The federal government said it issued one-time payments of $300 to nearly 4.4 million seniors earlier this year, payments the government said at the time were to help those on fixed incomes with extra expenses many seniors were incurring as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions.
The federal department of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESD) released data Wednesday on the number of seniors who received the payments and their place of residence by province.
ESD said 4,399,250 Canadians who are Old Age Security Pensioners received the tax-free $300 payment, which was paid out to most in June. Those nearly 4.4 million Canadians who received that $300 payment represent about 64 per cent of all Canadians over the age of 65.
The total cost to the treasury of those $300 payments would have been just under $1.32 billion.
The government also provided an additional payment of $200 to any individual receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), a supplement paid to low-income individuals aged 60 or older. ESD said it provided the $200 payment via cheque or direct deposit to 2,271,810 Canadians.
Those 2.3 million Canadians represent about 24 per cent of all Canadians who are 60 years of age or over, a number calculated by Global News against the most recent census data published by Statistics Canada.
The total cost to the treasury of that extra payment to GIS recipients would have been about $460 million.
ESD’s data also indicate that 160,190 seniors living outside the country received the one-time $300 payment and 290 seniors living outside the country received the one-time $500 payment.
Among those who received the $200 one-time payment — the extra payment made to low-income seniors on GIS — most — 58 per cent — were single, while 41 per cent said they had a spouse or common-law partner.