Ottawa expands Canada Workers Benefit to a million more people

·2-min read
Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland listens to a question during a news conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, December 12, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Wattie
Canada's Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland (REUTERS)

The Canada Workers Benefit, a refundable tax credit to help low-income earners, is being expanded.

A million more Canadians will be eligible. Single people without kids can get up to $1,400 — a group Ottawa says doesn't get much in the way of help. People with families get up to $2,400.

"The pandemic has underscored that low-wage workers in Canada work harder than anyone else in this country, for less pay. In the past year, many faced layoffs, significant infection risks in the workplace, or both," said Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.

"I am sure all Canadians would agree that no one working full-time in our country should live in poverty."

Eligibility is also being expanded. Single Canadians without children can earn up to $32,244 a year. Single-earner families can make up to $42,197, while dual-income families can earn up to $56,197.

Ottawa says the expansion means 3.2 million Canadians will be eligible.

There's also a new provision that lets secondary earners, which Ottawa says will be women in most cases, exclude up to $14,000 of their working income when calculating the benefit. This will result in a larger refund come tax time.

The federal government says the changes mean most full-time workers earning minimum wage will get money through the program. It also says it will mean more disposable income for low-wage families and provide incentives for Canadians to rejoin the workforce.

"We know low-wage workers are among the hardest hit by the pandemic, and every Canadian deserves to be fairly compensated for their work, that is why we are expanding the Canada Workers Benefit," said Mona Fortier, Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance.

"By enhancing this benefit, one million more Canadians will be included and this will help lift nearly 100,000 people out of poverty."

Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.

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