Senior Citizen Age in Canada

In Canada, the age at which one is considered a senior citizen can vary greatly.

Retailers start offering ‘senior discounts’ as early as age 50 and provincial and federal government programs can vary from 55 onwards.

Here are some of the government programs offered to senior citizens in Canada.

Old Age Security (OAS)

Eligibility Age: Minimum 65 years old.

Eligibility Criteria: You must be a legal resident or citizen of Canada and have lived in Canada for a minimum of 10 years from the age of 18.

If you live outside of Canada, you must have been a legal resident or citizen of Canada up until you left Canada, and have lived in Canada for a minimum of 20 years from the age of 18.

Amount: Up to $642.25 monthly (for the period of January to March 2022).

Overview: Old Age Security (OAS) is a monthly benefit for Canadians who are over the age of 65 years old.

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve never worked before or whether you’re still working – you can still receive the benefit.

The amount you receive will depend on how many years you’ve lived in Canada.

The maximum will be prorated if you’ve lived in Canada for less than 40 years after the age of 18.

Senior citizens walking in the park

Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)

Eligibility Age: Minimum 65 years old.

Eligibility Criteria: You must be a legal resident or citizen of Canada, be receiving OAS payments already and have an income less than the prescribed amounts based on your situation.

Amount: Below are the benefit amounts for the period of January to March 2022.

Your situation Max. Payment Amount (Monthly) Your annual income amount (plus that of your spouse/common-law partner) must be:
If you’re single, widowed or divorced $959.26 Less than $19,646
If your partner (spouse or common-law) receives the full OAS pension $577.43 Less than $25,728
If your partner (spouse or common-law) doesn’t get OAS $959.26 Less than $46,656
If your partner (spouse or common-law) gets the Allowance benefit $577.43 Less than $46,656

Source: Canada.ca

Overview: The Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) is a monthly benefit for Canadians who are over the age of 65 years old, earn a lower income and who may already be getting Old Age Security (OAS) payments.

The amount of GIS you receive will depend on your income and won’t be taxable.

Key Insight

The main difference between OAS and GIS is that the amount you could receive for the GIS depends primarily on your income, while the amount you could receive for the OAS depends on how much time you’ve spent in Canada after the age of 18

Canada Pension Plan (CPP)

Eligibility Age: Minimum 60 years old.

Eligibility Criteria: You must have either made at least one contribution to the plan, or received credits received from a former spouse or common-law partner after the termination of your relationship.

Amount: In 2021, you could receive up to $1,203.75. The average monthly CPP payment among retirees was $619.44.

Overview: With the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP), you make contributions over the course of your working years, and in return, when you retire, you receive a monthly, taxable benefit to replace part of the income you would normally receive from an employer. You can delay receiving your payments up until the age of 70.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What age is considered senior citizen in Canada?
  • Is age 55 a senior?

Tara Al-Khudairi is a freelance personal finance writer who has worked in the financial services industry since 2017. She graduated from McMaster University with a degree in Finance and is pursuing her CFA.

She has worked at a major Canadian financial institution in various client-facing advisory roles, starting as a bank teller and working up to a Client Services Associate within the Asset Management division. She specializes in simplifying concepts of personal finance for people of various financial backgrounds.

When she’s not examining the markets looking for the next SHOP.TO, she’s either practicing yoga, planning her next vacation, or has her nose buried deep in a book.