Other Government Programs and Benefits

Retirement income from government sources generally refers to the Canada Pension Plan (or the Quebec Pension Plan) and the Old Age Security (OAS) program. However, there are also other government programs (both federal and provincial) that provide income to retirees. Some of those will be discussed in the sections that follow.

Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)

Recipients of OAS, who have little or no income from other sources,  can apply for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) for each year. They must meet a qualification based on the previous year's taxable income.

For more information on GIS, visit this page on the Service Canada website.

The Allowance Program

The Allowance Program is a monthly benefit for low-income seniors (aged 60-64) whose spouse or common-law partner is eligible for, or currently receiving, the Old Age Security (OAS) pension and the GIS. Low-income widows, aged 60-64, may apply for the Allowance for the Survivor benefit.

For more information on the Allowance Program, visit this page on the Service Canada website.

Provincial Government Programs

Several provinces also have seniors' benefits programs to assist low-income seniors. These programs usually provide a monthly cash benefit to eligible seniors (they are means-tested). As income rises the benefit is clawed back until the senior no longer qualifies.

Government Pensions from Other Countries

If you’ve lived or worked in another country, then you must determine if Canada has a social security agreement with the government there. You, your spouse or common-law partner may be able to qualify for, or increase, your benefits in Canada or in the other country.

For more information, go to the Service Canada website and search for “International Benefits”.

Will My Benefits Be Indexed to Inflation?

Federal government benefits and the Québec Pension Plan (QPP) are periodically adjusted for inflation. CPP/QPP are adjusted annually. OAS, GIS and allowance benefits are presently indexed each quarter to cost-of-living changes as measured by the Consumer Price Index.