(Archive copy for historical purposes only)

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Provincial "Top-Up" Programs for Seniors


See "Special Age-Related Assistance" (section 5.3.1 "u").

Prince Edward Island

No top-up program for seniors.

Nova Scotia

In December 1991, the Special Social Assistance (SSA) program was amended to apply to all persons 65 years of age and over (not only to GIS beneficiaries) on the basis of a needs test.  Since this section deals only with top-ups to seniors in receipt of GIS, the SSA program summary has been integrated within section 2.7 of this report.

New Brunswick

No top-up program for seniors


GAINS-A (for the Aged)

The Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS-A), also known as "Revenue Gains", was established under the Ontario Guaranteed Annual Income Act, 1974 and is administered by the Ministry of Revenue.  The program is designed to guarantee a minimum income to Ontario residents who have attained the age of 65, who are recipients of GIS, and who meet certain income and residency requirements.  GIS recipients need not apply since their eligibility is reviewed automatically.  Recipients of Spouse's Allowance are not eligible.

Guaranteed income levels for GAINS-A recipients are based on the current maximum OAS/GIS level (which is indexed quarterly) plus the GAINS-A supplement (payable by the Ont. Ministry of Revenue).  The maximum GAINS-A supplement for a single eligible person receiving maximum GIS or for each eligible spouse of a married couple (both receiving maximum GIS) is $83 monthly.

The reduction rate under GAINS-A is the same as that for GIS.

Certain persons who are eligible for GAINS-A may have dependents or special needs which entitle them to additional benefits under the Family Benefits program, provided they are otherwise eligible for FBA (assets and income limits).  In these cases, the total payment is made by the Ministry of Community and Social Services, which administers the "GAINS-D" (for "Disabled") program, otherwise known as "FBA GAINS"; a description of the GAINS-D program is included in section 6.3.


55 Plus - A Manitoba Income Supplement

This program, which was formerly known as the Manitoba Supplement for Pensioners, was established under the Social Services Administration Act and is administered by the Department of Family Services.  Since 1986, two separate regulations provide the legislative authority for the program:  "55 Plus-A Manitoba Income Supplement for persons eligible to receive benefits under the Old Age Security Act (Canada)", and "55 Plus-A Manitoba Income Supplement for persons not eligible to receive benefits under the Old Age Security Act (Canada)".

The target group for the first component is Manitoba residents who are eligible to receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement, Spouse's Allowance, or Widowed Spouse's Allowance.  Initial eligibility and subsequent re-calculation of 55-Plus entitlement are automatic, based on annual GIS or SPA applications.

The maximum supplement since April 1990 is $111.60 quarterly for a single, widowed or divorced pensioner or a married pensioner whose spouse is a non-pensioner.  The maximum supplement is $119.90 for each spouse quarterly where both spouses of a married couple are eligible for OAS/GIS, or where one spouse is GIS-eligible and the other is SPA-eligible or to a person eligible for Widowed Spouse's Allowance.

The 55 Plus quarterly supplements in the preceding paragraph will be reduced, based on the total income declared for GIS purposes, at a rate that is the same as for the federal Guaranteed Income Supplement, to a minimum quarterly benefit of $10.00.

The target group for the second component is persons age 55 years and over who are not eligible to receive OAS/GIS/SPA, who are registered with the Manitoba Health Services Insurance Plan, and whose total annual income falls below specified levels. Recipients must re-apply annually for these benefits.

Since April 1990, maximum benefits of $111.60 are paid quarterly to single persons with incomes of $8,930.40 or less.  Partial benefits are calculated for those with incomes between $8,930.41 and $9,722.40.  Maximum benefits of $119.90 are paid quarterly to each eligible married person with a family income of $14,479.20 or less.  Partial benefits are calculated for those with a family income between $14,479.21 and $16,207.20.  A minimum quarterly benefit of at least $10.00 is paid to eligible single persons and each eligible married person.

Where a pensioner ceases to reside in Manitoba, payment of the benefit will be terminated in the quarter following the month in which the recipient ceases to reside in Manitoba.

The benefit period for both "55-Plus" programs begins in April and ends the following March.

Regulations providing for annual indexation of 55 Plus supplements were repealed following the 1991-92 provincial budget.


Saskatchewan Income Plan

The Saskatchewan Income Plan (SIP), which was established in October 1975 under the Saskatchewan Assistance Act and "transferred" in January 1987 to the new Saskatchewan Income Plan Act, is administered by Saskatchewan Social Services.  Under SIP, Senior Citizens' Benefits are available to Saskatchewan residents who are entitled to GIS.  Recipients of Spouse's Allowance are not eligible.  Application for GIS is considered to be an application for SIP benefits.

As of October 1992, maximum benefits are $90 per month for a single person, or a person in receipt of GIS whose spouse is not in receipt of OAS/GIS, and $72.50 per month for each spouse of a married couple where both receive OAS/GIS. Lower benefit levels ($25/mo. for single pensioners, $22.50/mo. for each spouse in two-pensioner couples) apply to persons in special-care institutions. These benefit levels are set by regulation.

For single recipients and married recipients whose spouses are also eligible, SIP benefits are reduced by $1 for each $1 reduction in GIS benefits.  For a pensioner whose spouse is not eligible for OAS/GIS/SPA, the benefit is reduced by $3 for each $1 reduction in GIS.  For a pensioner whose spouse receives SPA, the benefit is reduced by $1 for each $3 reduction in SPA benefits.

Minimum SIP benefits vary from $6.50 to $12.00 per month, depending on the circumstances of the household (re. OAS/GIS entitlements).   Saskatchewan Income Plan Act and Regulations


Alberta Seniors Benefit

In effect since July 1994, the Alberta Seniors Benefit (footnote: 1) provides income support in the form of a cash benefit for Alberta seniors with lower incomes; it also exempts low - and middle-income seniors from paying health care insurance premiums.

People who are Alberta residents (currently and at least 90 days within the past year) and 65 years of age and over may apply for this income-tested benefit.  Receipt of the federal Old Age Security pension is also an eligibility requirement, but applicants who do not qualify for OAS may still be eligible for the accommodation portion of the Alberta Seniors Benefit, provided they do not reside in subsidized accommodation.

The amount of the benefit is based on marital status, income, type of accommodation and eligibility for federal Old Age Security.

The following table shows maximum annual benefits and reduction rates for the various marital categories and accommodation types.

Marital Category Reduction Maximum Annual

 and   Rate Benefit

Accommodation B BB68


Single .137 $1,800

One-senior couple .106 $1,800

Two-senior couple .171 $2,950

Regular Renter

Single .179 $2,350

One-senior couple .138 $2,350

Two-senior couple .203 $3,500

Mobile Home Owner/Renter

Single .164 $2,150

One-senior couple .126 $2,150

Two-senior couple .191 $3,300

Living in Subsidized Housing

Single .088 $1,150

One-senior couple .068 $1,150

Two-senior couple .133 $2,300

* The reduction rate applies to every dollar of "income for calculating benefits", defined by regulation as total income for income tax purposes less OAS/GIS/SPA, CPP Death Benefit or Disability Benefit, alimony or maintenance income, workers' compensation, social assistance, RRSP contributions and 5% of employment income.  The cash benefit ends at the same thresholds for all single seniors ($18,000), all one-senior couples ($23,000) and all two-senior couples ($27,000).

Widows; Pension

Under the Widows' Pension Act, Alberta may grant a widow's pension to a widow(er) age 55 to 64 years (incl.) who is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada and ordinarily resident in Alberta.  The applicant must not be a resident in a designated facility nor in receipt of a Handicap Benefit under the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped Act.

The maximum monthly pension payable since February 1993 to a widow(er) is equal to $810 less 1/12 of the applicant's non-exempt annual income for the year immediately preceding the year in which the application is made.

Clients vacationing outside of Alberta who continue to maintain a permanent residence in the province will still receive benefits if they intend to return to Alberta.

Income equals:

- 100% of Canada or Quebec Pension Plan retirement benefits and survivors' benefits, Worker's Compensation, War Veteran's Allowances, Unemployment Insurance, survivor's benefits from the spouse's private pension plan, private disability insurance and Extended Spouse's Allowance (under the federal Old Age Security Act);

- 75% of income from investments, dividends, private pension plans, annuities and life insurance;

- 75% of net employment earnings (after normal deductions excluding savings, room and board, bond purchases and loan indebtedness).

Where a person receives a widowed spouse's allowance under the federal Old Age Security Act and is also entitled to Alberta Widows' Pension benefits, the provincial pension shall be equal to the difference obtained by subtracting the widowed spouse's allowance for any given month from the widows' pension entitlement for the same month.

Exempt from the calculation of income are benefits under the Property Tax Reduction Act, home improvement grants, renter assistance credits, CPP/QPP Death Benefit, Family Allowances, Child Tax Credit, Sales Tax Credit, Home Heating Grant, Social Allowances or social assistance payments from another province, social allowances provided to registered Indians, foster care maintenance payments, income of a dependent, AISH, widow's pension, lump sums from life insurance or Workers' Compensation, payments received under the Japanese Canadian Redress Agreement or the Extraordinary Assistance Plan (federal assistance to persons who contracted AIDS from a transfusion of tainted blood products), payments received from the Government of Alberta as compensation by a person infected with HIV through the blood supply and payments under the Alberta Heritage Modified Mortgage Interest Reduction Program.

Persons who qualify for the program may also receive the following medical benefits:

- Alberta Health Care Insurance coverage;

- Alberta Blue Cross coverage (ambulance, private or semi-private hospital accommodations and 80% of prescription drug costs);

- Extended Health Benefits (partial coverage of optical, dental, hearing and other medical needs);

- Alberta Aids to Daily living and Extended Health Benefits (appliances and other approved medical needs).

A new application must be submitted annually on or before the last day of the month in which their birthday occurs for continuation of benefits.    Widows' Pension Act and Regulation; Policy Section 04-02

British Columbia

GAIN Seniors Supplement
The GAIN Seniors Supplement is administered by the Ministry of Social Services by authority of the Guaranteed Available Income for Need Act and Regulations.  The guaranteed monthly income for applicants in receipt of the federal Guaranteed Income Supplement is the OAS/GIS entitlement plus the provincial GAIN Seniors Supplement (maximum $49.30 single, $60.25 each for a couple).  A couple with one spouse receiving OAS/GIS and the other spouse receiving Spouse's Allowance (SPA) will be eligible for a maximum GAIN for Seniors Supplement of $60.25 monthly for the spouse on OAS/GIS and $49.83 for the SPA beneficiary.  The actual amount of the supplement payable in all cases in based on the income-tested portion of the federal benefit.  Persons receiving OAS/GIS/SPA automatically receive the provincial GAIN Supplement if an entitlement exists.  The GAIN Supplement is reduced by $1 for each $1 reduction in GIS benefits.    Regs. Schedule "A" No. 2(6); Policy 4.12.3

NOTE : Persons over 65 years of age who are not eligible for OAS/GIS because they do not meet the Canadian residency requirements may receive enhanced income assistance benefits under the regular GAIN legislative provisions, provided they meet asset and income criteria.  The benefit level decreases where the household's actual shelter costs are less than the specified Shelter Variable for that size of household (see table, section 5.2.10).    Policy p. 1.31; Editorial Comment


Seniors' Income Supplement Benefits

Effective July 1, 1982, Yukon will pay a maximum monthly benefit of $100 to every person who makes his home and is ordinarily present in Yukon, and who receives Spouse's Allowance (SPA) or Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) under the federal Old Age Security Act in the Yukon Territory and not elsewhere.   Seniors' Income Supplement Act

For every dollar by which the person's GIS is less than the maximum payable for that month, the amount of the Seniors' Income Supplement Benefit payable to that person will be reduced by 50 cents; in the case of a beneficiary of Spouse's Allowance, the benefit will be reduced by one dollar for every three dollars by which the person's SPA is less than the maximum.

Northwest Territories

Senior Citizens' Benefits
The payment of senior citizens' benefits was established in 1978 under the Senior Citizens Benefits Ordinance which is administered by the Department of Social Services. A monthly supplement of $135.00 (since April 1992) is payable as an automatic benefit to anyone receiving any amount of GIS or SPA.  The benefit rates are set by regulation.    Senior Citizens Benefits Act; Provincial Contact


1:   As of July 1994, the Alberta Seniors Benefit has replaced the following programs:

- Alberta Assured Income Plan

- Senior Citizen's Renters Assistance Program

- Property Tax Reduction Program

- Full exemption from paying Alberta Health Care Insurance premiums.

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