Living in one of the most expensive cities in North America is certainly no easy feat. Whether you need relief on an energy bill or support while you look for work, there are government benefits out there that can hopefully alleviate some of your financial stress. More specifically, here are 8 benefits in BC to look into.
BC Climate Action Tax Credit
This is a tax-free payment made to low-income individuals and families to offset some of their carbon taxes.
From July 2022 until June 2023, the BCCATC provides a credit of up to $193.50 per person or for a spouse/common-law partner, and $56.50 per child (193.50 for the first child in a single-parent family).
BC Family Benefit (previously called the BC Child Opportunity Benefit)
This benefit is a tax-free monthly payment to families with children under 18. The provincial amount is combined with the federal Canada Child Benefit (CCB) into a single monthly payment.
From July 2022 to June 2023, those eligible can receive the following amounts (reduced by 4% depending on adjusted family net income):
- $133.33 per month for the first child
- $83.33 per month for the second child
- $66.67 per month for each additional child
From January to March 2023, temporary enhancements will be added to these amounts. Families with an adjusted net income for 2021 of $25,806 or less will receive the maximum benefit amount of $175 per child ($58.33 per month). For those with an adjusted net income of up to
$82,578, they’ll receive $150 per child ($50 per month).
GST/HST New Housing Rebate
If you’ve recently purchased, constructed, or renovated a home (including on leased land), you may be eligible for a new housing rebate, which returns some of the GST or the federal part of the HST paid.
Other new provincial new housing rebates may also be available for the provincial part of the HST.
From tax credits and reductions to education funding and a pension plan (CPP), there are several federal benefits for People with Disabilities (PWD) and their supporting family members & caregivers. If you face challenges with mobility, you could even receive partial gas refunds. This benefit is for individuals with general assets under $100k, or $200k for couples.
In BC, those on Disability Assistance can also receive a BC Bus Pass at a reduced cost.
Income Assistance in BC
Those who are approved for income assistance can complete an employment plan each month and receive a monthly rate based on hardship and family unit size. For example, here are the monthly totals for October 2021:
- $935 per month for a single person
- $1,525.00 for a couple on assistance with no children
- $1,280.00 for a single parent with one child
- $1,720.00 for a couple on assistance with one child
Those who qualify will also receive free MSP coverage, non-deductible PharmaCare prescription coverage, and potentially other living expenses covered as well.
On a federal level, there are Regular EI benefits for those who lost their job, as well as separate benefits for sickness & injuries, caregiving responsibilities, maternity/parental leave, self-employment, and for Canadians living abroad.
Public Service Health Care Plan
Public service employees living in any province (full or part-time for a minimum of 6 months) are entitled to multiple group insurance benefits, including an optional Public Service Health Care Plan meant to help fill any gaps in existing provincial/territorial health care plans. Select employees and their dependents can receive 80% reimbursement for prescription drugs, life-sustaining drugs, “quit-smoking” aids, vision care, dental treatment, and more.
Benefits for Indigenous Peoples
There are multiple benefits and programs accessible to Indigenous-identifying individuals across Canada, including tax credits based on income level, house repairs, post-secondary support, assistance for those interested in natural sciences and engineering or the military, and Aboriginal Summer Training and Leadership programs for youth.
To be eligible for tax credits, individuals (and their spouses/common-law partners) must file their income tax on time every year.
The Employment Program of British Columbia (EPBC)
ITA-registered apprentices can receive temporary financial support through a network of WorkBC Apprentice Services while they attend ITA-approved training. Support can include the coverage of basic living expenses, daily commuting, and dependent care.
On a federal level, those who are interested in apprenticeship programs or skilled trades may be able to receive EI benefits while attending full-time technical training, or while unemployed.
Furthermore, a special Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women is available to self-identifying women who register with their provincial/territorial apprenticeship authority in a designated Red Seal trade (and completed at least one year of their apprenticeship already).
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