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Federal, Provincial and Municipal Programs for Seniors
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Post Easter 2020
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By Rick Vandekieft

We are living longer. Children born today have the prospect of living a longer life than any generation before them. Every year, the percentage of people in our province who are 65 or older increases slightly.

Next year, for the first time, Ontario will be home to more people over 65 than children under 15. Provinces, states and countries everywhere are coming to terms with the challenges, and opportunities, posed by an aging population.

The proportion of Ontario seniors living below Statistics Canada’s Low Income Measure line was 8.1 per cent in 2010, up from 1.9 per cent in 1995. In 2006, there were 164,115 senior led households unable to afford adequate, suitable and affordable shelter. That is 17.1 per cent of all senior households in the province.

While these statistics are cause for concern, it is also true that a high number of seniors including too many in that Low Income classification that are unaware and/or don’t use the numerous programs available to them.

Assistance is not just in the form of federal or provincial government programs, we will include some local programs that may be worth checking out.

In this edition of Christian Life in London, we are providing information on a few of the lessor known programs that you may qualify for.
  • Lived or living outside Canada - Pensions and benefits (Federal Program)
  • Ontario Trillium Benefit (Provincial Program)
  • Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit (Provincial Program)
  • Ontario Renovates Program (Joint Provincial & Municipal Program)
  • The Home and Vehicle Modifications Program (Provincial Program)
  • Ontario Guaranteed Annual Income System (Provincial Program)
  • Guaranteed Income Supplement (Federal Program)
  • Tax credits (Federal and provincial)

Lived or living outside Canada - Pensions and benefits (Federal Program)

Did you know that if you lived or worked in Canada AND another country, or you are the survivor of someone who has lived or worked in Canada and in another country, you may be eligible for pensions and benefits from Canada and/or from the other country because of a social security agreement. Canada has signed social security agreements with a number of other countries that offer comparable pension programs.

The requirements under the social security agreements vary from agreement to agreement. It is important to check the details of the agreement that relates to you.

How can a social security agreement help you qualify for benefits?

A social security agreement can help you qualify for benefits by allowing you to combine your periods of contribution or periods of residency in Canada with your periods of contribution or periods of residency in the other country to meet the minimum eligibility criteria. It can also reduce or eliminate restrictions based on citizenship or on payment of pensions abroad.

Even if you have lived and/or worked in Canada and in another country, and do not meet the contributory or residence requirement for a Canada Pension Plan or Old Age Security benefit, a social security agreement may help you qualify. It might also provide benefits to your surviving spouse, common law partner or children.

The Canadian benefits included in Canada’s international social security agreements are those paid under the Old Age Security program and the Canada Pension Plan program.

A social security agreement may help you qualify for a Canadian or foreign benefit, or both, if you lived or worked abroad and in Canada.

Click HERE for the information and application process for the Lived or living outside Canada - Pensions and benefits Program

Ontario Trillium Benefit

The Ontario Trillium Benefit helps people pay for energy costs, and provides relief for sales and property tax.

You need to be eligible for at least one of the Ontario Sales Tax Credit, Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit, or Northern Ontario Energy Credit to receive the Ontario Trillium Benefit.

Click HERE to see if you qualify for the Ontario Trillium Benefit and to test the Tax credit calculator.

Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit (Provincial Program)

This credit helps low- to moderate‑income individuals with property taxes and the sales tax on energy. The credit is part of the Ontario Trillium Benefit.

For the 2016 benefit year, you could get up to $1,148* if you are a senior ($924* to help with property taxes and $224* to help with sales tax on energy.

You could also qualify for up to $224* if you live in a public long-term care home
*These amounts are adjusted for inflation each year.

Click HERE for more details and to use the online calculator to see how much you can expect by using the Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit.

Ontario Renovates Program (Joint Provincial & Municipal Program)

This program offers financial assistance for low to moderate income households to increase accessibility of their dwelling through minor modifications and adaptations.

Eligible clients may receive up to $3,500 in the form of a grant for approved home modifications. The grant does not have to be repaid provided that the homeowner agrees to continue to occupy the dwelling for at least six months commencing on the first day of the month after the final payment is issued. For a landlord/tenant application, the grand does not have to be repaid provided that the landlord agrees that the work will not result in a rent increase to the unit.

To be eligible for the program, you must meet the following conditions:
  • Be a person with a disability who requires modification to their dwelling in order to live independently or be a senior age 60 or older and have difficulty with daily living activities
  • The home is assessed at a maximum of $255,000 or
  • For landlord/tenant households, the unit must be modest and the rent not to exceed the Average Market Rent for London (one bedroom $787/month, two bedroom $976/month and three bedroom $1089/month)
  • The income of the household is a maximum of $55,000
  • The home/unit is the sole and principal residence
  • Modifications must be completed within two months after the date of the Final Approval letter
  • Properties must be located in the City of London or Middlesex County
  • Any work carried out before written confirmation of final approval from the City of London is not eligible for assistance

Click HERE for more details and the application for the Ontario Renovates Program.


The Home and Vehicle Modifications Program provides home or vehicle modifications to eligible individuals and families to enable children and adults with disabilities that restrict mobility to continue living safely in their homes, avoid job loss and participate in their communities.

The program guidelines established by the Ministry of Community and Social Services set forth the policies governing the provision of services under the Home and Vehicle Modifications Program. The Service Coordinator is responsible for determining whether or not an applicant meets the eligibility criteria, approving expenditures that comply with program guidelines and ensuring that services are delivered according to the program policies.

The program is intended to serve those people most in need of assistance and to be a program of last resort. Applicants to the Home and Vehicle Modifications Program must first access any other sources of available public or private funding before being considered eligible. It is expected that people with disabilities applying for home modification will have made reasonable efforts to locate accessible accommodation before receiving assistance. Applicants with the financial means are required to make a client contribution towards the cost of modifications. For the purposes of the program guidelines, the term "applicant" refers to:
  • a person with a disability who is applying on their own behalf, OR,
  • a family member (e.g. spouse, parent) or "host family" applying on behalf of a person with a disability living in the family home.

Click HERE for the details on the Home and Vehicle Modifications Program

Ontario Guaranteed Annual Income System (Provincial Program)

GAINS ensures a guaranteed minimum income for Ontario seniors by providing monthly payments to qualifying pensioners. The monthly GAINS payments are on top of the federal Old Age Security (OAS) pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) payments you may receive. Your monthly GAINS payment will range between $2.50 and $83.00 and will decline as your private income increases.

You may qualify for GAINS payments if:
  • you live in Ontario
  • you are 65 or older
  • you receive the federal OAS and the federal GIS
  • you have lived in Ontario for the past 12 months, or for a total of 20 years since turning 18
  • you have 10 or more years of Canadian residency, and
  • your total income from all sources is below the level guaranteed by the province.
  • Moving out of Ontario

GAINS may be paid during temporary absences from Ontario. However, GAINS payments will stop if you are out of the province for more than six consecutive months. If you return to Ontario, you can restart your GAINS payments, based on your eligibility, by contacting the Ministry of Finance.

Moving into Ontario from another province
If you currently get both OAS and GIS payments and have lived in Ontario for one full year, the ministry will automatically review your eligibility for GAINS payments. The one full year residency requirement is waived if you previously lived in this province for a total of 20 years after the age of 18.

How is the amount I get for each benefit year calculated?
A GAINS benefit is only paid when total income, including OAS, GIS and all other sources of income, falls below the annual level guaranteed by the province. A single senior whose private income (e.g., Canada Pension Plan, bank interest) amounts to $1,992 or more a year will not receive any GAINS payments. Similarly, senior couples with a combined private annual income of $3,984 or more will not receive any GAINS payments.

Click HERE for more GAINS details and applications.

Guaranteed Income Supplement (Federal Program)

You qualify for the Guaranteed Income Supplement if you are receiving an Old Age Security pension and your annual income (or in the case of a couple, your combined income) is lower than the maximum annual threshold.

Using your income information from your federal Income Tax and Benefit Return, Revenue Canada will review your eligibility for the GIS every year. If you still qualify, your benefit will be automatically renewed. In July, you will receive a letter telling you either that your benefit will be renewed, or, that your benefit will be stopped, or that additional information is required.

Click HERE for more details on the Guaranteed Income Supplement.


In an upcoming edition, we will be featuring a tax specialist to provide advice on optimizing the federal tax credits for seniors and other tax considerations.

These tax measures may result in tax savings for you:
  • The age amount: You can claim this amount if you are 65 years of age or older and your net income is less than $80,256 (for 2013). If your net income was $34,562 or less, you would qualify for a $6,854 credit. If you earn between $34,562 and $80,256 you have to calculate your claim.
  • Pension income amount: If you reported “eligible pension,” “superannuation” or “annuity payments” on your tax return, you may be able to claim up to $2,000. To find out if you can claim the pension income amount, visit the Canada Revenue Agency website.
  • Pension sharing: If you and your spouse or common-law partner are both receiving Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits, you may be able to share your benefits. A few key facts about pension sharing:
  • Pension sharing can result in tax savings.
    • The overall amount of your benefits do not increase or decrease with pension sharing.
  • You have to apply to share your CPP benefits.
  • Pension income splitting: You and your spouse or common-law partner may be able to split your eligible pension income, including:
    • annuity payments from a superannuation or pension fund or plan
    • annuity and registered retirement income fund (including life income fund) payments
    • registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) annuity payments.
  • Other tax credits you might qualify for
    • Medical expenses: For many people, medical expenses increase as they grow older. Be sure to keep track of your medical expenses because you may be able to claim certain eligible medical expenses for yourself and your spouse or common-law partner when filing your taxes.
    • The disability tax credit (DTC): If you suffer from a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions, you might be eligible for the DTC. The DTC might reduce the amount of income tax that you have to pay in a year to help offset some of the costs of dealing with impairment.
    • Family caregiver amount: This tax amount provides additional tax relief to people caring for relatives in poor health, including spouses and common-law partners.


Ashwood Manor

79 David St. | London, ON, N6P1B4 | Phone: 519-652-9006 | Website: | Email:

Bentley Landscape Ltd.

474 Colborne St. | London, ON N6B 2T3 | Phone: 519-452-0334 | Website: | Email:

Creation Bookstore

900 Oxford St E (Bellwood Place), Unit #12 | London ON N5Y 5A1 | Phone: 519-659-2610 | Fax: 519-659-2615 | Website: | Email:

Donohue Funeral Home

362 Waterloo Street | London, ON N6B 2N6 | Phone: 519-434-2708 | Website: | Email:

Forest Lawn Funeral Home & Cemetery

2001 Dundas Street E. | London, Ontario N5V 1P6 | Phone: 519-451-2410 | Website: | Email:

Hardick Chiropractic Centre

331 Queens Ave | London, ON N6B 1X2 | Phone: 519-673-1132 | Website: | Email:

Jackson Monuments and Stone Works

316B Neptune Crescent | London, ON N6M 1A1 | Phone: 519-451-3838 | Website: | Email:

Masonville Manor

350 North Centre Rd. | London, ON, N6G 5G3 | Phone: 519-663-0220 | Website: | Email:

McFarlane and Roberts Funeral Home

2240 Wharncliffe Rd. S. | London, ON, N6P 1L1 | Phone: 519-652-2020 | Website: | Email:


170 Hamilton Rd. | London ON N6B 1N5 | Phone: 519-518-6353 | Website: | Email:

Mount Pleasant Cemetery and Crematorium

303 Riverside Dr. | London, ON | Phone: 519-434-6504 | Website: | Email:

Oakland Cemetery

390 Oxford St. W | London, ON | Phone: 519-434-6504 | Website:

Precision Home Medical Equipment

390 Springbank Drive, Unit 13A (Southcrest Plaza) | London, ON N6J 1G9 | Phone: 519-657-1032 | Website: | Email:

Right To Life Associations

1193 Oxford Street Unit 3 | London, ON N5Y 3M2 | Phone: 519-659-3334 | Website: | Email:

Soccer Express

1070 Wellington Rd. #17 | London, ON, N6E 3V8 | Phone: 519-601-4625 | Website: | Email:

Southwest Pet Store

1641 Dundas St. E. | London, ON N5W 3C3 | Phone: 519-451-7279 | Website: | Email:

Southwest Pet Store

1063 Talbot St. | St. Thomas, ON N5P 1G4 | Phone: 519-633-2334 | Website: | Email: