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Senior Poverty & The Guaranteed Annual Income System - 2012

Resolution Number:100.20.23

Background: In 2030, an estimated 23 per cent of the Canadian population will be over age 65.
According to Statistics Canada, there were 1,649,180 people over 65 in Ontario in 2006, 56.5 percent of them women. Because pension allowance has been linked to employment history, poverty rates among the elderly tend to be highest among women, particularly widows over the age of 75.
The Ontario Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) ensures a guaranteed minimum income on top of the Federal Old Age Security (OAS) pension and the Guaranteed Income Security (GIS). The GAINS payment is based on income, and combined income for couples/common-law couples. The Ontario Government GAINS Benefit Period, October 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011 the Guaranteed Income Level was:
Summary of Maximum Monthly Benefits
Benefit Programs Single(S) Qualified Couple: per person (P) couple (C)
OAS - Old Age Security: $537.97(S) $537.97(P) $1,075.94(C)
GIS - Guaranteed Income Supplement: $729.44(S) $483.68(P) $967.36(C)
GAINS - Guaranteed Annual Income System: $83.00(S) $83.00(P) $166.00(C)
Total (Difference 61.1%) 1,350.41 1,104.65 2,209.30
Summary of Basic Living Expenses
Expense Single Couple Difference
Rent $900 $900 .00
Telephone $ 50 $ 50 .00
Transit $120 $240 $120
Groceries $300 $600 $300
Medical/Dental $200 $400 $200
TOTALS $1,570 $2,190 71.7%
Nice, Diane. Why women need to save more than men for retirement. The Globe and Mail. 10 Nov.2010.
Service Canada. Guaranteed Income Supplement Retrieved from
Statistics Canada. Age and Sex, 2006 counts… 2010. Retrieved from….
Statistics Canada. The Daily. Feb.22, 2008. Retrieved from
Statistics Canada. Life Expectancy at Birth by Sex, by Province. 2011. Retrieved from

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Ontario urge the Ontario Ministry of Finance to review the calculation and formula for the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) Income Supplement to include:

1) the basic expenses regardless of a single or couple applicant(s) including rent or property taxes plus heat and hydro; and the cost for basic telephone service per household

2) an amount to cover the other basics of living e.g. groceries, transportation, medication etc. based on a single or couple applicant(s) in addition to the income tests.

AND FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the GAINS benefit reduce the gap between single and couples to cover basic living expenses to a minimum of 78%.


©BPW Ontario

Article ID: 4361