Improving services for low-income seniors

News Release

Government of Canada improving service delivery for low-income seniors by expanding the scope of automatic enrolment for the Guaranteed Income Supplement

January 9, 2018                Gatineau, Quebec                Employment and Social Development Canada

In keeping with his commitment to improve delivery of programs and services for all Canadians, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, announced today the launch of automatic enrolment for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) benefit.

Implementing GIS automatic enrolment means that each month, up to 17,000 seniors who turn 64 years old on or after December 1, 2017, will be selected to be automatically enrolled for the GIS benefit without ever having to complete an application. Beginning in January 2018, these seniors will receive a letter notifying them that they will be enrolled for both Old Age Security (OAS) and GIS without needing to apply and will begin receiving their benefits automatically, if eligible, when they turn 65. The first payment will be made one month after the client turns 65.

Once automatically enrolled for OAS benefits, recipients will be automatically considered for the GIS each year based on their household income information included in their tax filing. It is important that tax returns are filed on time each year in order to receive or maintain these benefits.

GIS automatic enrolment is a key component of Employment and Social Development Canada’s Service Strategy, which aims to transform services in a way that responds to clients’ current and emerging needs and expectations.

As part of a wider effort to increase awareness of the GIS, Minister Duclos had committed to introduce automatic enrolment for GIS by January 2018. Building on previous phases of automatic enrolment for OAS, GIS automatic enrolment will not only contribute to ensuring Canadian seniors receive services and benefits that are easy to access, convenient and timely, it will also play an important role in helping reduce the incidence of low income among seniors.


“Automatic enrolment reduces the burden on many seniors by enabling them to receive their Old Age Security pension and Guaranteed Income Supplement at age 65 without ever having to apply for it. We continue our efforts to modernize the Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement services to meet the needs of Canadians.”
– The Honourable Jean‑Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development 

Quick Facts

  • The objective of the OAS program is to ensure a minimum income for seniors and help reduce the incidence of low income among Canada’s seniors. OAS benefits include the basic pension, which is paid to all individuals aged 65 and older who meet the residence requirements, and the GIS for low-income seniors.

  • Seniors who receive the Canada Pension Plan benefits by direct deposit will receive their combined OAS and GIS payments into the same account. Clients who receive the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) or who do not have direct deposit will receive their payments via paper cheque.

  • GIS automatic enrolment is the latest service improvement for the OAS program, building on previous phases of automatic enrolment which focused on the OAS pension in March 2013 and November 2016.

  • Service Canada also recently released an OAS Program Toolkit, making it easier for advocates and support groups to help seniors become aware of and obtain their OAS pension and other related benefits.

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Émilie Gauduchon-Campbell
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P.Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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