Seniors Age In Canada: When Are Canadians Considered Seniors

October 1, 2023

Individuals who reach senior age in Canada qualify for various income and benefits offered by the government. Some programs provide lifetime benefits based on different requirements, but age is the first and most important requirement in all of them. This article will discuss what age is considered senior in Canada, the income and benefits you’re entitled to as a senior, and more.

What Age Is Considered Senior In Canada?

The typical age that is perceived as senior citizens in Canada is 65 years old and above. Meanwhile, the said age range is not officially declared by the Canadian federal government, including its provinces or territories. In most cases, several institutions and companies observed it as the retirement age for their employees.

In terms of senior discounts, each store, restaurant, or establishment may observe different age ranges, such as 50+, 55+, and so on. For example, The Bay considers seniors those people aged 55 and above, because that’s the threshold for the The Bay Seniors Day discount Tuesdays.

In those cases, the age requirement to be considered a senior is at the discretion of the company’s management.

However, when it comes to pensions, those below 65 years old may not be able to receive their full pension benefits yet.

Based on Statistics Canada, the senior age group starts at 65 years old and is divided into three age groups:

  • 65 to 74 years old
  • 75 to 84 years old
  • 85 and above.

What Can Canadian Seniors Get For Free?

Generally, senior Canadian citizens receive financial assistance and various programs from the federal government. These programs may require an individual to reach ages between 55 to 65 years old. The following are the most notable programs offered by the government. 

The requirements to qualify for the said programs depend on your province or territory. The government requires seniors to contribute and live in the country for a specific number of years. Senior citizens who are new residents in Canada typically don’t qualify for the senior programs.

In most cases, senior citizens living and working in the country with an agreement in Canada are eligible for the assistance programs. Another factor is you completely paid for the social security plan of your country. 

Canada Income And Benefits From Government Programs

The Canadian federal government supports qualified senior citizens. These programs have specific requirements before you qualify for them. The following are the different Canadian senior federal programs. 

Old Age Security (OAS)

OAS is a Canadian government pension program wherein senior citizens aged 65 and above can receive monthly payments. Typically, Service Canada will immediately register or enroll the qualified seniors once they reach the eligible age. Specifically, the government accepts applications for OAS 6 months before the 65.

However, there are also cases where you are required to apply manually if they lack the information necessary for automatic enrolment. Meanwhile, the OAS payment starts the month after a senior turns 65.

The OAS payment amount is based on the senior citizens' income and the length of residency in Canada after 18 years old. The pension is a taxable income, specifically recovery tax, if your annual net income is above the world net income threshold of the year. OAS is also one way to qualify for other benefits such as GIS, Allowance, and Allowance for the Survivor.

Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)

GIS is another benefit qualified senior Canadian citizens can get if they have an OAS pension. To qualify, you must reach the age of 65 years and have a specific length of residency in Canada. Depending on your marital status, you must also have less income than the GIS annual maximum income threshold. 

The GIS is only available to OAS pensioners with low income. As such, the payment you will receive is not taxable. Meanwhile, the payment distribution will start once the government has notified you through a letter. Usually, they will send it the month after you turn 64 years old. Similar to OAS, other senior citizens may be required to enroll in the program.

Grounds that the government needs a senior citizen to apply for GIS are:

  • Lacks information on the senior citizen to supply the details for automatic enrolment.
  • Received OAS pension but did not apply for the GIS.

In some cases, GIS grantees may fail to receive the payments. You should call the provincial or territorial government and give the following information.

  • Details of your income before the current year.
  • Common-law partner or spouse’s income before the current year.
  • Your Social Insurance Number.


Allowance is a payment offered by the Canadian government for senior citizens who are 60 to 64 years old. The following are the qualifications to receive this payment.

  • You must be a resident of Canada.
  • Your common-law partner or spouse must qualify to get GIS payments.
  • Your annual income plus your spouse or common-law partner’s must be less than the maximum income threshold of the Allowance program.

Senior citizens are required to apply for the Allowance program if they are the recipient of the deceased common-law partner or spouse. In this case, the government will immediately change the program into Allowance for the Survivor.

You must apply for the Allowance program starting 6 to 11 months before you reach 60. Recipients may begin receiving the payment in the following situations.

  • The month after you became 60 years old.
  • The month after, you completely complied with the requirements for qualifications.
  • The month your common-law partner or spouse becomes qualified for the GIS pension.
  • If you apply after 60 years old, the payment may begin up to 11 months before the date the government received your application.

Allowance For Survivor

The Allowance for the Survivor is a similar program to the Allowance. However, this is specifically for senior citizens with a common-law partner or spouse who passed away. The requirements to qualify for the payment are the following.

  • You are a resident of Canada.
  • You are 60 to 64 years old.
  • You have not remarried or have a common-law partner again after your common-law partner or spouse passes away.
  • Annual income is below the maximum annual income threshold for the Allowance for the Survivor.

Qualified senior citizens must apply after the passing of the common-law partner or spouse. The Allowance for the Survivor payment will start when the following conditions are met.

  • The month you become 60 years old.
  • The month you completely complied with the eligibility requirements.
  • The preceding month after your common-law partner or spouse passed away.
  • If you apply after 60 years old, the payment may begin up to 11 months before the date the government received your application.

Canada Pension Plan (CPP)

The CPP is a monthly taxable pension that retired senior citizens may receive. It becomes your income during retirement. Qualified seniors will receive a pension for the rest of their lives.

You can qualify for the CPP if you are 60 years old and above and have at least one valid contribution. The contributions include the following. 

  • Contributions from your work in Canada.
  • Credits received from former common-law or spouse after the relationship.

Qualified seniors are required to apply, and there are no automatic enrollments. The government encourages seniors to apply earlier to start their pension immediately. The standard age to receive the pension is 65 years old. However, seniors as young as 60 can begin receiving it. 

The following factors influence the CPP amount you will receive:

  • The age you decide to begin receiving your pension.
  • The amount you’ve contributed to the CPP.
  • How long you’ve made contributions for.
  • Your average salary when you were making contributions.

Provincial/Territorial Programs For Seniors In Canada

In most cases, provinces or territories offer financing programs for the recipients of GIS or Allowance. The special programs provided include the following.

  • Property Tax Relief.
  • Rental Subsidy.
  • Property Tax Deferment.
  • Prescription Drug Subsidy.
  • Home Support Subsidy.
  • Fuel or utility subsidy.
  • Bus Pass subsidy.

The income tax system automatically enrolls qualified seniors in most provinces or territories except New Brunswick and Alberta. These provinces usually require you to apply for the programs. Additionally, Manitoba immediately offers support as early as age 55 but requires seniors under 65 to apply.

How Much Do Seniors Get In Canada

Pensions and program amounts provided for Canadian seniors vary depending on multiple factors and requirements. Each table below presents the maximum amounts provided as of July to September 2022.

OAS Payments

AgeAnnual Income in 2021 RequirementOAS Maximum Monthly Payment
65 to 74 years oldBelow $129,757$666.83
75 years old and aboveBelow $129, 757$733.51

Note: All senior citizens who are 75 years old and above have a 10% increase in their pension this year.

GIS Payments

Each of the GIS payments received may vary on income and status.

StatusAnnual Income RequirementGIS Maximum Monthly Payment
Widowed, divorced, or single pensionerBelow $20,208$995.99

Senior citizens with a common-law partner or spouse:

StatusAnnual income requirements GIS Maximum Monthly Payment
Your common-law partner or spouse acquired the full OAS pensionBelow $26,688$599.53
Your common-law partner or spouse acquired the AllowanceBelow $37, 392$599.53
Your common-law partner or spouse failed to get an OAS pensionBelow $48, 432$995.99


Allowance payments may also vary in the review conducted by the government in January, July, and October. 

StatusAnnual income requirements Maximum monthly payment
Common law partner or spouse acquire the full OAS pension and GISBelow $37, 392$1,266.36

Allowance for the Survivor

Your income will influence the amount you will acquire. The benefit is reviewed in January, April, July, and October. 

StatusAnnual income requirements Maximum monthly payment
You are the surviving common-law partner or spouseBelow $27,240$1,509.58


The Canadian federal government states that you acquire smaller CPP amounts if you receive them early. Those seniors who receive pensions later will have higher amounts. The maximum amount the seniors will receive will be up until they reach 70.  

In 2022, the maximum monthly pension for new recipients for 65 years old is $1,253.59.

Meanwhile, the average new retirement pension for the same age is $727.61 in April 2022. 

What Age Is Considered Senior Citizens for Discounts?

Senior citizen discounts typically qualify those individuals ages 55 to 60 years old and above. Depending on the store, they may observe different minimum age requirements for the senior discounts. It would help if you inquired to the store or any establishments about getting these exclusive discounts.

Furthermore, not all of the stores in Canada offer senior citizen discounts.

In most cases, they offer numerous discounts for all of the customers. Seniors can take advantage of these deals and offers. 

Senior Age Canada FAQs

Is 55 a senior in Canada?

Regarding discount qualifications, yes, 55 years old is considered a senior in Canada. However, the perceived standard age is 65 years old. Other stores may or may not qualify this age for their senior discounts.  

At what age is a senior discount?

Depending on the store, the senior discount age starts at 55 to 65 years old and above. You can ask the store about the minimum age requirements to qualify for the special discount. Meanwhile, other stores don’t offer senior discounts. 

Is the Canadian government giving extra money to seniors in 2022?

Technically, yes, the Canadian government provides additional money for the OAS pension through a ten percent increase. The increase is only applied to 75 or older seniors who started in July 2022. The government will also provide over $800 in support for the full pension recipients for the first year. 

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