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You know, winning a sweepstakes or a contest is a great way to earn tax free money. Sweepstakes in Canada are regulated. Unless you participate in a contest at your work, all the money you win is tax free in Canada.

Let’s take a closer look at sweepstakes in Canada, and whether it’s something that you could consider doing as your main or side job. 

Sweepstakes In Canada Have To Conform To Canada’s Criminal Code

First things first, a sweepstakes picks a winner at random. However, to be legal in Canada, the contest cannot rely solely on chance. It has to be a mix of skill and chance. That is why you sometimes have to answer a skill-testing question to claim your prize. 

In fact, sweepstakes in Canada are controlled by the Canada’s Competition Act, the Criminal Code, and certain provincial bodies. In Quebec, any contest or sweepstakes has to register with the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux.

No Purchase Is Necessary

Long story short, legitimate sweepstakes cannot make you purchase a product or service in order to participate. You can always send in your name to the contest.

Official Rules And Odds Have To Be Published

In Canada, you have to educate or inform participants about the nature or the prizes, the contest period, whether only a certain number of winners are allotted per province or region.

Here are the main rules sweepstakes have to show:

  • The number of prizes available
  • The approximate value of the prizes
  • How many prizes are allocated to regions (it that applies)
  • The skill-testing requirement
  • The chances of winning 
  • How long the contest is open including open and closing dates
  • Other facts the advertiser knows that can impact someone”s chances of winning. 

Can You Make Money Off Sweepstakes in Canada?

Yes, you can earn cash by participating in sweepstakes in several ways. The main way, is to enter the sweepstakes whenever you see the chance. However, there are sites and hacks you can use to increase your chances of winning something.

How To Make Money Off Sweepstakes

There are so many sweepstakes and contests available that it’s relatively easy to get started. Follow these tips to make the most of your time playing:

Enter Sweepstakes

The only way you will win any money from a sweepstake is if you enter. Since there are many names entered into a draw, the odds of winning tend to be quite low. 

But the relatively low chances of winning should not deter you from entering your name anyway. Someone has to win, and that could be you.

Enter More Often

Sometimes you can enter the same sweepstake on a daily basis or just put in more than one entry. If the sweepstakes allows it, do it!

Many sweepstakes put out daily offerings, so be sure to take advantage of these and enter every day, even though this may require some time and effort. 

Enter More Contests

Don’t narrow your focus on one sweepstake. Instead, keep an eye out for as many different sweepstakes as you can and get your name in there. Entering your name in several different contests can significantly increase the odds of winning. 

Enter Skill-Based Contests

These types of contests involve a little more than just entering your name. In addition, you’ll need to perform some sort of act, such as submitting a drawing, recipe, or catchphrase promoting a product. 

Carrying out additional requirements may turn many people off, leaving only a select few who are willing to complete the additional requirements to have their name entered. Plus, the prizes may be a lot more valuable, too.

Where Can You Make Money Off Sweepstakes?

There are several websites that make it easy to find current sweepstakes available in Canada. Here are a few good ones to check out:

ContestCanada.Net 

You’ll find a slew of contests to enter at ContestCanada.net. The site updates regularly and includes all the details you need about the various sweepstakes available, including a full description of the prize, how frequently you can enter, where the contest is available, and when it expires. 

LiveAbout

LiveAbout covers a host of topics, including hobbies, careers, sports, and entertainment. Amongst all the useful and entertaining content on the site is information on sweepstakes and contests open to Canadians. You’ll find a list of current sweepstakes with wide-ranging prizes, as well as information on entry frequency, end date, and eligibility. 

Canadian Free Stuff

Canadian Free Stuff scours the web for contests available to Canadians and vets them before listing them on its website. Contests are available from reputable companies and offer prizes such as electronics, cosmetics, cars, vacations, and more. You’ll find several big names, like Keurig, Air Canada, Garnier, and Walmart, to name a few. 

Canadian Free Stuff will guide you step by step and give you information about how to enter, contest rules, and contest end dates. 

Canadian Savers

There are tons of contests available to Canadians that you’ll find listed on Canadian Savers. You can win free merchandise, gift cards, toiletries, baby products, and more. New contests are added every day and include instant wins, daily entries, and single entries. 

There are also free samples available, often with a requirement to review the product. You can also subscribe to their free newsletter to get notifications on the latest contests as soon as they’re available.

Can You Make A Living Off Of Sweepstakes?

You can certainly earn some handsome prizes by entering sweepstakes, but how reliable is this mode of income to rely on it full-time?

It’s possible to make a living if you dedicate yourself to sweepstakes on a full-time basis. Spending hours every day and organizing yourself properly could help you bring in regular prizes. If you win a really big reward, just that one prize could be worth a month’s salary. That said, it’s not recommended to depend on sweepstakes winning for a full-time income.  

Risks Of Using Sweepstakes in Canada To Make A Living

If you’re entering sweepstakes as your full-time job, you’re putting yourself at risk in a few ways.

For starters, the odds of winning a really big prize are not very high. Thousands of others are competing against you for the same prize, so the odds aren’t exactly in your favour. While the possibility is still there, it’s still not something you want to bank on. 

Plus, many big prizes, like vacations and cruises, may be worth a lot, but they won’t cover your mortgage payments or groceries.

More importantly, a steady paycheque lets you reliably pay your debts. Hoping to win big each month is not financially responsible. If you go too long between wins, your debts might get bigger, which impacts your credit score.

Further, there is no reliability when it comes to sweepstakes. Instead, it’s the luck of the draw. While most other jobs pay out regularly based on your time and effort, you won’t have the luxury of a guaranteed paycheque every week. And if you have a family that relies on you to pay the bills, this may not be the best route to take. 

Another benefit you’d be missing out on if you forgo a regular job in favour of playing sweepstakes is health benefits and retirement savings. Many full-time jobs come with employment benefits, like health insurance coverage and pension plans. But entering sweepstakes on a full-time basis won’t come with these perks, which could leave you and your family vulnerable.

Instead, playing sweepstakes may be best considered as a side gig or to supplement your income. Plus, you can have fun doing it!

Tips On Accessing Extra Cash Without A Contest

In addition to taking part in sweepstakes, there are a few other viable ways to get your hands on some extra cash:

Get A Personal Loan 

If you’re finding it tough to cover a big expense and don’t want to suffer the consequences of missing this payment, a personal loan may help. With a personal loan, you can access a lump sum of money that you have the freedom to use as you wish. 

Instead of scrambling to come up with a big chunk of money by a certain date to cover whatever expense you have, you can let your personal loan pay that bill for you. Then, you’ll be left with much smaller and more manageable payments that will go toward repaying your personal loan. 

Do Surveys 

There are tons of companies out there that are willing to pay people just like you for your opinion. It’s a way for them to gauge what consumers want, and the information you provide can be very valuable to them.

To gather this information, companies conduct surveys, which you can participate in. In exchange for completing surveys, you can be rewarded with all sorts of things, including free merchandise, gift cards, and even cash through PayPal transfers.

Score Free Gift Cards

Believe it or not, but there are opportunities for you to get your hands on free gift cards. There are a few ways to find and earn these freebies, and one of the best ways is to download cash-back apps on your laptop or mobile phone, and then use them to earn and redeem rewards points. Some of the more popular cash-back apps in Canada to check out include Ampli, Rakuten, and Drop. 

You can also earn free gift cards by participating in various activities on websites and apps. Some activities include taking part in surveys, playing games, watching videos, and completing shopping offers. Some activity-based websites to look into include DailyRewards, Survey Junkie, and Toluna.

Find Unclaimed Money 

Most working Canadians owe the Canadian government money every year in the form of income taxes. But have you considered the possibility that the government owes you money?  

Unclaimed money is a problem in Canada. For instance, maybe you have a cheque from the government that you have still not claimed. According to the CRA, over $1 billion in cheques are still uncashed by Canadian taxpayers over the years for various reasons. Check and see if you have a stake in some of that unclaimed cash.

It’s also possible that you may not have claimed tax credits and other benefits on previous tax returns. If so, you missed out on extra cash coming back to you. 

The good news is that you are still able to check your old income tax returns to see if you were eligible for any credits and benefits in the past. If so, you may be able to claim them. Speak with a good tax specialist to find out more. 

Sweepstakes Is Good For Extra Income But Probably Not Enough

If you’re looking for a way to supplement your income, entering sweepstakes is a great option to consider. It’s easy, fun, and can earn you some hefty prizes if you are active enough. Dedicate some time every day to scoping out sweepstakes and get your name in there to try your luck at winning prizes. 

The benefit is tax free money. Still, filing a T4 gets you great government benefits like the Canada Child Benefit, the federal grocery rebate, the GST/HST credits and a lot more. Sweepstakes and contests are easy to enter. As such, let them earn you some great passive income.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Canada allow sweeptakes?
Yes, Canada allows sweepstakes but they are different than in the United States. In Canada, it is illegal to have a contest or sweepstakes where winning is 100% left to chance. In Canada, you need to at least have a mix of skill and chance. That is why a winner or a participant often has to answer a skill-testing question.
Are sweepstakes in Canada regulated?
Yes. Legal sweepstakes in Canada have to comply with Competition Act and the Criminal Code. In Quebec, contests and sweepstakes have to register with the Régie des alcools, des courses et des Jeux.
Does buying a product or service increase your odds of winning?
No. In fact, it is illegal to require someone to buy a service or product in order to enter a sweepstakes in Canada. You can enter by mailing in an entry.
Lisa Rennie avatar on Loans Canada
Lisa Rennie

Lisa has been working as a personal finance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same.

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