Old Age Security Program (OAS)

The Old Age Security program, the cornerstone of Canada’s retirement income system, provides you with a modest pension at the age of 65 if you have lived in Canada for at least 10 years. If you are a low-income senior, you may be eligible for other benefits as early as the age of 60.

The amount of your basic OAS pension is based on how long you have lived in Canada. It is not necessary to have worked in Canada to qualify for the OAS pension. For example, if you lived in Canada for 40 years or more after you turned 18, regardless of whether you worked while in Canada, you will receive the maximum pension. If you live in Canada for less than 40 years after turning 18, the amount of the OAS pension you receive may vary depending on your responses to the questions that follow. You can try different responses to see if they will change the amount of your pension.

To qualify for an OAS pension, you must:

  • be 65 or older;
  • be a Canadian citizen or a legal resident of Canada on the day before your application is approved;
  • have been a Canadian citizen or a legal resident of Canada on the day before you left Canada, if you no longer live in Canada;
  • have lived in Canada for at least 10 years since your 18th birthday to receive OAS in Canada; and
  • have lived in Canada for at least 20 years since your 18th birthday to receive OAS outside of Canada.

OAS benefits do not start automatically. You must apply for them. The basic OAS pension is taxable and is reduced for higher-income pensioners.