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What's the Retirement Age in Canada? There's no Single Answer

Written by Jessica Steer
Traditionally, we think of the standard retirement age in Canada as 65 years old. Only some people retire at age 65, though. Other Canadians retire earlier or later than this.
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    It depends on your income and when you can afford to retire. Let’s take a look at different retirement ages in Canada and when most Canadians choose to retire.

    Average Retirement Age

    In Canada, the average overall retirement age is 64.6. That said, the average does change depending on what your profession is. According to Statistics Canada, the average retirement age for public-sector employees is 62.7. The average age for those who are self-employed is 66, and the average age for private-sector employees is 64.7.

    As you can see, while all of these averages are different, they’re all close to 65 years old. This tells you that the majority of Canadians tend to retire between the ages of 60 and 70. 

    Age of Retirement for Women In Canada

    While gender doesn’t play a huge role in retirement, if you look at the averages, women tend to retire a little earlier than men. Let’s look at the average overall retirement age compared to the average age of retirement for women. 

    Employment SectorAverage Overall Retirement AgeAverage Retirement Age for Women
    Public Sector62.762.0
    Private Sector64.764.4

    Mandatory Retirement Age

    You may be surprised to learn that there actually isn’t a mandatory retirement age, however there used to be. Up until 2009, you had to retire by the age of 65 or earlier. That said, there are still some professions that have a mandatory retirement age, but the majority of professions allow you to work for as long as you choose to. Some examples of these professions are:

    • Firefighters
    • Airline Pilots
    • Air Traffic Controllers
    • Military Personnel
    • Police Officers

    The reason certain professions have a mandatory retirement age is that continuing to work in this profession after a certain age could be harmful to the employee as well as the public. When a specification such as a mandatory retirement age is made for a position, it’s referred to as a BFOR (Bona Fide Occupational Requirement).

    Since there’s no mandatory retirement age in Canada, you can still be eligible for Employment Insurance after the age of 65. That said, you do need to meet the eligibility requirements. 

    Best Age to Retire

    For most Canadians, the best age to retire is 65. This is because this is when most government benefits become available. While you are able to get these benefits earlier, you’re to get the full amount once you turn the age of 65. However, if you choose to retire at the age of 70, you can get a bit more from these benefits. 

    In Canada, the benefits you get when you retire are CPP (Canada Pension Plan) and OAS (Old Age Security). With CPP, you can receive around $616 per month, and with OAS, you could receive the maximum payment of $600 per month. 

    If you have an RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan), you have until the end of the year you turn 71 years old. The great thing about this is if you retire at 65 and don’t choose to use your RRSP right away, you have a few years until you have to withdraw it in one lump sum or turn it into an RRIF (Registered Retirement Income Fund). This applies whether you’ve met your eligible contribution limit or not. 

    Retirement Age According to Province

    In Canada, most Canadians retire somewhere around the age of 65. That said, the averages and retirement ages do change based on where you live. Let’s take a look at the different retirement ages for each province. 

    British Columbia

    In BC, most people choose to work right until they are 65. That said, though, depending on their financial situation and pension, some people do decide to retire at 55. Many employment pensions do allow you to retire at 55, but you will get a full retirement pension at 65. However, there’s no mandatory retirement age for most jobs. 


    Just like BC, there’s no mandatory retirement age in Alberta. However, Alberta does offer a Seniors Benefit that you have to be 65 to be approved for. There are some more requirements you have to meet as well, but this does influence the retirement age. 


    In Saskatchewan, the retirement age is 65. That said, you can retire as early as 60 or wait until 70. Some choose to retire even later. When you decide to retire, it will determine what your monthly income will be. 


    Depending on your pension and monthly income, you can choose to retire as early as 55 or as late as you like. Your pension could be less if you choose this option, though. Most pensions give full benefits at 65.


    The average age to retire is 65. Most pensions kick in at 65 in Ontario, and it’s when you receive full government retirement benefits. 


    Under the Quebec Pension Plan, you can start receiving full QPP at 65, but you can also choose to take it at the age of 70. If you take your QPP at 60, you’ll receive a lower pension amount. 

    Nova Scotia

    In Nova Scotia, you can retire as early as 55 or 60, depending on your financial situation. That said, many people start to retire at 65.

    New Brunswick

    In New Brunswick, most people choose to retire between 55 and 65. However, in New Brunswick, if you have a LIF (Life Income Fund), you can take it out before you turn 55. In most provinces, you have to be at least 55 to access it since they’re meant for retirement. 

    Newfoundland and Labrador

    Just like the rest of Canada, most Canadians who live in Newfoundland and Labrador retire around the age of 65. However, 55 is also common with a lot of different pension plans. 

    Prince Edward Island

    In PEI, standard retirement is between the ages of 60 and 70. That said, you can actually retire as early as 55. 


    In Nunavut, you can retire between the ages of 55 and 70. That said, many people still choose to work until they’re 65 or older.

    Northwest Territories

    In the Northwest Territories, you can also retire between the ages of 55 and 70. There are many different ages people choose to retire, but many wait until their benefits are full at 65.


    Right now, the average Canadian in the Yukon retires at 65. However, that could increase to 67 with the OAS and GIS benefit change. 

    New Retirement Age in Canada

    Right now, you can still access all of your benefits at 65. That said, as of April 1, 2023, the transition to getting OAS and GIS benefits at 67 instead of 65 has begun. As of January 2029, this will be fully implemented. As this happens, we should start to see more people retiring at the age of 67 instead of 65.

    Old Age Pension in Canada

    We’ve already mentioned that one of the benefits you receive when you retire in Canada is Old Age Security Pension. How much you receive for an OAS pension depends on your annual income. Depending on your annual income and marital status, you could also receive GIS (Guaranteed Income Supplement). 

    Here are the amounts you could receive for OAS.

    Age2022 Annual Net IncomeMax Monthly Payments
    65 to 74Less than $142,609Up to $707.68
    75 and upLess than $148,179Up to $778.45

    Here are the amounts you could receive for GIS. 

    SituationAnnual Net IncomeMax Monthly Payment Amount
    Single, Widowed or DivorceLess than $21,456Up to $1.057.01
    Spouse/common-law partner who receives full OAS pensionCombined income of less than $28,320Up to $636.26
    Spouse/common-law partner who receives the allowanceCombined income of less than $30,648Up to $636.26
    Spouse/common-law partner who doesn’t receive full OAS pension or allowanceCombined income of less than $51,408Uo to $1,057.01

    In order to receive the GIS you must already be receiving the OAS pension amounts and be considered low income. While RRSPs do contribute to your annual income, there are other savings, such as TFSAs and high-interest savings accounts, that don’t.

    In order to be approved for both OAS and GIS, you must:

    • Be 65 years of age or older
    • Have lived in Canada for at least 10 years since the age of 18
    • Be a Canadian citizen or legal resident

    There are some other criteria you can meet if you’re living outside of Canada but still qualify for OAS.

    Age to Get CPP in Canada

    When you’re considering whether or not to get your CPP at age 60 or 65, there are a few factors you should keep in mind. What age you choose to take your CPP will affect how much you receive. Here are the different scenarios based on age. 

    1. If you take your CPP at 65, you’ll receive the average amount.
    2. If you take your CPP before 65, your payments decrease by 7.2% per year. Up to 36% if you take your CPP at 60.
    3. If you take your CPP after 65, your payments increase up to 8.4% per year and up to 42% if you wait until you are 70.

    Ultimately, though, the best time to take your CPP is based on your financial situation. For some people, waiting and taking a larger CPP payment is better for them than taking it early. For others, taking the smaller payments earlier could make a big difference in their overall financial situation. 


    In Canada, the age when you retire is an individual decision. Everyone has a different financial situation and different preparations that they've made for retirement. Everyone’s income will be different, especially for those who don’t have employment pensions and have RRSPs and other retirement investments instead. 

    There are federal government pensions in Canada that are there to top up your annual income and help you make ends meet. The amount you receive for those benefits is based on your annual income and how you receive that annual income. If you’re unsure where your finances are for retirement, you can speak with a certified financial planner, who can help you with your retirement planning. 

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