Canada Benefits For Low-Income Earners in 2022

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If you’re a low-income earner in Canada and wondering what benefits or supports are available for you, this post is for you.

The federal and provincial/territorial governments have several programs in place to help people with low income in the country. What are these programs? Are you eligible? How much low-income benefit will you get? When will you get the benefit? 

In this article, I discuss everything you need to know about the Canada benefits for low-income earners or low-income benefits in Canada.

Let’s get started!


History of Low-Income Benefits in Canada

The federal and provincial governments have been assisting low-income Canadians in different capacities.

But in August 2918, the federal government launched Opportunity for All – Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy to provide a national approach of fighting poverty in the country. 

Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy is based on the government’s $22 billion investment since 2015. 

With this initiative, the government seeks to provide Canadians social and economic support in housing, health, child care, transportation, clean water, skills and employment. 

In June 2019, the Poverty Reduction Act was enacted. The act establishes the following legislations:

  • Canada’s Official Poverty Line
  • Concrete poverty reduction targets
  • An official measure of poverty
  • National Advisory Council on Poverty.

To this end, the federal government alongside provincial and territorial governments continue to provide low-income benefits to eligible Canadians.


What is Considered Low Income in Canada?

While there’s no an official definition of poverty in Canada, the government determines individuals with low income through the following three situations:

  • Families that spend 20% of their income on necessities (such as food, shelter and clothing). This category is said to have a relatively low income.
  • Families whose income is 50% less than the household income of median families. They are also said to have a relatively low income.
  • Families that don’t have enough income to buy necessities such as food, shelter and clothing. This category is said to be in an absolute state of low income.

If you fall into any of the above categories, you are classified as a low income earner in Canada and can qualify for some low-income benefits.  

However, it’s important to note that having a low income alone is not a guarantee for qualifying for low-income benefits in Canada. Other requirements apply which we will discuss shortly.


Canada Benefits For Low-Income/Low-Income Benefits in Canada

Low-income earners in Canada can receive federal and provincial/territorial government benefits depending on their situation.

In this section, we’re going to look at the federal government benefits to low-income earners in Canada – i.e the Canada workers benefit (CWB) program.

After that, we will look at the low-income benefits available from provincial and territorial governments along with their social assistance programs.

Canada Workers Benefit 

The Canada Workers Benefit (CWB) is a federally funded refundable tax credit administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to eligible Canadians.  

The credit is specifically administered to low-income individuals and families in Canada that file their annual taxes. Remember, you need to file your annual taxes in Canada even if you don’t earn any income. 

Before now, low-income Canadians received federal benefits through the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB). But in 2019, the federal government replaced WITB with CWB to offer similar benefits.

CWB beneficiaries can receive basic and disability supplements depending on their situation. Once you file your income taxes, you’ll be assessed for the benefit.

However, you can receive up to half of your entitled CWB credit ahead of tax season. The advanced payments are usually disbursed in January, April, July and October. Below is the 2022 payment schedule: 

  • January 5
  • April 5
  • July 5
  • October 5

Recently, following the growing inflation and international influence including the ongoing Russian vs Ukraine war, the Department of Finance Canada announced an increase in the CWB budget up to $1.7 billion.

This increase will be administered to an estimated 3 million Canadians that file their 2021 tax return. Single workers will be entitled to a maximum of $1,200 increase while couples will be entitled to up to a $2,400 increase.

CWB Eligibility

The CWB credit has four eligibility requirements for different situations. For the basic benefits, you must meet the following eligibility to qualify: 

  • Be a Canadian resident throughout the payment year
  • Earn working income
  • Reach the minimum age of 19 or reside with your child or spouse/common-law partner

The following are the requirements for a qualified spouse or common-law partner:

  • Be a Canadian resident throughout the payment year
  • Resides with a spouse/common-law partner (as of December 31)

The following are the eligibility for qualified dependents: 

  • Be ineligible for the CWB credit
  • Be the child of your spouse or common-law partner
  • Lives with you on December 31
  • Be under 19 years of age

To be eligible for the disability supplement of CWB, you must meet the eligibility of Disability Tax Credit (DTC) with an approval certificate by filing  Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate.

CWB Maximum Amount

Several factors determine how much CWB credit you will receive including your income and province or territory.

For the 2022 payment period, single individuals will receive up to $1,395 basic amount while families will receive up to $2,403 basic amount.

For the disability supplement, both single individuals and families will receive up to $720 under the 2022 payment period.

CWB Application Process

All you need is to file your annual income tax to receive the CWB benefit. But if you want to receive advance payment, you need to follow the steps below to apply: 

  • Log in to your CRA My Account
  • Navigate to the “Canada Workers Benefit advance payments application” section
  • Follow the prompts to complete the application

In addition, you can apply for the CWB advance benefit by mail. Simply follow the steps below. 

Sudbury Tax Centre, PO Box 20000, STN A, Sudbury ON  P3A 5C1

To keep getting the advance payment, you are expected to apply and submit your completed form every year on or before August 31. 

Note: If both you and your spouse/common-law partner receive the CWB credit and want to receive advance payment, you need to submit a single application.

Learn more: Canada Workers Benefit (CWB) Payment Dates


Provincial/Territorial Benefits For Low-Income Earners in Canada

All Canadian provinces and territories also offer low-income benefits to their residents in different forms. 

While some provinces/territories offer a single benefit, others offer multiple benefits. As expected, each benefit has different eligibility requirements, amounts, and payment dates. 

The following is a highlight of the provincial and territorial low-income benefits in Canada with links for more information. 

Province/TerritoryPrograms
AlbertaAlberta Child and Family Benefit (ACFB)
British ColumbiaBC Child Opportunity Benefit (BCCOB)
BC Income Assistance
BC Climate Action Tax Credit (BCCATC)
ManitobaManitoba Child Benefit
Manitoba Employment and Income Assistance (EAI)
New BrunswickNew Brunswick Harmonized Sales Tax Credit (NBHSTC)
New Brunswick Child Tax Benefit (NBCTB)
Newfoundland and LabradorNewfoundland and Labrador Child Benefit
Newfoundland and Labrador Income Supplement
Northwest TerritoriesNorthwest Territories child benefit
Northwest Territories Cost of Living Offset
Nova ScotiaNova Scotia Affordable Living Tax Credit (NSALTC)
Nova Scotia Child Benefit (NSCB)
NunavutNunavut Child Benefit (NUCB)
OntarioOntario Trillium Benefit (OTB)
Prince Edward IslandPrince Edward Island Sales Tax Credit
QuébecQuébec Family Allowance
SaskatchewanSaskatchewan Low‑Income Tax Credit (SLITC)
YukonYukon Child Benefit (YCB)
Yukon Government Carbon Price Rebate – Individuals (YGCPRI)

By claiming the provincial/territorial benefits that apply to you, you can easily maximize your government benefits and offset a significant portion of your bills. 


CLB & Social Assistance Programs in Canada

In addition to low-income benefits, the federal government alongside provincial and territorial governments also administers social assistance programs to help Canadians with low or no income due to disability or unemployment.

Social assistance or welfare programs are usually administered as income support to cover the cost of basic needs in Canada. Other social assistance programs offer employment support to help eligible Canadians regain their financial independence. 

How much social assistance benefit you will get depends on your situation and province/territory of residence. 

The following is a highlight of some of the federal government social assistance programs in Canada: 

In addition to the federal government social assistance benefits, you can also receive provincial/territorial social assistance benefits that apply to you. 

Below is a highlight of provincial and territorial social assistance programs in Canada with links to their information pages. 

Province/TerritoryPrograms
AlbertaAlberta Income Support
Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) 
British ColumbiaPersons With Disability (PWB) Program
ManitobaEmployment and Income Assistance Program (EIA)
New BrunswickNew Brunswick Income Assistance Program
New Brunswick Disability Support Program
Newfoundland and LabradorIncome Support Program
Northwest TerritoriesIncome Assistance Program
NWT Senior Citizen Supplementary Benefit (SCSB)
Student Financial Assistance (SFA) 
Senior Home Heating Subsidy (SHHS)
NWT Child Benefit
Nova ScotiaNova Scotia Income Assistance 
Employment Support Services
NunavutIncome Assistance Program
OntarioOntario Works Program
Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)
Prince Edward IslandSocial Assistance Program
QuébecSocial Assistance (Welfare) Program
Social Solidarity Program
SaskatchewanSaskatchewan Income Support (SIS)
Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID)
Saskatchewan Assistance Program (SAP)
Saskatchewan Employment Supplement (SES)
Transitional Employment Allowance (TEA)
YukonYukon Senior’s Low-Income Supplement
Yukon Supplementary Allowance 

Each of the above programs has varying benefits, eligibility and payment dates as discussed under our Social Assistance Payment Dates & Benefits in Canada article.


Additional Benefits For Low-Income Earners in Canada

Besides low-income benefits and social assistance, you can also qualify for other income-tested benefits as a low-income earner in Canada. Some of these benefits include:

1. CLB

The Canada Learning Bond (CLB) is one of the grants administered by the government through the Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) for low-income families.

This benefit is designed to help low-income families in funding the post-secondary education of their children at designated educational institutions including:

  • Universities
  • Colleges
  • CEGEPs
  • Trade schools
  • Apprenticeship programs

Your eligibility for this benefit depends on the number of eligible children in our family and your adjusted income plus your spouse or common-law partner income.

The government contributes a maximum of $2,000 per eligible child RESP. A child is considered eligible if they are: 

  • A resident of Canada
  • Born on or after January 1, 2004
  • Named in an RESP
  • From a low-income family
  • Have a Social Insurance Number

The following is the breakdown of July 2022 to June 2023 income eligibility based on the number of children and adjusted net family income (ANFI).

Learn more: Canada Learning Bond

# of childrenANFI 
1 – 3$50,197 or below
4Below $56,636
5Below $63,101
6Below $69,567
7Below $76,032
8Below $82,498
9Below $88,963
10Below $95,429
11Below $101,894
12Below $108,360
13Below $114,825
14Below $121,291
15Below $127,756
16Below $134,222

2. CCB

The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) is administered to Canadian taxpayers with children under 18 years of age. 

The benefit is designed to reduce the cost of child raising in Canada and you can receive it in addition to other low-income benefits. This monthly benefit comprises federal and related provincial/territorial benefits and is administered jointly by the CRA. 

To receive this benefit, you must meet the following eligibility:

  • Be a citizen/resident of Canada or a protected person/recognized Indian 
  • Be a Canadian resident for tax purposes
  • Reside and be the primary caregiver of a child that’s under the age of 18 

The amount of CCB benefit you will receive will depend on the following factors: 

  • Your marital status
  • Your adjusted family net income (AFNI)
  • Number of children you care for
  • Number of children in your family that are below the age of 18

For the 2022/2023 payment period, you will receive up to $6,833 per every child that’s below the age of 6 provided your AFNI is $32,797 or less.

Learn more: Canada Child Benefit (CCB) Payment Dates

3. GST/HST 

The goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit is also income tested, meaning you can receive the maximum amount as a low-income earner. 

This credit is administered to low-medium income Canadians by the CRA on behalf of federal, provincial and territorial governments in order to offset the taxes (GST/HST) they pay on goods and services.

The credit is administered quarterly to eligible Canadians that file their annual tax returns. This means that you will automatically receive the credit without applying.  

That said, below are the requirements for the GST/HST credit:  

  • Be a Canadian resident for tax purposes 
  • Reach the age of 19 or older 
  • Have/had a spouse or common-law partner 
  • Be/were a parent that live/lived with a child 

The amount of GST/HST credit you will receive depends on your marital status, number of children below the age of 19 and your individual or family adjusted net income.

That said, you will receive up to $467 credit if you’re single or up to $612 if you’re a couple/common-law partner under the 2022/2023 payment period.

Learn more: GST/HST Payment Dates


Final Thoughts

The Canada benefits for low-income or low-income benefits in Canada are worth claiming if you’re within or below the poverty line.

Claiming other related benefits for low-income earners will help you offset some of your bills and regain your feet faster.

However, while receiving government benefits will give you relief for the short term, it may not be sustainable for the long term. Besides, the benefits range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars.

As a result, taking extra steps and making judicious use of the government benefits will ensure you regain your financial independence as soon as possible.

Finally, I recommend you read the following articles to learn how to improve your income in Canada.

Simon is a CPA by day and a Personal Finance Blogger by night. With over a decade experience in financial services, he's passionate about personal finance, investing and helping people take control of their financial life.

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