Whether you’re approaching retirement age, raising a family, or preparing to go to post-secondary, there are government benefits designed to assist Canadians in different situations and stages of life. If you’re struggling to balance your budget and looking for financial support, check to see if you are eligible for any government of Canada benefits.
Top 9 Government Benefits in Canada
Here are nine of the top government of Canada benefits to look into.
1. Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security
The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is a monthly, taxable benefit that is meant to replace a portion of your income when you retire. If you qualify for CPP, you will receive payments for the rest of your life. The standard age to start CPP is 65, and the latest you can start collecting is 70.
Must be at least 60 years old
Have made valid contributions to the program
The amount you receive depends on:
When you start your pension
Contributions to CPP
Average annual earnings
Old Age Security (OAS) is a taxable benefit you get when you turn 65. In most cases, you’ll be enrolled automatically. However, if the government doesn’t have enough of your information on file, you have to apply for the benefit. You can expect your first OAS payment the month after you turn 65.
How much you receive depends on:
Legal status in Canada and number of years of residence
CPP and OAS 2023 Payment Dates1
2. Employment Insurance
Employment Insurance (EI) is a taxable benefit that provides temporary financial assistance to eligible individuals who have lost their job, are unable to work due to illness, or are caring for a newborn or adopted child.
You are eligible for regular EI benefits if:
You were employed in insurable employment
Lost your job through no fault of your own
Have been without work and pay for at least seven days in a row in the last 52 weeks
Able and willing to work
Actively looking for work
Have between 420 and 700 hours of insurable employment during the qualifying period
With EI, you can get up to 55% of your earnings up to a maximum amount. In 2023 the maximum yearly amount is $61,500 or $650 per week.2 You can receive EI benefits from 14 weeks to a maximum of 45 weeks.
If your family income is $25,921 or less after taxes, you have kids, and you or your spouse receive the Canada child benefit, you may be eligible to receive the EI family supplement.
The amount you receive is based on:
Net family income up to a maximum of $25,921 per year
Number of kids you have and their ages
You can expect your first EI payment about 28 days after you apply.
3. Canada Child Benefit
TheCanada child benefit (CCB)is a tax-free monthly payment administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). It’s available to eligible families to help with the cost of raising children under the age of 18. You can apply for CCB if you’re the person who is primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of your child.
The amount you receive depends on:
Number of children in your care
Age of your children
Your marital status
Your adjusted family net income, as reported in the previous years tax return
The maximum CCB payments for July 2023 to June 2024 for each child are:
Under 6 years of age: $619.75 per month3
6 to 17 years of age: $522.91 per month
CCB 2023 Payment Dates
4. Goods and Service Tax / Harmonized Sales Tax
The goods and service tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) is a tax-free quarterly payment meant to help individuals and families with low to modest incomes offset the GST/HST they pay. You might also receive payments from similar provincial and territorial benefits programs. You are automatically considered for this payment when you file your taxes.
The payment period for GST is from July 2023 to June 2024. You can get up to:
$496 if you’re single
$650 if you’re married or common-law
$171 for each child under the age of 19 years old4
The CRA makes GST payments:
GST/HST 2023 Payment Dates
5. Canada Workers Benefit
The Canada workers benefit (CWB) is a refundable tax credit to help individuals and families who are working and earning a low income. There are two parts to the CWB: a basic amount and a disability supplement. To receive CWB, you claim it on your taxes when you file.
You are eligible for CWB if you:
Earn working income, and your net income is below the level set by your province or territory
Are a resident of Canada throughout the year
Are 19 years or older as of December 31, or you live with your spouse or common-law partner, or child
The maximum basic amount for CWB is $1,428 for single individuals and $2,461 for families.5 Note that the maximum basic amount will vary for residents of Quebec, Nunavut, and Alberta.
Starting in July 2023, CWB pays advanced payments equal to the CWB across three payments under the Advanced Canada Workers Benefit (ACWB).
ACWB 2023 Payment Dates
July 28, 2023
October 12, 2023
January 12, 2024
6. Registered Retirement Savings Plan
The Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) is a savings account designed to help Canadians save for retirement. When you invest money in an RRSP, your contributions are deductible from your income tax. This means, if you contribute $1,000 into your RRSP, you can subtract $1,000 from your taxable earnings. Any income you earn in an RRSP is typically exempt from tax, and you don’t pay any taxes until you make a withdrawal.
The deadline for contributing to your RRSPs in the 2023 tax year is February 29, 2024.
7. Canada Student Loans and Grants
The Canada Student Financial Assistance Program offers grants and loans to full and part-time students to help pay for their education. You only need to fill out one application through your province or territory to apply.
If you get a grant, you don’t need to pay it back. If you take on student loans, you have to start paying them back starting six months after graduation.
The amount you can receive depends on:
The province or territory you live in
Your family income
If you have dependents
Tuition fees and living expenses
If you have a disability
You can use the Government of Canada’s federal student aid estimator to see how much you can potentially get.
If you have a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), you can also use this money to help pay for your education.
8. Veterans Affairs Canada
Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) offers financial assistance, health, disability, and death benefits to current and former Canadian forces members and their families. If you’re a low-income veteran who no longer qualifies for the Income Replacement Benefit (IRB), you may be eligible for the Canadian Forces Income Support. This is a tax-free monthly benefit to help veterans having financial difficulties.
If you have suffered an injury or illness as a result of your service, you should also check to see if you are eligible for disability benefits. This is a tax-free payment meant to help support your well-being.
9. Provincial and Territorial Benefits
In addition to federal government benefits, each province and territory offers its own set of benefits and programs, such as healthcare coverage, social assistance, childcare subsidies, and more. For instance, Ontario offers the Ontario trillium benefit (OTB). This is a monthly payment that combines:
There are a variety of government benefits available to Canadians to provide financial support to individuals and families. You can use the Government of Canada’s Benefits Finder to see what you are eligible for, from pension payments to maternity and parental benefits. If you have a Service Canada Account, you can log in to access EI, CPP, and OAS services and review your payment dates. To ensure you receive as much financial support as possible, don’t forget to complete your taxes each year, even if you don’t earn any income.
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