What is the Senior Citizen Age in Canada?

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Written by Enoch Omololu

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In Canada, reaching senior citizen status comes with several benefits and privileges that recognize your contributions over the years. Some of these benefits include the Old Age Security (OAS) and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).

The age when someone becomes a senior citizen varies according to the context. However, in most cases, the senior citizen status across Canada is 65, though you can enjoy some benefits as early as 60.

This article explores the senior citizen age in Canada, senior discounts, and benefits available to citizens 55 and older. It also clarifies the retirement age in the country.

Main Highlights

  • Typically, you reach the senior age status in Canada at 65, but you can enjoy some benefits as young as 55 in some provinces.
  • Senior benefits discounts vary from province to province, but some federal benefits such as the CPP can offer you pension benefits as young as 60.
  • Senior discounts depend on the provider, and you can get discounts for transportation, medications, and retail store purchases depending on your province.

Senior Citizen Age in Canada

There are nuances to be considered when determining the senior citizen age in Canada, like provincial variations and eligibility for certain benefits, among other factors. But, typically, someone reaches senior citizen status at 65. 

At this age, you qualify for certain federal senior citizen benefits. For instance, you are eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) if you are 65+. But for the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), you have to be above 60.

Remember, most provinces have adhered to this Canadian senior citizen age standard. But specific rules and benefits vary from province to province. For example, British Columbia has a Seniors’ Supplement Program for those 65 and above — allowing them access to various discounts.

Also, besides your age, these monthly amounts depend on your annual income, how long you’ve lived in Canada after 18, and sometimes how much you’ve contributed throughout your working years. 

That said, in private organizations, such as retail outlets, people can reach their “senior” status and enjoy company benefits starting at the age of 50-55.

What is the Senior Discount Age in Canada?

Senior discounts are a wonderful perk that can help seniors save money on some goods and services. The age for these senior discounts varies according to the provider. Still, it mostly starts from 60 to 65 — some providers go as low as 55+ years.

Some senior discounts in Canada include:

Health-related discounts

A good example is the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB), which offers discounts for about 5,000 medications. You have to be above 65 and meet other qualifications, such as eligibility for OHIP+. 

Shoppers Drug Mart also offers a 20% discount on regular-priced goods to customers over 65 every Thursday.

Grocery and dining for seniors

Giant Tiger offers 10% off on the first Monday of every month for customers over 60.

You can also get a 20% discount on your coffee orders every day at McDonald’s if you are 55+ (65+ in Quebec)

Retail discounts for seniors

Value Village offers some percentage off your purchases every Tuesday if you are 60+. 

Besides Value Village, you can get a 15% discount every Tuesday at Hudson Bay. But this offer is only valid if you’re enrolled in the HBC Rewards Program.

Transportation discounts

You can get transport discounts (up to 10%) at Via Rail if you are 60 and over. You can check these discounts online or over the phone.

Another place to get discounts is BC Ferries, where you can get up to 100% discount on Monday to Thursday if you’ve met specific qualifications.

Always confirm that a business premise offers seniors a discount and carry identification that proves your age, such as your OAS card.

Benefits for Seniors 55 and Older in Canada

As mentioned, a person’s senior citizen status can come with several benefits and perks. These can supplement your earnings and pay for essential needs, especially if you are a low-income earner. While the standard age is 65, there are some benefits you can enjoy as young as 55.

Old Age Security (OAS) 

This monthly payment is available to Canadian citizens aged 65 and above. It is usually reviewed every January, April, July, and October and adjusted if the cost of living has risen according to the Consumer Price Index.

You should receive the OAS funds the first month after you turn 65. But you can defer your OAS payments for up to 5 years (60 months) until you turn 70. The longer you defer, the more pension you’ll receive each month, but after 70, there’s no financial benefit of delaying your first payment.

Also, keep in mind that OAS payments are taxable. And check if your income is above the specified income threshold since you’ll have to repay part of your pension(OAS clawbacks).

Canada Pension Plan (CPP)

This is another taxable income you can get monthly if you are over 60 and have contributed to the CPP (at least one valid contribution).

Valid contributions include any work you’ve done in Canada or credits you’ve received from your spouse or former common-law partner at the end of your relationship. The amount you get also depends on your average income until you apply for the CPP.

Like the OAS payments, you can receive your payments at 60 or defer until you’re 70. You’ll earn more if you start collecting at 70, but there’s no financial benefit if you start past 70.

There are other benefits you can get alongside the CPP, such as:

  • Disability pension
  • Post-retirement disability pension
  • Survivor’s pension
  • Death benefit
  • Children’s benefit
  • Post-retirement benefit

Remember, you have to apply to CPP even if you automatically qualify. Also, indicate when you want your pension to start.

Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)

This is a federal senior citizen monthly benefit you can get if you are 65+ years old, a Canadian resident, and are earning OAS payments. Also, if your income is below the specified maximum income threshold (based on your marital status).

Unlike the OAS and the CPP, the GIS is not taxable and is meant to supplement the income of low-earning OAS pensioners. There is also the Survivor’s allowance if you meet specific requirements.

Remember, it’s prudent to apply even if the government will usually automatically include you in its rollout. They may not have enough info to enroll you automatically. Also, you should file your taxes on time to avoid disruptions or late payments of the GIS.

Provincial benefits

Provinces may also offer various benefits and programs to support seniors. For instance, the Manitoba 55 PLUS Program offers quarterly benefits to seniors (over 55) whose income levels are under a specific threshold. 

You can apply for the 55 PLUS Program anytime, but if you’re not receiving any OAS payments, you must reapply each year.

Another provincial benefit, the Ontario Drug Benefits (ODB), covers prescriptions contained in the provincial formulary. As mentioned, there are specific qualifications that make you eligible for the ODB.

What is the Retirement Age in Canada? 

Typically, the retirement age mentioned in programs like the OAS and CPP in Canada is 65. However, your retirement age is flexible, and you can choose to retire anytime, depending on your preferences or circumstances.

Keep in mind the Canadian standard age for pension is 65. But you can choose to start earning your pension at 60 or as late as 70. However, the time you choose to earn your pension affects how much you receive.

FAQs

Can I collect OAS at Age 60?

No, you start receiving your OAS payments the first month after you turn 65. However, you can start earning your CPP as early as 60.

Is 55 a senior citizen in Canada?

It depends on the context. You qualify for most of the federal benefits from 60 years and above. Still, you may be eligible for retailer discounts, among other benefits, as young as 55.

Is the retirement age 65 or 67 in Canada?

The retirement age is not fixed and you can retire at any age. But you start receiving certain benefits at specified ages, mostly 65.

How much Canada pension will I get at 60? 

The amount you’ll receive depends on the type of benefits you’ll be receiving. These amounts vary for the CPP, the OAS, the GIS, and other provincial benefits (if any).

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Enoch Omololu

Enoch Omololu is a personal finance expert. He has a master’s degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School (Scotland) and has completed several courses and certificates in finance, including the Canadian Securities Course. Enoch is passionate about helping others win with their finances and has written about money matters for over a decade. He has been featured or quoted in The Globe and Mail, CBC News, Yahoo Finance, GO Banking Rates, Financial Post, Bankrate, Forbes, Toronto Star, CTV News, and other personal finance publications. He founded Savvy New Canadians, one of Canada’s top financial education platforms.

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