Retirement Bridging Program

The retirement bridging program supports forestry workers 55 years or older to transition to retirement.

You could be eligible for up to $75,000 in combined retirement bridging funding based on your years of experience, age at retirement and employer contribution.


Eligibility

You may be eligible for retirement bridging benefits if you:

  1. Are a full-time mill worker in the B.C. Interior, and
  2. Are 55 years of age or older when you apply, and
  3. Have been working in a mill in BC  for the last 2 consecutive years (or, if you have been displaced since May 1, 2019, the 2 consecutive years prior to your displacement date), and
  4. Are either:
    • displaced on or after May 1, 2019, due to
      1. a permanent or indefinite closure, or
      2. a curtailment  of at least 4 months
    • willing to voluntarily retire after submitting your application and the following both apply: your retirement creates an opportunity for a more junior impacted worker to fill a resulting vacancy and your retirement does not create a skills shortage.

To receive retirement bridge funding, you must agree to:

  • permanently vacate your position and all seniority with your employer (if you have not yet retired), and
  • agree to not to return to work in the BC Forestry sector or in any other work as an employee for 18 months unless it is working for your own business.


What you need to apply

In order to submit a complete application, you will be required to provide the following documentation (copies are acceptable). Please look through your records to make sure you have this available:

  • One of the following pieces of identification: birth certificate, driver's licence, Canadian citizenship, permanent resident, or passport identification
  • Income tax returns for the previous two years
  • Two pay slips
  • One T4
  • A Record of Employment or a letter from your employer confirming your employment
    • You may also obtain a copy of a Record of Employment through the Government of Canada’s “My Service Canada Account” website, where you will need to follow the steps to create an account, then request your Record of Employment.
    • Once you create an account you can also view and print your T4s.


How to apply:

If you meet eligibility requirements and have the necessary documentation, complete an online application

Apply for retirement bridging online

In-person:

Please visit a local Service BC office to access online form at a computer kiosk.

By mail:

Online copies of the form are available only however if you require assistance filling out an application online or do not have a computer,  please visit a Service BC office or call Service BC at  1-844-901-0970. 

After the online application has been completed, supporting application documentation can be mailed to:

PO Box 9594
Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC
V8W9K4


Frequently Asked Questions

 

The maximum combined amount available for mill workers with 15 years of experience and aged 55 is $75,000. The actual amount you receive may be lower if you have less than 15 years of experience in a mill. The amount is also adjusted lower based on how close you are to age 65 when you retire. Your actual benefit amount will be determined based on the eligibility criteria and your specific, individual history. If you are older than 65, you may be eligible for the bridging amount that a 65 year old would receive.

Yes, the amount you may be eligible for is in addition to any pension entitlement you may have.

While the process is intended to be as quick as possible, the length of time may vary for each person depending on the completeness of the information provided and any information that may be needed from your employer.

 

4. What happens if I apply, then decide not to retire?

Your application to the Ministry of Labour’s program can be cancelled by you at any time prior to a bridging benefit amount being paid by government.

 

5. Why do I have to give up my seniority and not work in the sector for 18 months after retiring?

The purpose of the Bridging program is to assist employees aged 55+ to transition to retirement in their communities. This is to ensure that the commitment to provide an opportunity to a more junior impacted worker can be fulfilled. It is also to ensure that retirement benefits are provided to those who truly retire rather than just change jobs within the forestry sector.

You may be able to add it to your or your spouse’s RRSP if contribution space is available. How someone receives the actual benefit may vary for each person, depending on options available.

The bridging benefit is a taxable benefit; you may be able to add it to your or your spouse’s RRSP if contribution space is available.