Retirement benefits in Canada are provided through:

  • Government-administered pension programs
  • Employer-sponsored pension plans
  • Individual savings

Health insurance is provided through:

  • Government-sponsored hospital and medical insurance plans
  • Employer-sponsored medical plans
  • Individual plans

Government-Administered Pension Programs

  • Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement: the base of the retirement income system, financed from general tax revenues.
  • Canada Pension Plan and Quebec Pension Plan: employment-related plans financed entirely by employee and employer contributions.

Employer-Sponsored Pension Plans

Employers increasingly provide defined contribution over defined benefit plans. Plans are regulated by Federal and Provincial legislation. Income tax benefits which encourage pension plans are governed by the Income Tax Act.

Individual Savings

  • Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP) allow individuals to accommodate retirement savings on a tax-preferred basis.
  • Tax-Free Savings Accounts allow individuals to accumulate tax-advantaged savings in addition to their RRSPs.

Government-Sponsored Hospital and Medical Insurance Plans

Each Province provides a program which must meet minimum standards set out in the Canada Health Act. Coverage varies by Province. Plans are financed by Federal Government contributions plus through provincial payroll taxes or general tax revenues.

Employer-Sponsored Medical Plans

Most employers provide supplementary medical and dental plans. Medical plans typically cover a range of medical/paramedical services/supplies not covered under government-sponsored hospital and medical insurance plans. Dental plans typically provide reimbursement for most services obtained by covered employees and their dependents. Plans are financed entirely by employee and employer contributions.

Individual Plans

People not covered under an employer-sponsored plan may obtain individual medical/dental plans, financed entirely by the individual.