Financial need and instability has increased since 2020, with many business shutdowns and losses occurring due to the ongoing public health measures imposed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, it has become necessary for many people to withdraw some of their savings or retirement funds to help with expenses.
One source of potential financial help is withdrawing money from Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs). This can get confusing because there are different types of RRSPs – some which can be withdrawn from at any time, and others where the funds are locked-in until retirement. The first step in determining how to access your funds is a consultation with your financial services provider. If you determine that you want to withdraw money from a locked-in account, there are additional steps that you need to take.
A locked-in RRSP, also called a LIRA (locked-in retirement account) is a federally regulated type of RRSP that is created when employees leave a job that has a Registered Pension Plan (RPP). The employee’s pension earnings are placed in a LIRA or locked-in RRSP with a financial institution when they leave that employer for a new job.
While your money usually has to remain in the locked-in RRSP or LIRA until retirement, there are a few exceptions to this rule that allow you to withdraw some of the funds early. One of the main exceptions is financial hardship. In that circumstance, you will be permitted to withdraw some of the funds after giving your financial institution and the federal government proof of financial need.
Your financial institution can provide you with the forms that you need to fill out to prove financial hardship. These forms include one or more statutory declarations that you will need to have commissioned before a notary public or commissioner of oaths. You will need to provide a declaration proving financial hardship based either on low or no income or based on high medical or disability-related costs. You will also have to swear a declaration stating whether or not you have a spouse or common-law partner. If you do have a spouse or common-law partner, they will also have to sign a declaration giving consent to the withdrawal of the funds. Your financial institution can help you fill out the statutory declarations prior to taking them to a notary public or commissioner of oaths for signing.
We have knowledgeable Notaries/Commissioners of Oaths who can commission locked-in RRSP or LIRA withdrawal statutory declarations for you. You will need to complete all the documents prior to signing them in front of the notary/commissioner. Contact your financial institution if you need any help filling out the forms as the notary/commissioner cannot provide any financial or legal advice.
If you need to have the statutory declaration regarding your spouse or common law partner commissioned as well, they will also need to attend in person to sign the document in front of the notary/commissioner of oaths.
Remember to bring valid government issued photo identification for both you and your partner, as the notary/commissioner will need to see this in order to verify your identity.
Red Seal Notary has convenient walk-in offices in Toronto, Ottawa, and Mississauga where you can have the document notarized in person. You can also contact our helpful call center to make appointments to notarize documents at locations across the country.