Canada's Public Pension system has two components:

  1. Old Age Security (OAS) is a public pension pension paid monthly to people aged 65 or over who meet the residence requirements. OAS is financed from federal tax revenues. The maximum amount received in July 2008 was $505.83. 
  2. Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) is a monthly income supplement paid to people receiving the OAS pension. It is an income tested benefit for people receiving the OAS who have low income. The maximum monthly amount in July 2008 was $638.46.

In addition there is a special benefit called "The Allowance" which is an income supplement. The Allowance is paid to 60 to 64 year-old spouses or common-law partners of pensioners who receive GIS. There is also an Allowance for the Survivor for widows and widowers aged 60 to 64 who have low income.

In 2005 2006, 4.2 million OAS and Allowance beneficiaries received $29 billion in benefits.


Canada Pension Plan is described in a different section of this site. It is often considered another part of the public pension system. However, it is funded through employee and employer contributions, not taxes. The federal government is responsible for investing the money and administers it.



Advocacy Centre for the Elderly  

Government of Canada

 National Council of Welfare, Government of Canada Summer 1999 A Pension Primer

Immigrant Seniors' Economic Security and International Social Security Agreements Prepared by:  Sandra Elgersma Political and Social Affairs Division 6 December 2007