Government of Canada Benefits | Everything You Need to Know in ‘24

August 11, 2023
7 min read

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.

To qualify:

  • 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:

  • Your income
  • Legal status in Canada and number of years of residence 

CPP and OAS 2023 Payment Dates1

  • January 27
  • February 24
  • March 29
  • April 26
  • May 29
  • June 28
  • July 17
  • August 29
  • September 27
  • October 27
  • November 28
  • December 20

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

The Canada 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

  • January 20
  • February 20
  • March 20
  • April 20
  • May 19
  • June 20
  • July 20
  • August 18
  • September 20
  • October 20
  • November 20
  • December 13
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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

  • April 5
  • July 5
  • October 5

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:

  • The Ontario energy and property tax credit
  • The Northern Ontario energy credit, and
  • The Ontario sales tax credit

OTB 2023 Payment Dates

  • January 10
  • February 10
  • March 10
  • April 6
  • May 10
  • June 9
  • July 10
  • August 10
  • September 8
  • October 10
  • November 10
  • December 8

To learn more about the benefit programs in your province or territory, visit the Government of Canada website

Find Financial Support With Government Benefits

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. 

References

  1. Government of Canada. Benefits payment dates. Accessed August 6, 2023.
  2. Government of Canada. EI regular benefits. Accessed August 6, 2023. 
  3. Government of Canada. How much you can get. Accessed August 6, 2023. 
  4. Government of Canada. GST/HST credit. Accessed August 6, 2023. 
  5. Government of Canada. Canada workers benefit. Accessed August 6, 2023. 

August 11, 2023
7 min read