A secure, predictable income stream

A term certain annuity provides guaranteed income payments for a defined period of time.  This product is available for both single and joint annuitants. If you die before the end of that period, your beneficiary will receive the balance of the income payments as a lump sum. No further payments are made after the term ends.

You should consider a term certain annuity if:

  • You are a Canadian who is approaching retirement and looking for an income “bridge” until other sources of income begin
  • You are a Canadian of any age looking for guaranteed income for a certain period of time
  • You are handling the financial affairs of a minor who has received a lump-sum payment from an RRSP or registered pension plan because a parent or grandparent has died and wish to defer the income tax payable on it

Plan details:

Residency requirements

We'll issue a policy only if the policyholder and annuitant(s) are Canadian residents. We’ll make an exception if the policyholder has an existing Sun Life Financial policy with a contractual right to purchase a payout annuity.

Issue ages

  • Registered (including locked-in funds): ages 18 to 100*
  • Non-registered: ages 0 to 100*

*Subject to restrictions


  • Minimum amount: $5,000 (combined total from all sources)
  • Maximum amount: $5 million

Premium sources

  • Registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) - must be a term certain to age 90
  • Registered retirement income fund (RRIF) - must be a term certain to age 90
  • Deferred profit sharing plan (DPSP)
  • Non-registered funds

Payment deferral periods

Payments may be deferred for a maximum of 10 years, subject to restrictions and based on the source of premium.

Payment periods

  • 3-40 years, subject to restriction based on the source of premium

Payment frequency

  • Monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually

Payment options

  • Level payments. Payment amount remains the same throughout the payment period.
  • Indexed payments. Income increases yearly by a fixed percentage. You select an increase between 1% and 4% at purchase. Not available for prescribed annuities.
  • Integrated payment. Annuity income decreases when CPP, QPP or OAS payments begin. Not available for prescribed annuities.
  • Registered funds are subject to legislative restrictions.


  • Registered. Income from an annuity purchased with registered funds is fully taxable to the policyholder in the year it's received.
  • Non-registered. Only a portion of the income from an annuity purchased with non-registered funds is taxable. The amount of tax and when it is payable depends on the tax treatment the annuity qualifies for.
  • Withholding tax. Canadian withholding tax is mandatory for annuities purchased with RPP (locked-in and non-locked-in), LIF or DPSP premiums.

Death benefit

Death benefits depend on whether income has started, the source of premium and the guaranteed period chosen.


A payout annuity cannot be partially or fully surrendered and has no cash surrender value.