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Agreement on Social Security between Canada and the Republic of Bulgaria

E105366

CANADA AND THE REPUBLIC OF BULGARIA (“BULGARIA”)

hereinafter referred to as the “Parties”,

RESOLVED to co-operate in the field of social security,

HAVE DECIDED to conclude an agreement for this purpose, and

HAVE AGREED as follows:


PART I - GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1

Definitions

  1. For the purposes of this Agreement:
    1. “competent authority” means, for Canada, the Minister or Ministers responsible for the application of the legislation of Canada specified in Article 2(1)(a); and, for Bulgaria, the Minister of Labour and Social Policy;
    2. “competent institution” means, for Canada, the competent authority; and, for Bulgaria, the institutions responsible for the application of the legislation specified in Article 2(1)(b) of this Agreement;
    3. “compliance verification” means, for a Party, the verification that the eligibility for and the payment of pensions are in conformity with the legislation of the relevant Party;
    4. “creditable period” means:

      for Canada, a period of contribution used to acquire the right to a pension under the Canada Pension Plan; a period during which a disability pension is paid under that Plan; and a period of residence used to acquire the right to a pension under the Old Age Security Act; and,

      for Bulgaria, any period of insurance and any other period recognized as equivalent to a period of insurance under the legislation of Bulgaria;

    5. “legislation” means, for a Party, the laws and regulations specified in Article 2 of this Agreement;
    6. “pension” means, for a Party, any cash benefit, pension or allowance provided for in the legislation of that Party and includes any supplements or increases applicable to that cash benefit, pension or allowance;
    7. “residence” means, for Canada, the meaning assigned to it in the applicable laws and regulations and, for Bulgaria, a person’s habitual place of residence.
  2. Any term not defined in this Article has the meaning assigned to it in the applicable legislation.

Article 2

Legislative Scope

  1. This Agreement shall apply to the following legislation:
    1. with respect to Canada:
      1. the Old Age Security Act and the Regulations made thereunder;
      2. Canada Pension Plan and the Regulations made thereunder;
    2. with respect to Bulgaria, the Social Insurance Code and regulations regarding pensions from the State Social Insurance for periods of insurance and age, invalidity due to general disease and resulting survivors’ pensions, as well as the relevant contributions.
  2. Subject to paragraph 3, this Agreement shall also apply to laws and regulations which amend, supplement, consolidate or supersede the legislation specified in paragraph 1.
  3. This Agreement shall also apply to laws and regulations which extend the legislation of a Party to new categories of beneficiaries or to new pensions or benefits unless the Party implementing the changes communicates to the other Party, within three months of the entry into force of those laws and regulations, that they shall not apply.

Article 3

Personal Scope

This Agreement shall apply to any person who is or who has been subject to the legislation of Canada or Bulgaria or both Parties and to persons who derive rights from that person within the meaning of the applicable legislation of either Party.

Article 4

Equality of Treatment

Persons described in Article 3 shall be subject to the obligations of the legislation of the other Party and shall be eligible for the pensions of that legislation under the same conditions as citizens of the other Party.

Article 5

Export of Pensions

  1. Unless otherwise provided in this Agreement, pensions payable under the legislation of a Party to any person described in Article 3, including pensions acquired by virtue of this Agreement, shall not be reduced, modified, suspended or cancelled by reason only of the fact that the person resides in or is present in the territory of the other Party. A person who is entitled to a pension shall continue to be entitled to that pension when that person resides in or is present in the territory of a third state.
  2. As regards Canada, an allowance and a guaranteed income supplement shall be payable to a person who is outside Canada only to the extent permitted by the Old Age Security Act.

PART II - APPLICABLE LEGISLATION

Article 6

General Rules for Employed
and Self-Employed Persons

Subject to Articles 7 to 11:

  1. An employed person who works in the territory of a Party shall, in respect of that work, be subject only to the legislation of that Party;
  2. A self-employed person who resides in the territory of a Party and who works for his or her own account in the territory of the other Party or in the territories of both Parties shall, in respect of that work, be subject only to the legislation of the first Party.

Article 7

Detachments

An employed person who is subject to the legislation of a Party and who is sent by their employer to work in the territory of the other Party shall, in respect of that work, be subject only to the legislation of the first Party as though that work was performed in its territory. A detachment shall not exceed 60 months, unless the designated competent institutions of both Parties consent to an extension.

Article 8

Crews of Ships

A person who is subject to the legislation of both Parties in respect of employment as a member of the crew of a ship shall, in respect of that employment, be subject only to the legislation of Canada if that person resides in the territory of Canada and only to the legislation of Bulgaria if the employer’s registered office or place of business is in the territory of Bulgaria. In any other case the competent authorities or the designated competent institutions of both Parties shall determine, by mutual consent, the legislation applicable to the person concerned.

Article 9

Staff of Diplomatic Missions and Consular Offices

  1. Notwithstanding any provision of this Agreement, the provisions regarding social security of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 18 April 1961 and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 24 April 1963 shall continue to apply.
  2. A person who resides in the territory of a Party and who is locally engaged by a diplomatic mission or a consular office of the other Party shall, in respect of that employment, be subject only to the legislation of the first Party.

Article 10

Civil Service and Government Employment

Subject to Article 9, a person employed in the government or civil service of a Party shall, in respect of that employment, be subject only to the legislation of that Party.

Article 11

Exceptions

The competent authorities or designated competent institutions of the Parties may, by mutual consent, modify the application of the provisions of Articles 6 to 10 with respect to any person or categories of persons.

Article 12

Coverage and Residence under the Legislation of Canada

  1. For the purposes of calculating pensions under the Old Age Security Act:
    1. If a person is subject to the Canada Pension Plan or to the comprehensive pension plan of a province of Canada during any period of presence or residence in Bulgaria, that period shall be considered to be a period of residence in Canada for that person; it shall also be considered to be a period of residence in Canada for that person’s spouse or common-law partner and dependants who reside with that person and who are not subject to the legislation of Bulgaria by reason of employment or self employment;
    2. If a person is subject to the legislation of Bulgaria during any period of presence or residence in Canada, that period for that person, and for that person’s spouse or common-law partner and dependants who reside with him or her, shall be determined according to the provisions of the legislation of Canada.
  2. In the application of paragraph 1:
    1. A person shall be considered to be subject to the Canada Pension Plan or to the comprehensive pension plan of a province of Canada during a period of presence or residence in Bulgaria only if that person makes contributions pursuant to the plan concerned during that period by reason of employment or self-employment;
    2. A person shall be considered to be subject to the legislation of Bulgaria during a period of presence or residence in Canada only if that person is subject to compulsory insurance pursuant to that legislation during that period by reason of employment or self-employment.

PART III - PENSIONS

CHAPTER 1 - TOTALIZING

Article 13

Periods under the Legislation of Canada and Bulgaria

  1. If a person is not eligible for a pension due to insufficient creditable periods under the legislation of a Party, that person’s eligibility shall be determined by totalizing these periods and those specified in paragraphs 2 through 5, provided that the periods do not overlap.
  2. To determine eligibility for:
    1. A pension under the Old Age Security Act of Canada, a creditable period under the legislation of Bulgaria shall be considered as a period of residence in Canada;
    2. A pension under the Canada Pension Plan, a calendar year with at least three months or 90 days which are creditable periods under the legislation of Bulgaria shall be considered as a year which is creditable under the Canada Pension Plan.
  3. To determine eligibility for old age, early retirement, or resulting survivor pensions under the legislation of Bulgaria:
    1. A calendar year which is a creditable period under the Canada Pension Plan shall be considered as one year which is creditable under the legislation of Bulgaria;
    2. A creditable period under the Old Age Security Act of Canada and which does not overlap with a creditable period under the Canada Pension Plan shall be considered as a creditable period under the legislation of Bulgaria.
  4. To determine eligibility for a disability pension or survivor pension derived from the right to a disability pension under the legislation of Bulgaria, a calendar year which is a creditable period under the Canada Pension Plan shall be considered as a year which is creditable under the legislation of Bulgaria.
  5. If one Party’s legislation provides that a period is creditable for pension eligibility only when that period is completed in a specific activity or occupation; then that Party’s competent institution shall consider periods completed under the legislation of the other Party only when those periods are completed in that specific activity or occupation.

Article 14

Periods Completed in a Third State

If a person is not eligible for a pension on the basis of the creditable periods under the legislation of the Parties, totalized in accordance with Article 13, the eligibility of that person for that pension shall be determined by totalizing these periods and periods completed under the program of a third State with which both Parties are bound by bilateral social security instruments which provide for the totalizing of periods.

Article 15

Minimum Period to be Totalized

If the total duration of the creditable periods accumulated under the legislation of a Party is less than one year and if, taking into account only those periods, the right to a pension does not exist under the legislation of that Party, the competent institution of that Party shall not be required to pay a pension in respect of those periods. These creditable periods shall, however, be taken into consideration by the competent institution of the other Party to determine whether a person is eligible for the pension under the legislation of that Party through the application of Chapter 1.

CHAPTER 2 - PENSIONS UNDER THE LEGISLATION OF CANADA

Article 16

Pensions under the Old Age Security Act

  1. If a person is eligible for a pension or allowance under the Old Age Security Act based solely on the totalizing provisions of Chapter 1, the competent institution of Canada shall calculate the amount of the pension or allowance payable to that person in accordance with the provisions of that Act governing the payment of a partial pension or allowance, based solely on the periods of residence in Canada which may be considered under that Act and this Agreement.
  2. Paragraph 1 shall also apply to a person outside Canada who would be eligible for a full pension in Canada but who has not resided in Canada for the minimum period required by the Old Age Security Act for the payment of a pension outside Canada.
  3. A person who is outside of Canada shall be paid an Old Age Security Pension only if that person’s periods of residence, when totalized in accordance with Chapter 1, are at least equal to the minimum period of residence in Canada required by the Old Age Security Act for the payment of a pension outside Canada.

Article 17

Pensions under the Canada Pension Plan

If a person is eligible for a pension solely through the application of the totalizing provisions of Chapter 1, the competent institution of Canada shall calculate the amount of pension payable to that person in the following manner:

  1. the amount of the earnings-related portion of the pension shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of the Canada Pension Plan, based solely on the pensionable earnings under that Plan;
  2. the amount of the flat-rate portion of the pension shall be pro-rated by multiplying:

the amount of the flat-rate portion of the pension determined in accordance with the provisions of the Canada Pension Plan

by

the fraction representing the ratio of the periods of contribution to the Canada Pension Plan in relation to the minimum qualifying period required under that Plan to establish eligibility for that pension. That fraction shall not exceed the value of one.

CHAPTER 3 - PENSIONS UNDER THE LEGISLATION
OF BULGARIA

Article 18

Calculating the Pension Payable

  1. If a person is eligible for a pension solely through the application of the totalizing provisions of Chapter 1, the competent institution of Bulgaria shall calculate the amount of pension payable according to the Bulgarian legislation only on the basis of Bulgarian creditable periods and according to the income on which insurance contributions have been paid during these periods.
  2. When determining the amount of an invalidity pension, the insurance period recognized for the time between the occurrence of invalidity and the date of acquiring the right to an old age pension under the Bulgarian legislation shall be reduced by the length of the periods of contribution completed under the Canada Pension Plan after the date of occurrence of invalidity.

PART IV - ADMINISTRATIVE AND MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

Article 19

Administrative Instruments

The Parties shall conclude administrative agreements or arrangements which establish the measures necessary for the application of this Agreement.

Article 20

Exchange of Information and Mutual Assistance

  1. The competent authorities and the competent institutions responsible for the application of this Agreement shall:
    1. To the extent permitted by the legislation which they administer, communicate to each other any information necessary for the application of this Agreement and the legislation to which this Agreement applies, including the exchange of information necessary for the purposes of compliance verification activities and debt recovery means referred to in Article 21 of this Agreement;
    2. Provide assistance to one another for the application and administration of this Agreement as if the matter involved the application of their own legislation;
    3. Communicate to each other, as soon as possible, all information about the measures taken by them for the application of this Agreement or about changes in the respective legislation of the Parties when these changes affect the application of this Agreement.
  2. The assistance referred to in sub-paragraph 1 (b) shall be provided free of charge, subject to any provision contained in an administrative agreement or arrangement concluded pursuant to Article 19 for the reimbursement of certain types of expenses.
  3. Unless disclosure is required under the laws of a Party, any information about a person which is transmitted in accordance with this Agreement from a Party to the other Party is confidential and shall be used only for purposes of the application of this Agreement and the legislation to which this Agreement applies. Information about a person obtained by the receiving Party shall not be disclosed subsequently to any other person, body or country unless the sending Party is notified and considers it advisable and the information is disclosed only for the same purpose for which it was originally disclosed.

Article 21

Compliance Verification and Debt Recovery

  1. Where by virtue of this Agreement a Party pays a pension to a person, the competent authority or competent institution of that Party may undertake compliance verification activities.
  2. Compliance verification and debt recovery shall be carried out in accordance with an administrative agreement or arrangement concluded pursuant to Article 19 of this Agreement.
  3. If a competent authority or competent institution of a Party determines that a person received an overpayment, that Party is entitled to recover that overpayment and may use any means existing under the laws of that Party to recover that overpayment.

Article 22

Exemption or Reduction of Dues, Fees or Charges

  1. If one Party’s laws and regulations provide that a person shall be exempt from paying all or part of a legal, consular or administrative fee for issuing a certificate or document required to apply its legislation, the same exemption shall apply to any fee for a certificate or document required to apply the legislation of the other Party. This exemption shall not apply if a medical report is required by the competent institution of a Party solely in support of a claim for a pension under the legislation of that Party.
  2. Documents of an official nature required to apply this Agreement shall be exempt from any authentication by diplomatic or consular authorities.

Article 23

Language of Communication

The competent authorities and competent institutions of the Parties may communicate directly with one another in any official language of either Party.

Article 24

Submitting a Claim, Notice or Appeal

  1. A claim, notice or appeal regarding eligibility for a pension, or, the amount of, a pension, under the legislation of a Party which should, for the purposes of that legislation, have been submitted within a prescribed period to a competent authority or competent institution of that Party, but which is submitted within the same period to a competent authority or competent institution of the other Party, shall be treated as if it had been submitted to the competent authority or institution of the first Party. The date of submission of a claim, notice or appeal to the competent authority or institution of the other Party shall be deemed to be the date of its submission to the competent authority or institution of the first Party.
  2. The date that a claim for a pension is submitted under the legislation of a Party is deemed to be the date of submission of a claim for the corresponding pension under the legislation of the other Party, provided that the applicant at the time of application provides information indicating that creditable periods have been completed under the legislation of the other Party. This paragraph shall not apply if a claim is submitted before the date of entry into force of this Agreement or if the applicant requests that the claim to the pension under the legislation of the other Party be delayed.
  3. The competent authority or institution of a Party to which a claim, notice or appeal has been submitted shall transmit it without delay to the competent authority or institution of the other Party.

Article 25

Payment of Pensions

  1. A Party shall pay pensions under this Agreement to a beneficiary who resides outside its territory in a freely convertible currency according to its legislation.
  2. A Party shall pay pensions under this Agreement directly to a beneficiary without any deduction for its administrative expenses.

Article 26

Resolution of Disputes

  1. The competent authorities of the Parties shall resolve, to the extent possible, any disputes which arise in interpreting or applying this Agreement in accordance with the spirit and fundamental principles of this Agreement.
  2. Any dispute which has not been resolved in accordance with paragraph 1 shall be promptly settled by negotiations between the Parties.

Article 27

Understandings with a Province of Canada

The relevant authority of Bulgaria and a province of Canada may conclude understandings concerning any social security matter within provincial jurisdiction in Canada provided that those understandings are not inconsistent with the provisions of this Agreement.

PART V - TRANSITIONAL AND FINAL PROVISIONS

Article 28

Transitional Provisions

  1. Any creditable period completed before the date of entry into force of this Agreement shall be taken into account for the purposes of determining the right to a pension under this Agreement and its amount.
  2. This Agreement does not confer a right to receive payment of a pension for a period preceding the date of entry into force of this Agreement.
  3. Subject to paragraph 2, a pension, other than a lump sum pension, shall be paid under this Agreement in respect of events which precede the date of entry into force of this Agreement.
  4. For the purposes of Article 7, if a person’s detachment precedes the entry into force of this Agreement, the period of the detachment is considered to begin on the date of entry into force of this Agreement.

Article 29

Duration and Termination

  1. This Agreement shall remain in force indefinitely. It may be terminated at any time by either Party with 12 months’ notice in writing through diplomatic channels to the other Party.
  2. In the event that this Agreement is terminated, any right acquired by a person in accordance with its provisions shall be maintained. This Agreement shall continue to have effect in relation to all persons who, prior to its termination, had applied for rights, and would have acquired those rights by virtue of this Agreement, had it not been terminated.

Article 30

Entry into Force

This Agreement shall enter into force on the first day of the fourth month following the month in which the Parties exchange diplomatic notes confirming that they have fulfilled all of the requirements for the entry into force of this Agreement.


IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned, being duly authorized thereto by their respective Governments, have signed this Agreement.

DONE in duplicate at Ottawa, this 5th day of October 2012, in the English, French and Bulgarian languages, each text being equally authentic.

Diane Finley
FOR CANADA 

Totyu Mladenov
FOR THE REPUBLIC
OF BULGARIA