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📅 Last Updated: September 29, 2023
✏️ Written By Priyanka Correia, BComm
🕵️ Fact-Checked by Caitlin Wood

The Government of Canada offers a variety of programs to financially support Canadians in certain situations. Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for financial support through one or more of the available programs. These programs may be offered through the federal or provincial government. Given the number of programs and information available, it can be hard to decipher which one applies to you. 

We’ve compiled a list of programs offered by the government to help you sift through the information. Learn about all the different programs, the eligibility requirements, the application process, the payments dates, and more. 

Social Assistance Programs

In Canada, most provinces have their own social assistance programs. These programs are intended to financially support those who are unable to afford basic needs like food, clothing, and shelter.  

Unlike Employment Insurance (EI), which is a temporary income support program, social assistance is a program that is meant to reduce poverty and help Canadians access resources that will allow them to enter the workforce.

Depending on the province, the social assistance payment amounts will vary as will the eligibility requirements. 

Social Assistance In British ColumbiaLearn More
Social Assistance PEILearn More
Social Assistance In QuebecLearn More
Social Assistance In AlbertaLearn More
Income Assistance In New BrunswickLearn More
Income Assistance (IA) Nova ScotiaLearn More
Saskatchewan Income Support (SIS)Learn More

Child Assistance Programs

While a baby can be an exciting and life-changing event for a person, it is also a huge financial responsibility. According to the CPA, Canadians spend on average $10,000 to $15,000 a year to raise a child. That sums up to $180,000 to $270,000 by the time a child reaches adulthood. While this may be affordable for some families, others aren’t as fortunate. Moreover, many mothers are physically unable to work right after giving birth and often stay home to care for their children. That usually leaves people with one income if they have a partner, otherwise, they only have their savings to rely on. Thankfully, both the federal and provincial governments offer programs to help parents financially during this special time.

Additionally, parents can take advantage of other tax credits and deductions to help cover the cost of raising a child; including school expenses and medical expenses. 

Canada Child Benefit (CCB)Learn More
Nova Scotia Child Benefit (NSCB)Learn More
The Newfoundland And Labrador Child BenefitLearn More
The Ontario Child Benefit (OCB)Learn More
Nova Scotia Child Benefit (NSCB)Learn More
Alberta Child and Family Benefit (ACFB) Learn More
Maternity/Parental LeaveLearn More

Disability Assistance Programs

According to a report by Statistics Canada, about 22% of the Canadian population lives with at least one form of disability. Many of those with a disability, particularly those with a severe one, are living in poverty. This may be because, those with a disability between 25 and 64 years old, are less likely to be employed than those without a disability. Moreover, depending on the type and severity of the disability, some may require disability aids, devices, and medication, which are often very expensive. 

In order to combat the inequality this group faces, both the federal and provincial governments have created programs to help cover some of the expenses associated with having a disability. 

Federal Disability Tax CreditLearn More
Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) Payment DatesLearn More
BC Disability AssistanceLearn More
Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) Payment DatesLearn More
Assured Income For The Severely Handicapped (AISH) ProgramLearn More

Senior Assistance Programs

In general, it is said that you’ll need approximately 70% of your pre-retirement income to comfortably afford your expenses after you retire. 

In order to help you fund your retirement, both the federal and provincial governments offer a number of programs that will help you retire comfortably. These programs are meant to be alternative sources of income to your RRSP. 

Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) Payment DatesLearn More
Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Payments ScheduleLearn More
Old Age Security (OAS)Learn More
Alberta Senior’s BenefitLearn More

Additionally, the Government of Canada also offers a variety of tax credits and deductions for seniors to help cover costs and reduce the amount of taxes owed. 

Other Government Programs, Tax Credits And Benefits

If you’re looking for other ways to save money or cover costs, the Government of Canada also offers additional tax credits, benefits and rebates. 

Compassionate Care BenefitsLearn More
Ontario Trillium Benefit (OTB)Learn More
GST/HST Tax CreditLearn More
Going GreenLearn More

Government Benefit FAQs

How to create a CRA My Account?

You can create a CRA My Account by either signing up through the CRA website under “My Account for Individuals” or by signing in through your bank through “CRA Partner”. To learn how, please check out “how to open a CRA My Account”.

Do you have any unclaimed CRA cheques?

To check if you have any unclaimed cheques with the CRA, simply go to your CRA My Account and click “uncashed cheques” under the “Related Services” tab. 

When do I have to file my taxes? 

Individual tax returns must be filed by April 30 of each year. If you do not, any amounts that you owe to the CRA will accrue interest. For self-employed individuals, tax returns must be filed by June 15 of each year. 

Are there any other government financing programs for businesses? 

The Government of Canada has many programs to help Canadians fund their business. They offer business financing, grants, loans, capital investments, and wage subsidies programs. Some of the most popular programs are the BDC Small Business Loan and the Canada Small Business Financing Program. 

What does OAS clawback mean?

Your Old Age Security payments are largely based on your income. So if your income goes over a certain amount in any given year, the amount of OAS your eligible for can change. If the government realizes you’re receiving more than your eligible for, you’ll have to pay back a certain amount. This is called OAS clawback. 

Are there any government programs to help seniors with property taxes?

If you’re a low-income senior who’d had trouble keeping up with your property tax payments, then you should check out these senior property tax deferral programs. Depending on the province you live in, you may be eligible to defer your payments to a later time. However, you will have to pay interest on the deferred amount.
I received a deposit from Canada FPT. What is it for?
If you see Canada FPT on your bank statement, is a deposit for a tax incentive part of a program in the Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) system. This includes the GST/HST credit, the Canada Child Benefit, and a wide variety of provincial and territorial programs and benefits.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re unemployed, have a low income, are looking to save on taxes, or need help covering basic expenses, the government of Canada has a program to support you. Be sure to check both the federal and provincial government programs to see which programs are available to you.

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