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What Financial Benefits Do Newcomers Get in Canada?

Kate Smalley

Oct 22, 2022 12 min read

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What benefits do new immigrants get in Canada?

Moving countries is a big decision. If you’re considering immigrating to Canada or you’ve recently moved here, you should know about the financial benefits available to you as a newcomer. 

The Canadian government offers a variety of programs to help you and your family transition to your new life here. These benefits are designed to help offset the cost of living and raising children in Canada. Most benefits are geared toward low and modest income families while some are available to everyone. They include the Canada child benefit, the goods and services/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit, and provincial and territorial programs. You’ll be able to apply for these benefits as soon as you get your social insurance number. 

What Does Immigrating to Canada Entail?

Immigrating is a huge personal and financial undertaking. As much as possible, you should be aware of the benefits and costs of moving before immigrating. 

People move to Canada for a variety of reasons including education and employment opportunities, access to health care, political stability, and personal safety. There are resources that can help you estimate your cost of living and prepare financially for a new life in Canada. For many, the long-term potential benefits of moving will outweigh the short-term costs. 

In addition to finding a home and establishing yourself in a new community, you’ll have to set up your financial life. That includes moving your money, opening a bank account, building your credit, and applying for benefits. In this article we’re going to focus on the financial benefits that you can apply for.

Canadian immigration

What Financial Benefits Can You Expect When Immigrating to Canada?

The financial benefits available to you will depend on your marital status, the number of dependents or children you have, and your income. The main benefits available to newcomers are the Canada child benefit, the GST/HST credit, and any programs specific to the province or territory you live in. These are the benefits we’ve outlined below. There may be additional benefits available to refugees and persons with disabilities. 

You can apply for these benefits as soon as you arrive and receive a social insurance number. You’ll automatically be reconsidered for many of these benefits every year you continue to live and file taxes in Canada. You can request an income tax package to help you file.

Canada Child Benefit (CCB)

The Canada child benefit is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). It’s a monthly, tax-free payment made to eligible families to help them with the cost of raising children. This benefit is available to Canadian citizens or permanent residents, including new immigrants, who live with a child under the age of 18 who they are a primary caregiver of. The amount you can recieve depends on your income. You’ll find full details on how to apply on the CRA website.

GST/HST credit

The GST/HST credit is a quarterly, tax-free payment to help low and modest income families offset the GST or HST that they pay. As a new immigrant you can apply for this credit right away. Moving forward, you’ll automatically be considered for this credit every year you file your taxes. The amount you can receive will depend on your income. Even if you don’t make any income one year, still file your taxes. You’ll likely be eligible for benefits!

Provincial and Territorial Programs:

Each of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories has its own distinct set of benefits. The benefits you’re eligible for and the amount you’re able to receive will depend on your net family income, marital status, and number of dependents.

This is a high-level overview of the benefits available in each province and territory. All amounts given are current as of writing this in 2022. Please check the CRA website every year for updated benefit amounts and eligibility. You can also request an income tax package to help you file your taxes for the specific province or territory you live in.

Ontario Benefits and Programs

The CRA offer the following benefits and programs to residents of Ontario:

Ontario Trillium Benefit (OTB)

The Ontario trillium benefit (OTB) includes the Ontario energy and property tax credit, the Northern Ontario energy credit, and the Ontario sales tax credit. Your OTB payments will be based on your previous year's income tax and benefit return. They’ll be divided into monthly payments. 

Ontario Sales Tax Credit

The Ontario sales tax credit (OSTC) is specifically designed to provide relief to low and moderate income residents for the sales tax they pay on everyday goods. As of writing this, the maximum annual credit you could receive is $324 for each adult and child in a family.

Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) 

The Ontario child benefit is a monthly, tax-free benefit paid out to low and moderate income families to help them with the costs of caring for children. As of writing this, if your family net income is below $22,044 you’re eligible to receive up to $125.75 per month for each child under 18 years of age. If your income is above that you might receive a partial benefit.

Senior Homeowners’ Property Tax Grant

The Ontario senior homeowners’ property tax grant is for seniors who own their own homes and have low to moderate income. It’s designed to help them offset the cost of property taxes. As of writing this, the maximum grant is $500 annually. 

Social benefits

Alberta Benefits and Programs

The CRA offers the following benefit to residents of Alberta:

Alberta Child and Family Benefit 

The Alberta child and family benefit is a monthly, tax-free benefit paid to families with children under the age of 18. As of writing this, you may be eligible to receive $110.83 per month for your first child and $55.41 per month for your second, third, and fourth child. This benefit is reduced if your net family income is over $24,467. 

British Columbia Benefits and Programs

The following benefits are available to residents of British Columbia:

BC Child Opportunity Benefit

The BC child opportunity benefit is a monthly, tax-free payment available to families with children under the age of 18. As of writing this, you may be eligible to receive up to $133.33 per month for your first child, $83.33 per month for your second child, and $66.66 per month for each additional child. If your net family income is between $25,806 and $82,578, you’ll receive a reduced amount. 

BC Climate Action Tax Credit

The BC climate action tax credit is an annual, tax-free payment made to low-income residents to help offset the carbon taxes they pay. As of writing this, individuals and their spouses or common-law partners are eligible to receive up to $193.50 annually. Children are eligible for up to $56.50 each. 

Family members

New Brunswick Benefits and Programs

The following benefits are available to residents of New Brunswick:

New Brunswick Child Tax Benefit (NBCTB)

The New Brunswick child tax benefit is a monthly, tax-free payment made to families with children under 18 years of age. As of writing this, you may receive up to $20.83 per month for each child. This benefit is reduced if your net family income is above $20,000. As part of this benefit, you may qualify for the New Brunswick school supplement that pays out $100 for each child every year to help with back-to-school supplies. 

New Brunswick Harmonized Sales Tax Credit (NBHSTC)

The New Brunswick harmonized sales tax credit is an annual tax-free payment that helps low and moderate income households offset the sales tax they pay. The maximum annual amount individuals and spouses or common-law partners can receive is $100. Children are eligible for up to $100 each. This benefit is reduced if your net family income is above $35,000. 

Canadian taxes

Newfoundland and Labrador Benefits and Programs

The following benefits are available to residents of Newfoundland and Labrador:

Newfoundland and Labrador Child Benefit

The Newfoundland and Labrador child benefit is a monthly tax-free payment made to low-income families to help them with the cost of raising children. As of writing this, you may be eligible for up to $35.16 per month for your first child, $37.33 per month for your second child, $40.08 per month for your third child, and $43.00 per month for your fourth child. You may also be eligible for the pre-natal infant nutrition supplement which offers $150 per month per child under one year of age. 

Newfoundland and Labrador Income Supplement (NLIS)

The Newfoundland and Labrador income supplement is an annual tax-free payment made to low-income households and persons with disabilities. The amount you’ll receive depends on the number of people in your family and net income. As of writing this, the maximum annual payment you could expect is $495 if you’re a single individual, $561 if you have a spouse or common-law partner, plus $200 per child under the age of 19. 

Newfoundland and Labrador Disability Amount

The Newfoundland and Labrador disability amount is for low and modest income people with disabilities. To receive this benefit, you must be eligible for the federal GST/HST credit, the NLIS, and the Disability tax credit. You can receive up to $200 annually. 

Newfoundland and Labrador Seniors’ Benefit

The Newfoundland and Labrador seniors’ benefit is an annual tax-free payment of $1,444 made to people over the age of 65 or those with a spouse or common-law partner over the age of 65. If your family net income is between $29,402 and $41,787 you will receive a reduced benefit. 

Other social benefits

Nova Scotia Benefits and Programs

The following benefits are available to residents of Nova Scotia:

Nova Scotia Child Benefit (NSCB)

The Nova Scotia child benefit is a monthly tax free payment made to low and modest income families to help them with the cost of raising children. If your adjusted net family income is below $26,000, you can expect to receive up to $106.25 for each child under 18 years of age. If your income is above that, you may get a partial benefit. 

Nova Scotia Affordable Living Tax Credit (NSALTC)

The Nova Scotia affordable living tax credit is an annual tax-free payment made to low and modest income residents to help them offset the tax they pay. As of writing this, if your adjusted net family income is below $30,000 you could expect to receive up to $255 as an individual or couple, plus $60 for each child. 

Saskatchewan Benefits and Programs

The following benefit is available to residents of Saskatchewan:

Saskatchewan Low‑income Tax Credit (SLITC)

The Saskatchewan low-income tax credit is an annual tax-free credit paid to low and modest income families. As of writing this, individuals and their spouse or common-law partner receive $358 each and $141 per child, up to a maximum of $998 per family. This credit is reduced when your adjusted net family income is above $33,755.

Common law partner

Prince Edward Island Benefits and Programs

The following benefit is available to residents of Prince Edward Island:

Prince Edward Island Sales Tax Credit

The Prince Edward Island sales tax credit is an annual, tax-free credit to help low and modest income families offset the sales tax they pay. Individuals receive $110 plus $55 for a spouse, common-law partner, or eligible dependent. 

Yukon Benefits and Programs

The following benefits are available to residents of the Yukon:

Yukon Child Benefit (YCB)

The Yukon child benefit is a monthly non-taxable payment made to low and modest income families to help them with the cost of raising children. You are entitled to up to $68.33 for each child under the age of 18. The benefit is reduced if your net family income is above $35,000. 

Yukon Government Carbon Price Rebate - Individuals (YGCPRI)

The Yukon Government carbon price rebate is an annual non-taxable payment made to individuals and families to help them offset the federal carbon pollution pricing levy. You and any spouse or common-law partner may be entitlted to up to $320 each plus $320 for each child under 19 years of age. There is no reduction based on income. 

Northwest Territories Benefits and Programs

The following benefits are available to residents of the Northwest Territories:

Northwest Territories Child Benefit

The Northwest Territories child benefit is a non-taxable monthly payment made to low and middle income families with children under the age of 18. Payment amounts depend on your income, number of children, and their age. If your adjusted net family income is above $30,000 you may receive a partial benefit. 

Northwest Territories Cost of Living Offset

The Northwest Territories cost of living offset is a an annual tax-free payment made to individuals and families to help offset the Northwest Territories carbon tax. You and any spouse or common-law partner may be entitled to $260 each plus $300 per child under the age of 18. There is no reduction based on income. 

Manitoba Benefits and Programs

There are no benefits or programs offered in Manitoba

Nunavut Benefits and Programs

The following benefit is available to residents of Nunavut:

Nunavut Child Benefit (YCB)

The Nunvavut child benefit is a monthly, non-taxable payment made to qualifying families with children under the age of 18. You may be entitled to the basic benefit of $27.50 per month per child. Families with an earned income of more than $3,750 may get an additional territorial workers’ supplement of up to $22.91 for one child and $29.16 for two or more children. This benefit is reduced if your adjusted net family income is above $20,921. 

Quebec Benefits and Programs

The following benefit is available to residents of Quebec:

Child Assistance Payments 

Child assistance payments are related to the Canada child benefit but not administered by the CRA. Residents of Quebec must file for this benefit directly with the Retraite Québec. Request an income tax package to apply. Any child born in Quebec will be automatically registered. 

Why is Financial Assistance Important for Immigrants?

Moving is expensive. You have to cover the costs of setting up a new life in a new country. That might include finding and furnishing a home, buying a car, finding a job, and setting up child or elder care. Financial assistance is a vital tool to help new immigrants offset those costs while giving them the resources to establish themselves in a new country. 

As a new immigrant, you want to be in as strong a financial position as possible. You want to avoid unnecessary debt, protect yourself from credit fraud or financial abuse, and build your credit history. There are a variety of programs in place to help you with all of these things. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada helps protect your financial rights and keeps your money safe. Prosper Canada is a great practical and educational resource for low income Canadians. And you can access a variety of settlement services through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). 

The Bottom Line

There are all sorts of reasons you might be moving to Canada. Whatever your reasons and whichever path you take to immigration, explore the financial benefits available to you as a newcomer. Apply for them right away and take advantage of any financial assistance you can. Financial assistance, education, and empowerment will be a crucial part of building a life full of opportunity for you and your family.

Kate Smalley
Kate Smalley
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Kate is a Toronto-based writer and marketing communications consultant. Kate is a Qualified Associate Finacial Planner (QAFP) is passionate about having open and honest conversations about money. She's also really into crafting: she has 3 sewing machines.

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