Unlocking Your Locked-in Pension Accounts

Some provinces allow the “unlocking” of all or a portion of a LIRA, LIF or LRIF under certain circumstances.  Some of the circumstances include:

  • small balances in the account, under a specified threshold amount
  • becoming non-resident of Canada
  • shortened life expectancy
  • financial hardship
  • spousal or child maintenance enforcement orders

Some provinces allow the “unlocking” of all or a portion of  a locked-in account without the above restrictions.  For information by province, follow the links to your pension plan regulator, in the table of RPP regulators, or the following links:


Locked-in accounts – from Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO)

From January 1, 2011 to April 30, 2012, owners of Old LIFs and LRIFs will have a one-time opportunity to withdraw in cash or transfer to an RRSP or RRIF up to 50% of the total market value of the assets of the fund.  See the following FSCO information on changes:

For more information visit the Tax Tips website.

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