Dictionary, Census of Population, 2021
Old Age Security pension (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)

Release date: November 17, 2021Updated on: July 13, 2022


Old Age Security pension and Guaranteed Income Supplement paid to persons aged 65 years and over, and to the Allowance or the Allowance for the Survivor paid to 60‑ to 64‑year‑old spouses of old age security recipients or widow(er)s by the federal government during the reference period.

For the 2021 Census, this included the one-time payment issued in 2020 aimed at providing income support for seniors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Seniors eligible for Old Age Security pension received $300, and an additional $200 if eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

For the 2021 Census, the reference period for income data is the calendar year 2020, unless otherwise specified.

Statistical unit(s)


Reported in

2021 and 2016 (100% data); 2011Footnote 1 (30% sample); 2006, 2001, 1996, 1991, 1986 and 1981 (20% sample). For availability prior to 1981, refer to Appendix 2.1.

Reported for

Population aged 15 years and over in private households

Question number(s)

Variable derived based on administrative tax and benefit records received from the Canada Revenue Agency.


Positive dollar value or nil


The amount to be repaid based on net income when filing a tax return is excluded.

Provincial income supplements for seniors are included in government transfers not included elsewhere.

Retirement pensions to civil servants, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and military personnel are included in private retirement income.

See 'Remarks' under total income.

See also income sources and the detailed definitions for each of the components: Old Age Security pension (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and spousal allowance.

For more information, please refer to Appendix 2.4 Components of income in 2020.

For additional information about COVID‑19 benefits, data collection method, coverage, reference period, concepts, data quality and intercensal comparability of the income data, please refer to the Income Reference Guide, Census of Population, 2021.


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