A Guide to Retirement Care & Senior Living in Ottawa

Article Image

As Canada’s capital city, Ottawa offers seniors looking to retire a fulfilling retirement with a high quality of life, quality healthcare, and an enjoyable lifestyle. The city is best known for its Parliament Hill, international cuisine, annual festivals, and diverse cultures. With a variety of senior adult day programs, festivals, restaurants, museums, and outdoor spaces, Ottawa offers a variety of seasonal activities to partake in. If you are considering retiring in Ottawa, Cared Upon is here to guide you through your options for retirement communities. 

Lifestyle & Activities

A variety of recreational and leisurely activities are available for older adults in Ottawa that may appeal to seniors looking for a diverse retirement lifestyle. Seniors retiring in Ottawa can find themselves spending their days walking and exploring some of the many markets, shopping centres, gardens, museums, or trails in the city. Ottawa is also home to various well-known Canadian museums, such as the Canadian Museum of History, the Museum of Nature, the Aviation and Space Museum, and the Canadian War Museum. Touring the Parliament House or visiting North America’s largest spa - the Nordik Spa-Nature - are also among some of the most popular activities that are enjoyed by both tourists and locals.  

 Seniors with limited mobility looking to stay active can also find a wide range of accessible adult day programs or active living clubs in the city to join. Some of these activities include book clubs, knitting clubs, writing clubs, painting clubs, bowling, shuffleboard, swimming classes, and walking clubs. 

Weather and Climate

Ottawa has a semi-continental climate with long and warm summers, and cold, snowy winters. The city sees a fair amount of snowfall during the winter, with summers that are sunny and humid. You can expect average temperatures during the winter to sit at -9.8°C (14.36°F), with occasional cold spells that can reach up to -25°C (-13°F). During the summertime, average temperatures range anywhere from 16-27°C (60.8-80.6°F).  

Housing Options in Ottawa: 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 Ottawa: 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 their 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.