Human Resources Legislative Update
Regulations Amending the Old Age Security Act Regulations Released
Date: November 17, 2017
On November 15, 2017, amendments to the Old Age Security Regulations (Regulations) were published in the Canada Gazette to:
- Phase in automatic enrollment for Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) benefits, alongside enrollment for Old Age Security (OAS), by the 65th birthday of eligible individuals
- Revert the age of eligibility for OAS benefits to age 65 from age 67 (which had first been introduced in 2012).
Generally, eligible individuals must make an application for OAS and GIS benefits six months prior to their desired benefit commencement date. Since 2013, Employment and Social Development Canada has been phasing in automatic enrollment for OAS benefits at age 65 for certain eligible individuals who, by age 64, have participated in the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or Québec Pension Plan (QPP) for 40 or more years. Individuals selected for automatic enrollment are notified in writing of their eligibility to commence receipt of OAS benefits and the information (obtained from the Canada Revenue Agency) used to determine their eligibility. The individual then has an opportunity to correct the information, as necessary, and waive their application for benefit commencement at age 65. Unless waived, the individual’s application for OAS benefits is deemed to have been made and approved the day of their 65th birthday.
The new Regulations aim to implement automatic enrollment for GIS benefits, alongside the OAS automatic enrollment, effective December 31, 2017 in order to decrease the burden of processing applications.
The new Regulations will also require individuals to request cancellation of GIS benefits within six months of their commencement and any required repayments must be made within six months of the cancellation being granted. This is consistent with the existing rules for the cancellation of OAS benefits.
Alongside the new changes respecting automatic enrollment for GIS benefits, the Regulations are formally amended to maintain the age of eligibility for OAS and GIS benefits at age 65. The Regulations had previously been amended in 2012 to phase in an increased age for eligibility (i.e. age 67). The phase in for the increased eligibility age was set to take place between 2023 and 2029. The repeal of the increased age of eligibility for OAS and GIS benefits was introduced in the 2016 Federal Budget implementation legislation, Bill C-15 (Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 1), which received Royal Assent on June 22, 2016.