I have automatic top-ups set, so have not experienced this. I wonder if, because your plan lapsed, you would have to re-select it, rather than it automatically being the chosen plan. If you go to My Account, you should be able see the status of your account, and make any adjustments necessary.
Exactly what @NFtoBC said. You need to call #123 or login to the my account app/telus.com to confirm where the feature is. Depending on exactly what the date of expiry is, it can certainly be confusing. If it says your expiry date for example is December 24, that means that you need to have money on your account by December 23 at 11:59pm because on December 24 at 12:00AM if the money is not there the feature drops off. The automatic top ups are incredibly convenient. A lot of customers are unaware that visa debit cards are compatible with our systems. They work just like a credit card only it pulls directly from your chequings account. Most banks offer them. So you could buy your plan now manually for the $22 and set it to just automatically come off a visa debit every 30 days and the $22 + tax is what would come out of the chequings.