A Guide to Retirement Care & Senior Living in Ontario

Toronto Skyline

As Canada’s most populated province, part of what makes Ontario so great is that it’s filled with cultural diversity, art, wilderness, and iconic landmarks. Many seniors look to Ontario when it comes to retirement as the surrounding cities not only offer them exceptional healthcare and quality of life, but also an endless amount of entertainment and activities. From visiting Niagara Falls to spending the weekend at a lakeside resort, you’ll find yourself immersed in the seasonal activities Ontario has to offer. If you’re thinking about retirement in Ontario, Cared Upon is here to help you find your perfect retirement community in the province.  

Lifestyle and Activities

From senior active living centres to outdoor activities, you’ll find a more diverse set of leisurely activities to do in this large province. Retirees who enjoy being out in nature may find themselves spending the day either fishing or relaxing at one of the many lakeside/cottage resorts in Ontario (such as the Thousand Islands), as seniors 65 and up do not require a fishing licence to do so. For older adults into the cultural arts scene, you’ll find a range of different cultural exhibitions to visit, as the province is filled with some of the best museums in all of Canada. Regardless of how you like to spend your days, you’ll find that the amount of senior active living centres and provincial senior event days (such as the Ontario senior games) make it easy to connect with and make friends with other older adults living in the surrounding areas.  

Weather and Climate

Ontario’s weather and climate depend on which city you settle down in, as the Northern parts are known to be colder than the Southern parts of the province. You can expect varying climates around Ontario; however, all parts of the province see all four seasons. With Toronto having a continental climate you can expect colder, harsh winters and warmer summers. However, while average temperatures in the region for winter can range anywhere from 4°C to -30°C (39–22°F), summer temperatures are more humid and warmer, with temperatures ranging from 20-30°C (68-86°F). 

Housing Options in Ontario: Finding the Right Fit for You

You may find that as you age, your home care and retirement needs will change. From assisted living to adult lifestyle communities, Ontario offers seniors a range of housing options to fit their lifestyle and health needs. Although the location of your retirement community in Ontario will directly affect the cost, you can typically expect the cost of assisted living to start at $2000-$3000 per month. 

Although a large portion of retirement housing is privately owned and paid for, the government allows you to claim the costs of nursing homes or long-term care facilities through the Medical Expense Tax Credit (METC). Depending on the type of care you require and the facility you choose to call home, you can choose to claim for the costs which will be determined by your personal income. To learn more about the Medical Expense Tax Credit, visit the GGFL website

Cost of Retiring in Ontario: Budgeting and Financing

In terms of retirement budgeting, you’ll find that the cost of retiring in Ontario will vary depending on the city you choose to settle down in. For example, as Toronto is one of the most vibrant and liveable cities in all of Canada, you may find that the cost of living is higher than the national average. However, seniors living on a low to moderately low income wishing to retire in Ontario may be eligible for various income support programs.  

Ontario Trillium Benefit (OTB): The Ontario Trillium Benefit is a program that provides eligible seniors with payment from a combination of the Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit, Northern Ontario Energy Credit, and the Ontario Sales Tax Credit. 

Government Funding 

Seniors residing in Ontario may also access several federally provided financial resources to help them prepare and pay for their retirement. If eligible, you may access funding through federal programs such as the Canadian Pension Plan Retirement Pension (CPP), Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), and the Old Age Security Pension (OAS). For more information on Government contributions and your eligibility, visit our care blog

Post-Retirement Income Sources

For seniors not eligible or looking for government funding, there are several different ways they can look to fund their retirement.  

Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) and Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs): Using a Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) or a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSAs) you may save up for your post-retirement income, which will be dependent on the amount put into these accounts when you first began saving and the interest you received. 

Investment accounts: Taxable investment accounts, such as stocks and bonds, is a more common form of saving up for a post-retirement income source.  

Employer-sponsored pension plans: You may be eligible for an employer-sponsored pension plan through your employer. This plan involves your and your employer contributing money towards your retirement over the course of your employment. 

To learn more about your post-retirement income source options, visit our resource centre

Access to Healthcare

All residents of Ontario must sign up with the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) to receive free health care and health services. As health care is publicly funded, under OHIP residents are entitled to coverage on health services such as visits to your doctor, hospital stays, medical surgeries, dental surgeries, ambulance services, eligible optometry services, and even travel for health-related services. While these are the standard services covered under OHIP, seniors 65 and up receive extended coverage on optometry services and prescription medication. You can find information on extended prescription medication coverage through the Ontario Drug Benefit program (ODB) on the Ontario Ministry of Health website.  

Additional Resources

For further information, you can visit and/or contact these sources: 

Ontario Senior Living Guide: A comprehensive guide to all things senior living and program-related in Ontario. 

Telehealth Ontario: Call 1-866-797-0000 Toll-free to get access to a confidential health information line.