary relief order issued with it, does not affect in any way a statutory entitlement to seek a division of credits or benefits under the Canada Pension Act.
This paragraph is required in any Divorce Order in Nova Scotia and cannot be changed. You cannot waive your right to apply to split your CPP credits and you cannot force your spouse to waiver their right to apply to split your Canada Pension Plan credits. If you want to benefit from the CPP credit splitting, you must apply to Service Canada and request that the government split you and your spouse’s CPP credits. It will not be done automatically when the Divorce is granted.
For more information on CPP credit splitting, click here.