Is it possible to contribute to an RRSP while working overseas?

Jamie Golombek, vice-president of taxation and estate planning at AIM Trimark Investments, has the answer.

Jamie Golombek 28 January, 2003 | 2:00PM

Dear Expert:

I am a Canadian working overseas and contributing to the obligatory pension scheme in France. Is it possible to contribute to an RRSP while working overseas? I do not have an RRSP account at the moment since I left Canada several years ago after my studies. Thank you for your help; my numerous questions to the Canadian embassy were unanswered.

Expert Opinion:

If you are working in France and have been doing so for a number of years already, you are likely considered to be a non-resident of Canada, unless you maintain significant "residential ties" to Canada. (For more information as to whether or not you are considered a resident of Canada, please see CCRA's website at Assuming you are not a resident of Canada, your income in France does not constitute "earned income" and therefore does not generate RRSP contribution room. Unless you have unused RRSP room available from prior years (i.e. prior to the date you became non-resident), you will face penalty tax of 1% per month on any contributions you make to your RRSP beyond your contribution room.

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Jamie Golombek

Jamie Golombek