"unlocking" federal locked-in RRSP for resident of Brazil

Dear Sirs,   I have visited the Centa web page and it appear that there may be a way for me to "unlock" a federally controlled RRSP however I would like clarification and direction as to how this may be achieved.   I worked for the CPR in the late 1980's and thus the locked-in nature of the pension plan (I was a resident of Saskatchewan at the time). I am now a resident of Brazil (and have been for 6 years). Is there a way for me to "unlock" this RRSP? If I have to wait until I am 65 it just means the government of Canada will get more money due to the 25% non-resident withholding tax.   Please help.   Kind regards, xxxxxxxxxxx ----------------------------------------------
david ingram replies:

If you have a real good reason and safe use for the money, you can unlock a federal pension which was rolled into a locked in RRSP.

According to the Pension Benefits Standards Act (1985), and its Regulations, a non-resident is described as a person who has ceased to be a resident of Canada for at least two calendar years, and has lived outside the country for at least 184 days for each of these calendar years. 


If a former member of a pension plan meets the above requirements of section 28.4, the funds from a locked-in RRSP or LIF may be unlocked.

However, it is up to the plan administrator of your financial institution to determine whether you meet the requirements of the regulations.

Article IV(2) of the Brazil Canada Income Tax Convention determines which country you are a tax resident of.  Giving the plan administrator copies of your last two Brazilian tax returns and a copy of Article IV might be enough to have them release the funds (with a 25% tax holdback).

If not, you have to write to the CRA at 2204 Walkley Road, Ottawa, K1A 1A8 for a written opinion from the CRA.  Filling in form NR-73 and sending it to them will help.