Pensioners often turn to dividend stocks to top up their income tank.

In the past, oil and gas producers offered some of the juiciest returns, but anyone who held a basket of these companies last year has really taken it on the chin. The challenge for income investors right now is to find reliable yields above 4.5% that also offer some protection on the initial investment.

Here are the reasons why I think income investors should consider BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE)(NYSE:BCE) and Inter Pipeline Ltd. (TSX:IPL) for their portfolios.

BCE Inc.

BCE is constantly adjusting to new rules issued by the CRTC. Changes that give customers more choice and greater freedom to switch providers are good for competition, and while BCE might not like pick-and-pay TV packages or short mobile contracts, the company will make the changes needed to retain its customers.

At the end of the day, investors should feel comfortable knowing that this company is a fortress in the Canadian telecom industry, with a moat around it that is 10 miles wide.

BCE owns world-class mobile, wireline, and satellite infrastructure, a powerful retail network, and many of the country’s top media assets. The company continues to add new high-value mobile, Internet, and TV customers at the expense of its cable competitors, and is even making good progress on being more customer friendly.

Bell Media will certainly feel the impact of the pick-and-pay rules, but the group still only accounts for 16% of total revenues.

BCE recently increased its dividend to $2.60 per share. The payout is about as safe as a dividend can get in Canada right now and income investors should see slow but consistent growth moving forward.

Inter Pipeline

Most investors looking for pipeline investments automatically buy the big names in the sector, but there are others that offer compelling growth and yield opportunities.

Inter Pipleline plays a key role in the transportation of Western Canadian oil. Last year, the company moved roughly 35% of Canadian oil sands production, and 15% of Western Canadian oil output.

Weak oil prices hurt producer margins, but the companies are still pumping as much crude as they can in order to increase revenues. This means companies like Inter Pipeline continue to see robust demand for their services.

Inter also has a profitable storage operation in Europe that contributes a steady flow of revenue and earnings.

The company pays a monthly dividend of 12.25 cents per share. This translates into a yield of nearly 4.7%. As Inter Pipeline continues to grow, investors should see the distribution rise in step with free cash flow.

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Fool contributor Andrew Walker has no position in any stocks mentioned.