Financial Help for Seniors in Ontario: Your Guide to Benefits

Retirement should be a time to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor. But for many seniors, financial concerns can cast a shadow over this golden age. The good news is the Ontario government and the federal government of Canada offer a variety of programs to help retirees with their financial needs.

This guide will explore the key benefits available to seniors aged 65 and older in Ontario, helping you navigate the options and access the support you deserve.

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Provincial Benefits for Ontario Seniors

The Ontario government offers several programs specifically designed to assist seniors with their financial well-being. Here’s a closer look at three significant programs:

  • Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB): This program is a lifesaver for many seniors, covering a substantial portion of the cost of prescription drugs for Ontarians aged 65 and over. The ODB covers roughly 5,000 prescription drug products, including essential medications and some over-the-counter options. To be eligible, you simply need to be a resident of Ontario with a valid Ontario Health Card and be 65 years of age or older. There are some exceptions for younger individuals in special circumstances, such as those residing in long-term care facilities or receiving provincial social assistance.
  • Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program (OSDCP): Dental care can be a significant expense for seniors. The OSDCP helps bridge this gap by providing free routine dental services to low-income seniors aged 65 or older. To qualify, you must be a resident of Ontario, meet the income eligibility requirements (which vary depending on whether you are single or a couple), and have no other dental insurance coverage. The program offers coverage for cleanings, examinations, x-rays, fillings, and certain other essential procedures.
  • Ontario Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS): This program provides a guaranteed minimum income for Ontario seniors through monthly payments. To be eligible, you must be 65 years old and already receive the full or partial Old Age Security (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) from the federal government. Additionally, you must have been a permanent resident of Ontario for at least the past year or have lived in the province for 20 years after turning 18. The GAINS benefit supplements your federal income to ensure you reach a minimum guaranteed income level.

Federal Benefits for Canadian Seniors

In addition to provincial benefits, several federal programs offer financial assistance to seniors across Canada. Here are some key programs to consider:

  • Canada Pension Plan (CPP): The CPP is a contributory retirement program that provides a monthly taxable payment to eligible Canadians. If you contributed to the CPP during your working years, you will begin receiving a monthly pension upon retirement. The amount you receive depends on your contributions and when you start receiving the benefit (you can opt to start as early as 60, but the monthly payment will be lower).
  • CPP Survivor’s Pension: This benefit provides financial support to a deceased CPP contributor’s spouse or common-law partner. The survivor will receive a monthly allowance based on the deceased’s CPP contributions and the survivor’s age.
  • Old Age Security (OAS): This federal program offers a monthly payment to Canadian residents aged 65 and over who have met residency requirements. The amount you receive depends on how long you have lived in Canada.
  • Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS): The GIS is a non-taxable benefit for low-income Canadian seniors aged 65 or older who receive the OAS pension. The amount you receive depends on your marital status, income, and other factors.

How to Apply for Senior Benefits in Ontario

Financial Help for Seniors in Ontario: Your Guide to Benefits

The application process for senior benefits can vary depending on the specific program. Here’s a general guideline to follow:

  1. Choose your desired start date: For benefits like CPP and OAS, you can choose when you want to start receiving your monthly payments. Apply in advance to ensure your payments begin on the chosen date.
  2. Select your application method: Many benefits can be applied for online through your My Service Canada Account (MSCA). Alternatively, paper applications are available for download and mail-in submission.
  3. Gather required documents: Depending on the benefit, you may need additional documents to support your application. These could include proof of income, residency documents, or your social insurance number.
  4. Track your application status: Once submitted, you can check the status of your application through your MSCA account.
  5. Await a response: Service Canada will review your application and notify you of the outcome.

Additional Resources and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some additional resources to explore and answers to some frequently asked questions:

  • Ontario Renovates Program: This program provides financial assistance in the form of forgivable loans and grants to help low-income homeowners make essential repairs and accessibility modifications to their homes. This can be particularly helpful for seniors who want to age in place safely and comfortably.
  • Seniors Community Grant Program: This provincial program provides grants ranging from $1,000 to $25,000 to support local initiatives that promote the well-being of seniors. These initiatives can focus on social activities, physical and mental health programs, or educational workshops.


  • What are the new benefits for seniors in 2024?
    • The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) monthly payment increased to $1,364.60 for new recipients starting at 65 years old in 2024.
    • The Old Age Security (OAS) pension saw a 0.8% increase for the January to March 2024 period.
  • What other financial assistance is available for Ontario seniors?
    • The Old Age Security (OAS) pension provides a base level of income for all eligible seniors.
    • The Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) supplements the OAS for low-income seniors.
    • Various tax benefits and credits are available for seniors, such as the Age Credit and the Pension Income Splitting.
  • How can I find out if I’m eligible for benefits? You can visit the websites of Service Canada ( and the Ontario government ( for eligibility information on various programs. Additionally, you can contact a Service Canada office or your local community organization that assists seniors.
  • What if I need help applying for benefits? Many community organizations offer free assistance to seniors with applying for benefits. You can contact your local community center, social services agency, or seniors’ group for guidance.
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Remember: It’s important to plan for your retirement financially. By understanding the benefits available to you, you can ensure a secure and comfortable future. Don’t hesitate to seek help if you need assistance navigating the application process or finding the programs that best suit your needs.

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