Pension policies by jurisdiction

Discover how spousal definitions differ by jurisdiction

Definition of spouse

Different provinces may have different minimum requirements, based on their pension legislation. The CAAT Plan provisions outlined on this site are based on the Ontario Pension Benefits Act. If you report to work in a province other than Ontario, check below to see what benefits may be impacted by different legislation.

For the applicable definition of spouse, please refer to the description under the province of your employment.

Definition of spouse in Alberta

  1. the person who, at the relevant time, was married to the member and has not been living separate and apart from the member for three or more consecutive years; or
  2. if there is no person to whom (1) applies, the person who immediately preceding the relevant time, had lived with that other person in a conjugal relationship
        i.  for a continuous period of at least three years or,
        ii. of some permanence, if there is a child of the relationship by birth or adoption.

Definition of spouse in British Columbia

  1. a person who is married to the member, and who was not living separate and apart from the member for more than two years immediately prior to the relevant time; or
  2. if (1) does not apply, a person who, at the relevant time, was living and cohabiting with the member in a marriage-like relationship for a period of at least two years immediately preceding the relevant time.

Federal definition of spouse

The person who is married to the member or who is party to a void marriage with the member; or “Common-law partner”: The person who is cohabiting with the member in a conjugal relationship at the relevant time, having so cohabited with the member for at least one year.

Definition of spouse in Manitoba

  1. a person who is married to the member; or
  2. with the member, registered a common-law relationship under the Vital Statistics Act; or has been cohabiting with him or her in a conjugal relationship:
    i. for a period of at least three years, if either of them is married; or
    ii. for a period of at least one year, if neither of them is married.

Definition of spouse in New Brunswick

  1. a person who is married to the member; or
  2. is married to the member by a marriage that is voidable and has not been annulled by a declaration of nullity; or
  3. in good faith, has gone through a form of marriage with the member that is void and who has cohabited with the member within the preceding year.

“Common-law partner”: a person who is not married to the member but has cohabited with him or her in a conjugal relationship continuously for a period of at least 2 years, immediately before the relevant time.


Definition of spouse in Newfoundland and Labrador

  1. the person who: is married to the member; or
  2. is married to the member by a marriage that is voidable and has not been annulled by a declaration of nullity; or
  3. in good faith, has gone through a form of marriage with the member that is void and who is cohabiting or has cohabited with the member within the preceding year.

“Cohabiting partner”: The person who is cohabiting or has cohabited with the member within the preceding year and has cohabited continuously with the member in a conjugal relationship for: (i) in relation to a member who has a spouse, at least three years, provided the person is not the spouse of the member; or (ii) in relation to a member who does not have a spouse, at least one year.


Definition of spouse in Nova Scotia

  1. the person who is married to the member or
  2. is married to the member by a marriage that is voidable and has not been annulled by a declaration of nullity; or
  3. in good faith, has gone through a form of marriage with the member that is void and who is cohabiting or, if they have ceased to cohabit, has cohabited with you within the 12-month period immediately preceding the date of entitlement; or
  4. is a domestic partner within the meaning of Section 52 of the Vital Statistics Act; or
  5. is not married to the member, but cohabiting with him or her in a conjugal relationship for:
    i. a period of at least three years, if either of them is married; or
    ii. a period of at least one year, if neither of them is married.

Definition of spouse in Ontario

  1. a person who is married to you and is not living separate and apart from you; or
  2. a person who is not married to you and is living with you in a conjugal relationship:
    i. continuously for a period of not less than three years; or
    ii. in a relationship of some permanence, if you are both the parents of a Child as set out in the Children’s Law Reform Act.

Definition of spouse in Prince Edward Island

  1. a person who is married to you and is not living separate and apart from you; or
  2. a person who is not married to you and is living with you in a conjugal relationship:
    i. continuously for a period of not less than three years; or
    ii. in a relationship of some permanence, if you are both the parents of a Child as set out in the Children’s Law Reform Act.

Definition of spouse in Quebec

  1. a person who is married to or in a civil union with you;
  2. if you are not married or in a civil union, a person and who has been living in a conjugal relationship with you, for a period of not less than three years, or for a period of not less than one year if:
    i. at least one child is born, or to be born, of your union;
    ii. you have adopted, jointly, at least one child while living together in a conjugal relationship; or
    iii. one of you has adopted at least one child who is the child of the other, while living together in a conjugal relationship.

The birth or adoption of a child during a marriage, civil union or conjugal relationship prior to the current period of conjugal relationship may qualify the person as a spouse.


Definition of spouse in Saskatchewan

  1. a person who is married to you; or
  2. if you are not married, a person with whom you are cohabiting as spouses and who has been cohabiting continuously with you as your spouse for at least one year.