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How many years do you have to work in Canada to get a pension?

In Canada, eligibility for different types of pensions depends on the specific program. Here’s an overview of the key pension programs and their requirements:

1. Canada Pension Plan (CPP)

  • Eligibility: To qualify for CPP, you must have made at least one valid contribution to the plan.
  • Contributions: You contribute to CPP through deductions from your earnings. The amount of your pension depends on your contributions and the number of years you contributed.
  • Retirement Pension: You can start receiving CPP as early as age 60, but the standard age is 65. The amount you receive is based on how much and for how long you have contributed.

2. Old Age Security (OAS)

  • Eligibility: To be eligible for the OAS pension, you must be 65 years of age or older and meet the legal status and residence requirements.
  • Residence Requirement: You need to have lived in Canada for at least 10 years after turning 18 to receive OAS within Canada. To receive OAS outside of Canada, you need to have lived in Canada for at least 20 years after turning 18.
  • Full Pension: To receive the full OAS pension, you need to have lived in Canada for at least 40 years after turning 18.

3. Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)

  • Eligibility: This is an additional benefit for low-income OAS recipients. Eligibility depends on your income and marital status.
  • Residence Requirement: Similar to OAS, you generally need to meet the same residency requirements.

4. Provincial Pension Plans

Some provinces offer additional pension plans for public sector employees, which have their own specific contribution and eligibility requirements.


  • CPP: You need to have made at least one valid contribution, with benefits increasing based on the number and amount of contributions.
  • OAS: You need to have lived in Canada for at least 10 years after turning 18 (20 years if you reside outside Canada).
  • GIS: Additional benefit for low-income OAS recipients, dependent on income and residency requirements.

In summary, while the CPP requires contributions regardless of the number of years worked, OAS has a clear residency requirement of 10 years in Canada after turning 18, or 20 years if living abroad. For a full OAS pension, 40 years of residency after age 18 is needed.

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