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Government of Canada proposing to provide one-time payment to support low-income seniors who received pandemic benefits

News release

December 17, 2021              Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development Canada

As Canada recovers from the global pandemic, the Government will continue to support vulnerable, low-income seniors who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

Today, Canada’s Minister of Seniors, Kamal Khera highlighted that the Government of Canada is proposing to provide up to $742.4 million for one-time payments to alleviate the financial hardship of Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and Allowance recipients who received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) in 2020. This proposed measure was announced in the 2021 Economic and Fiscal Update. The government will continue to investigate ways to limit potential benefit reductions for vulnerable seniors who received emergency and recovery benefits.

The CERB and the CRB were designed to provide financial support to employed and self-employed Canadians directly affected by COVID-19. The Government of Canada recognizes that some GIS and Allowance recipients are now facing lower benefit payments this year because of the income they received from these pandemic benefits. Therefore, the Government is proposing to issue an automatic one-time payment which would reimburse affected GIS and Allowance recipients who faced a reduction or loss of GIS benefits in July 2021. Seniors would not need to take any action to receive the one-time payment.  

This payment would build on previous measures to support seniors, which include:

  • restoring the age of eligibility for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension and the GIS to 65 from 67;
  • increasing the GIS for the lowest-income single seniors;
  • enhancing the GIS earnings exemption;
  • providing a one-time, tax-free payment to help seniors with their extra costs during the pandemic; and
  • moving forward with the plan to boost the OAS by 10% next year for seniors 75 and over.


“I am committed to improving the supports and benefits available to seniors, especially those with the greatest need. This one-time payment would help improve the financial situation of GIS and Allowance recipients who received the CERB/CRB and saw reductions in GIS, as they navigate the continued financial pressures related to COVID-19. The pandemic hit low-income seniors particularly hard, and the Government of Canada will continue to provide them with the support they need.”

 Minister of Seniors, Kamal Khera

Quick facts

  • The targeted, one-time payment is proposed to go to an estimated 183,000 GIS recipients and 21,000 Allowance recipients who received CERB/CRB in 2020, and who faced a reduction or loss of GIS benefits in July 2021.
  • Seniors are the fastest-growing demographic age group in Canada. By 2030, the number of seniors is expected to reach 9.4 million, representing close to one quarter of Canada’s population.
  • Since 2015, the Government has provided supports to seniors, such as:
    • Increasing the GIS for nearly 900,000 low-income single seniors. As a result of this, and other Government initiatives, an estimated 45,000 seniors were lifted out of poverty.
    • Putting thousands of dollars back in the pockets of future Canadian seniors by restoring the age of eligibility for the OAS pension and the GIS benefits to 65.
    • Enhancing the GIS earnings exemption for working low-income seniors, to help them keep more of their benefits.
    • Reducing income taxes through increases to the Basic Personal Amount. When these increases are fully implemented in 2023, 4.3 million seniors will benefit, 465,000 of whom will see their federal income tax reduced to zero. Every year, singles will save close to $300 and couples will save nearly $600.
    • Providing a one-time payment of $500 in August 2021 to OAS pensioners who will be 75 or over as of June 30, 2022.
    • Issuing one-time, tax-free payments to help seniors with their extra costs during the pandemic, worth over $1,500 to a low-income couple. In April 2020, more than 4 million low- and middle-income seniors received a GST credit top-up—worth an average of $375 for individual seniors and $510 for senior couples. In July 2020, the Government provided a one-time tax-free payment of $300 to 6.7 million OAS pensioners and a further $200 to 2.2 million seniors eligible for the GIS.
    • Moving forward with the plan to boost the OAS pension by 10% in July 2022 for seniors 75 and over.

source: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/news/2021/12/government-of-canada-proposing-to-provide-one-time-payment-to-support-low-income-seniors-who-received-pandemic-benefits.html