Discussing Ontario Benefits for Seniors and the Requirements

The Ontario Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) is a payment from the government to help low-income seniors. Find out if you qualify for GAINS.

Discussing Ontario Benefits for Seniors and the Requirements

In Ontario, like the rest of Canada, there are many lower-income seniors in need of financial assistance.

While programs like Old Age Security (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) are very helpful, a little top-up is still beneficial.

To this end, the Ontario government has a program known as the Ontario Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS).

Essentially, GAINS provides a monthly, non-taxable benefit to low-income seniors.

In order to qualify for GAINS, you must:

  • be 65 or older
  • have lived in Ontario for the past 12 months or for a total of 20 years since turning 18
  • have been a Canadian resident for 10 years or more
  • receive the federal OAS pension and GIS payments
  • have an annual private income of
    • up to $1,992 if you’re single; or
    • up to $3,984 if you’re a seniorcouple.

Private income refers to income that doesn’t come from employment. This includes money from a private pension, the Canada Pension Plan, bank interest, and so on.

The monthly amount you could receive from the GAINS ranges from $2.50 to $83. If you have no private income, you’ll get the maximum $83. Your payment can change if your income or marital status changes.

GAINS is really just meant to top off the income of seniors so that it meets a certain minimum. The province of Ontario guarantees a minimum level of income for seniors, composed of the maximum benefits from OAS, GIS and GAINS. This is called the guaranteed income level and is adjusted for inflation every three months.

If you currently receive the OAS pension and GIS, you don’t need to apply for GAINS as the amount will be determined and given automatically by the Ontario government.

To receive GAINS payments, you must file your return every year by April 30, regardless of whether or not you have income to report.

Payments are issued around the 25th of each month, starting in July and ending in June of the next year.

To sign up for direct deposits, either visit Service Canada or call the number 1-800-277-9914.

If you’re unsatisfied with a decision regarding your GAINS eligibility or payments, contact the Ontario Ministry of Finance at:


TTY: 1-800-263-7776


If you’re still unsatisfied, you can complete a formal Notice of Objection form within 90 days from when the written decision was mailed to you. After completing the form, you can mail it to:

Ministry of Finance

℅ Director, Advisory, Objections, Appeals and Services Branch

33 King Street West, Post Office Box 699, Station A

Oshawa, Ontario

L1H 8S6


So that’s GAINS in a nutshell, a little top-up to the other benefits given to seniors in Ontario.


CLICK HERE to find more information on GAINS, visit the Government of Ontario’s website